Online Degrees - Why Does Enrollment Keep Growing? Are these Institutions Here to Stay?
When online degree programs first started, people wondered if this form of education would be a lasting one. No one knew then that this would be an industry with continual growth, one accepted by millions of students of all ages around the world.
Many students considering a degree program opt for the normal route; in other words, they select traditional in-person colleges or universities. Yet an increasingly large number of students are enrolling in an online degree program. Colleges and universities experienced a 21 % growth in online classes last year alone, and according to a study conducted by Ambient Insight, the U.S. e-learning industry is expected to grow by at least another 10% over the next 5 years.
Why is e-learning so popular?
Colleges and universities agree that online courses offer flexibility and convenience. Students can work around their schedules with this learning method making it an excellent option for adult learners who need to study and work.
Yet, there appears to be more to this than just convenience. Many online students will tell you that studying online offers them a more pleasant experience. It offers dynamic, interactive classes that make learning fun, and this helps students retain the information they learn. Online programs usually offer the same options as traditional classes, and in some cases offer better content than face-to-face classes. Teachers also seem to be warming up to the idea of online classes as a viable alternative to traditional ones. Additionally, online education enables students to work on their course at a time when they are ready to be engaged, rather than showing up at a given time and being expected to engage.
The Difference Between Online and Distance Education
Years ago, these were two different entities, as “correspondence courses” and “tele courses” offered students a form of distance learning. Today, distance learning and online learning mean the same thing. Studying online offers interactive learning, email adaptability, discussion boards, video access, chat rooms and images that address all learning capabilities, thereby making it an enhanced learning experience.
Acceptance in Industry
In many institutions, as at CCA, there is no distinction made between a degree granted from online courses and one attained through traditional courses. The institution has verified that the learning is equivalent, so a distinction is unnecessary; the certificate or degree is the same in both cases.
A traditional university with online programs or a reputable online college may offer more significant value to students studying in particular fields. In many cases, these courses can offer even more relevance because of the technology features available to teachers online. In technology based online courses, teachers can offer real case scenario studies, labs and practices that are unavailable in traditional classroom settings. New technologies are changing the way a teacher interacts with students and the classroom curriculum while creating advanced instructional methodologies.
Personal and Cultural Benefits
Aside from using online courses for reasons of convenience and ease-of-use, learners of all ages are finding online courses a viable option for updating skills and remaining current with technology or information that relates to their existing career. Online learning offers a perfect medium for those wishing to update their work skills. Of course, online courses aren’t just for convenience – they are also for people who otherwise would not be able to complete a degree.
People often say you never stop learning, and the Internet corroborates this belief. Online learning offers cultural and global learning experiences for students who simply want to expand their knowledge base. Online courses offer a perfect option, allowing individuals of any age the opportunity to continue in their education.
We live in a complex environment. People need to multi-task, work and study. Online education opportunities offer the flexibility many people need from education. They want the time to travel, learn of different cultures, work in different environments, while at the same time preparing themselves for a better educational and professional future. With all of these conveniences and benefits, is it any wonder that online education enrollment is growing at unprecedented rates?