Five trends that students might see in online education in 2017
Flexibility is often the most appealing factor of online learning, however it also makes education available to a wider audience. With more students of all ages enrolling on an online degree, technology has changed the face of education. Traditional classes have always been presented and targeted at a particular age group, whereas online classes are more inclusive and therefore available to the public, regardless of their age or other commitments.
Learning itself is continually evolving due to the ever-changing way in which technology develops and alters the way we access and consume information. Therefore, 2017 will see many trends in online education to cater to its audience.
More credentials – There has been an increase in the number of working professionals that are now pursuing an online degree from university, due to wanting to develop and broaden their knowledge or skillset. Therefore, institutions are recognising this and are using it to change and adapt their content and method of teaching. Instead of an online university degree, more institutions will offer online certifications and credentials which employers will use to train staff. Employees will be able to enrol in order to increase their qualifications and improve their skillset. These provided courses will be different to degrees and therefore require less of a commitment, making it easier to balance with full-time employment whilst also being a cost-effective route for employers.
Measuring performance – Institutions will begin to use data to measure and monitor student’s performance and progress throughout term. In the same way that data is used to tailor marketing campaigns, faculties will utilise data in order to tailor content and the way that is presented to students. Online learning allows institutions to measure things such as whether or not a student has logged in, which can help in deciphering whether or not an individual is on target. This access to data will also allow them to measure data in real-time whilst monitoring how a student performs in assignments and therefore assist their learning accordingly. This not only ensures that students are being offered the right support but also that their learning is altered to ensure that they are fully understanding information.
Specialist subjects – Online education improves accessibility and therefore allows students to gain exposure of countless courses. However, there will be an increase in the amount of specialised courses that are offered in order to cater to areas that are lacking a specific skillset. For example, a demand for nursing skills could lead to an increase in niche courses to teach these skills and therefore fulfil this gap in the job market. Courses will be more focused and tailored to the job market and therefore have a positive socio-economic impact.
Utilising artificial intelligence – In the same way that products such as Apple’s Siri operate using artificial intelligence, this technology will also be incorporated into teaching. For example, if a student has a generic question about a topic, they are able to converse and receive answers without the presence of an instructor. This not only helps to reduce cost but also ensures that students receive answers in real-time. By embedding these into courses, it will reduce the faculty’s responsibility and allow content to be presented in various ways. With users already becoming dependent and accustomed to this means of gaining information, it will be an easy transition for students.
The experience of gaining an online degree from university will be a more inclusive experience with the responsibility shifting from faculty to student. This not only creates a more engaging and overall beneficial experience for the student but ensures that they are still learning and retaining the information in a way that they are already accustomed to. As technology becomes more integrated into society, teaching will utilise this and therefore be more experimental in presenting information to students. With almost everyone owning some sort of electronic device, institutions will utilise this by ensuring that they continue explore innovations in teaching.
What is distance learning?
Traditional education requires attendance to lectures and seminars, whereas distance learning allows you to gain an education through the internet. It is comprised of online classes but still requires you to take exams and complete assignments in order to assess your learning. However, it is more flexible and allows you to coordinate your learning around other commitments and responsibilities that you may have.
Education is perceived as an enormous commitment, however it does not have to be the main focus of your life. Distance learning can be done alongside other things, for example working full-time, making it possible to pursue other things. Distance learning also makes education accessible to everyone and with the progression of technology, seems to be the way forward.
What are the advantages of distance learning?
Whereas a more conventional education may provide you with the opportunity to collaborate with other students in seminars or present to the class, distance learning is often perceived as an overall more isolated experience, inevitably leading to questions about employment options. However, distance learning makes you more employable because it not only forces you to become more self-disciplined, but allows you to develop countless skills and be accountable for your own learning. You are your own teacher, which can demonstrate to an employer that you were able to take control and commit to pursuing and achieving. These are all highly desirable skills and are extremely valuable to employers and can be used to give you an advantage over other candidates. In fact, an employer may value an online degree over a traditional education because it is a testament to taking ownership of your learning and succeeding.
Distance learning courses give you the opportunity to gain an education without having to commit to being present in a conventional classroom. Whilst you will still have to complete online classes and partake in exams, UK distance learning programmes provide you with the freedom to study in your own time and therefore coordinate your education around your own schedule. The classes are all online and can be accessed from multiple devices, as long as you are connected to the internet. This ensures that you can learn wherever you are, making education more attainable. You also still have the ability to connect with lecturers and be supported by teachers.
What are some of the benefits of a distance learning diploma?
The main attraction of distance learning is being able to take the course online.
Many people do not realise how time-consuming education can be. Instead of having to solely factor in the length of classes, you also have to consider the time that it can take to get to and from those classes. If you do not live locally and have to rely on public transport, the commute can often be unnecessarily long and unreliable due to external factors such as traffic. This can consume precious hours of your day that could be used in doing other things. You also have to factor in the cost of getting to your classes, whether that means paying for a monthly train pass or petrol every week. Education can be costly and the option of studying online is therefore seemingly more cost effective.
This alone is often enough for people to consider a distance learning diploma. It means that you can learn from home without having to show up at a class every day. UK distance learning programmes ensure that you can learn wherever you are, allowing you to study from a location that is convenient for you. This gives you the flexibility of studying at any time of the day instead of having to allocate a set block of time to have to attend a class. You can set aside a few hours and then use the remainder of the day for something else whether that is working full-time or developing other skills.
People often associate studying with being something that you do as a young adult, however online classes provide you with the opportunity to study at different points of your life. It can be useful if working in an industry and wanting to deepen or broaden your knowledge of this area. Courses can help to provide you with a better understanding of a subject, whilst still allowing you to have the luxury of working full-time.
Having full control of your learning is also something that appeals to a lot of people. You can learn at your own pace instead of feeling overwhelmed by streams of information in a classroom or lecture. You have the time to digest information, ensuring that you fully understand it before moving on to another topic.
There are also countless other advantages such as teaching you to be independent and carry out research. It also helps to improve your time management skills because you are solely responsible for ensuring that you complete assignments. Online learning demonstrates to an employer that you were able to commit to something and see it through until the end, which is a highly desirable skill when seeking employment.
Distance learning diplomas have become so popular that there are no countless courses to choose from.