Online Learning – An Introduction to the Future of Education

Online Learning – An Introduction to the Future of Education

Education systems have drastically changed during 2020 as it was imperative to keep teachers and students safe. The traditional method has been losing its relevance faster than ever. The meaning of this new-age education is getting broader by the day, and people are starting to understand its significance. It is engaging, flexible, and most importantly, fun. 

Do you want to verse yourself with the intricacies and advantages of online learning? Read on to find out all about its meaning, the different methods, and platforms. 

What is Online Learning? 

This type of learning is a form of education over the internet and in a remote setting. You get to indulge in an education method in an entirely virtual environment. Even though its adoption was rapid during the pandemic, this learning method predates the virus. 

It was first introduced when the internet came into existence. Online education was a distance learning method amongst higher education students. 

Today, it enables students to learn, irrespective of geography. You could engage with any institution or look for academic e-learning opportunities. Indeed, online learning is a way for students to learn at their own pace and flexibility. This internet-based learning environment connects diverse backgrounds and brings together different perspectives. 

Why Online Learning? 

This type of learning has radically transformed how education works in various countries. Indeed, online education parallels the rise in technology and the internet. 

Ever since the pandemic hit, we have entered an era that revolutionized education. Here are some of the unique benefits of utilizing online learning platforms. These benefits work wonders for both the student and the teachers. 

  • Self-paced learning opportunity with optimal flexibility 
  • Better, enhanced, and structured time management 
  • Demonstrated increase in self-motivation 
  • Improvement in collaborative approaches and virtual communication 
  • Wider accessibility that is global and broader than traditional learning 
  • Refinement of critical-thinking skills and knowledge of new technical skills
  • Cost-effective

Virtual learning is helping students and teachers worldwide. 

What are the Multiple Ways for Online Education? 

Here are some of the main ways. 

Asynchronous Online Courses 

These self-paced programs allow you to access downloadable and pre-recorded materials 24×7. It is time-independent, where student-teacher interactions transcend virtual hours. 

Besides, these online courses include online conversations that enhance the communication between students. You could even access them anywhere, making it an on-the-go and flexible learning environment. 

Usages: College, corporate, university, and K-12 learning or training programs. 

Synchronous Online Courses 

Usually, these courses have a real-time or live aspect involved. It means that you will need to enter a virtual classroom to access the learning materials. An educator will be present at this conference and teach you everything “live.” 

You need to enter the learning medium at a set date or time given by the teacher. Once every class student is present, you will get lectures, demonstrations, and other planned activities. 

Usages: College, university, and K-12 learning. 

Computer Managed Learning (CML)

Also known as Computer Managed Instruction (CMI), CML is a way to utilize computing power to manage the learning process. It is a technologically advanced learning system that can be accessed through an information database. 

Such a database will house information that you should learn parallel to the ranking parameters. Due to this numbering system, the computer categorizes you as an individual based on your preferences. In turn, it results in a “two-way communication” stream between the computer and you. 

Finally, it could help you reach your goals and achieve your determinations until satisfied. Not only does it aid in management, but it also enables access to curriculum, lecture, and enrolment data. 

Usages: Various educational institutions use this form of online learning. 

E-Learning 

Asynchronous and e-learning have many similarities. Yet, e-learning has a broader meaning to it due to the different types: 

  • Fixed: The online content will not change during the learning process and remains original. 
  • Adaptive: The learning material could adapt and be redesigned based on student parameters. 
  • Linear: It involves human-computer interaction but has become irrelevant due to the lack of two-way communication. 

Blended Learning 

This learning module became famous due to the betterment of the pandemic situation. It is a course where synchronous and asynchronous systems build a hybrid approach. 

So, you could either have live classes along with pre-recorded lectures during a semester. It invokes a sense of self-study in the students while making the classroom interactive for the teachers.

Usages: Universities and colleges use this learning module during and after the pandemic. 

How is Online Learning Different from Traditional Learning? 

Traditional learning occurs in brick-and-mortar classrooms while online education is imparted over the internet. Learning over the internet is a form of distance education. Here, you could either communicate with a teacher or indulge in e-learning courses through accessible content. On the other hand, traditional learning always involves a setting where the teacher regulates the information. 

Here are the fundamental differences between online and traditional learning. 

Online Learning Traditional Learning
Everything happens online, over the internet.  This education system takes place in a physical setting. 
This learning can take place anywhere and anytime.  It has been forced into a fixed place and schedule. 
This online atmosphere works at a flexible and relaxed pace.   The traditional learning experience is imposed upon. 
Teachers and students are physically alone and interconnected through the internet.  Both students and teachers need to be with their colleagues. 
It supports a unique learning type that focuses on independence.  You can learn from the teacher, one-on-one, and with each other. 
Online content and live conferences are the primary sources of information.  Only an educator or trainer can be the source of information.
The interaction is limited due to physical constraints.  The interaction is extensive between teachers and students. 

Which Education System is the Winner?

Indeed, online learning is different from traditional learning in various aspects, especially the mode of conduct. Anyone could indulge in e-learning, whereas only enrolled students could involve themselves in conventional learning. 

For example, the traditional workforce could never find the time to study in a conventional setting. However, working professionals could quickly start with learning over the internet. So, if you are a working-class individual, this is your only way to enhance your skills. 

Yet, choosing one involves a whole lot of analysis based on: 

  • Your budget 
  • Learning topic 
  • Your goals 
  • The time you contribute 
  • Your motivation levels 

There is a combination of these two learning methods called blended learning. It is perhaps the best of both worlds for education. 

The Rise of Online Learning During COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic left the education industry in a frenzy. Schools, colleges, and universities shut down due to the lockdown initiatives. Indeed, it was a great way to prevent the virus from spreading, but it did dent learning. 

Imagine 1.2 billion children from all corners of the world not going to school anymore. It was something the world did not see before. 

The Reason Behind its Rise 

The school closures affected the education of students from 186 countries. Everything came to a halt, but the power of education persevered, and the classroom shifted to the internet. 

As a result, learning and education changed, and the world witnessed a phenomenal rise in online education. 

In this new form of education, teachers could use digital platforms to teach their students in a remote classroom setting. It was safer, easier to access, and engaging. 

For months, students and teachers communicated and interacted through the internet. 

Some believed that the technical challenges would eradicate this trend. Yet, it has shown improvement over the years and has successfully helped students and teachers retain information better. 

The pandemic facilitated a rise in the benefits of online learning platforms as it takes less time and is safer. According to Online Education Market Study 2019, this industry will reach a whopping $350 billion by the end of 2025, globally.

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Education has Significantly Changed Due to the Pandemic 

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, and education is one of them. Classrooms have shifted to the internet, and the virtual world has taken over learning. Hence, there are drastic changes that have occurred during this rise: 

  • It has become imperative to invest in education technology
  • Blended learning has become a trend and a demanded approach 
  • Learning expectations have changed, and digital courses have taken over 
  • Collaborative processes have solidified, but face-to-face learning has disappeared 
  • Anyone could access education from the comfort of their homes 

As the virus spread, the need for safe classrooms became dire. As everything slowly goes back to normal, this learning trend is not dissipating. 

Which are the Best Online Learning Platforms?

One of the best advantages of online learning is that you can learn anything you want for fun or enhance your skills. You can explore the various online learning platforms and find your course. Here are some of the best online and virtual learning platforms. 

upGrad 

The online learning and upskilling platform has collaborated with several industry leaders and universities to bring the most relent programmers for learners. From effective communication to data science, learners can seek all kinds of knowledge at this platform. With its foreign education arm, upGrad Abroad, it is helping students gain education from international institutions through blended pedagogy. The pandemic has impacted students’ educational plans, and this platform assists everyone with enrollment and confirmation problems.

Udemy 

Udemy is an educational platform for teachers and students to hone their skills and improve. Their courses are valuable and carefully structured into lifestyle, business, and even programming categories. 

All the multimedia elements are of high quality and easily understandable. Even the refund policy is effective, along with a lifetime access possibility. 

Zoom 

Distance learning has transformed the “live” classroom atmosphere. Zoom is one of the best choices for one-on-one education for various universities and schools. 

Teachers can create meetings with their classes and educate them through live one-on-one videos on this platform. These webinars at Zoom will help both the students and teachers access an easy and functional forum for learning. 

Initially, Zoom was a video conferencing tool but has become a medium for conducting online classes. 

Not only is the security exceptional, but the real-time lectures take place in a virtual classroom setting. The students will need a passcode that only the teacher can share to access the video lectures. 

It creates a safe environment for interactions between two ends of the education stream. 

Skillshare

Although it does not offer formal educational courses, it is the best tool for creative learning. You will find unique approaches to help improve your creative skills for marketing or business development. 

Besides, this e-learning platform has a pay-per-course payment plan that attracts more students. At Skillshare, you will find educational videos on photography, animation, and other creative skills. By the end of each course, students will get assignments that will help build upon their newly learned skills. 

Indeed, this educational tool is what any Gen-Z student will need. You could try out some interesting topics if you are looking for a unique online education course. 

FlipGrid 

Recently, FlipGrid has gained traction due to its focus on online elementary education. Students can now have an opportunity to express their uniqueness through videos. This distance learning platform enables students to start a conversation based on their classmate’s videos. 

In its essence, FlipGrid is a video-sharing platform. The teachers will ask students to share innovative videos on relevant subjects here. 

Coursera 

The best thing about this e-learning platform is the verified certificates it offers. It means that each course will be a valuable addition to your portfolio. The learning experience in Coursera remains unparalleled as it infuses real-world education. Professionals could boost their careers by upskilling through Coursera. They will ask you to solve quizzes or assign assignments that replicate any “real” educational operation at the end of each course. 

Kahoot! 

Kahoot is an additional tool for teachers after connecting on Zoom or any other conference tool. About 9 million teachers use this application globally as it features over 300 million games that could entice any student. It is a great way to encourage primary students to indulge in games and learn from them. Any teacher can create a game based on a subject and share it with the kids. 

So, there can be fun questions that offer an educational vibe for the students and promotes learning. Kahoot can work with any tool and blends games with learning perfectly. 

The Bottom Line 

Online learning has so much potential to be the future of education. Yet, speculations arise due to the technical problems faced by students and teachers. Also, the internet penetration in rural and semi-rural areas of India is a challenge for online learning.

Even then, online education has multiple benefits that transcend traditional learning. Learning on the internet is a scalable and convenient way to offer education to all age groups. Teachers can personalize the classroom based on specific parameters using virtual learning platforms. Not only does it lower the cost of education, but it also boosts your career through a flexible system. 

The learning environment is set to evolve and eradicate traditional learning in due time. All of this happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Who knows what the future has in store for online learning? 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is online learning and its importance in education?

It is a form of new-age education that happens over the internet. It has become advantageous for students and teachers during the pandemic. Online education offers an invaluable outcome-driven learning opportunity that reduces costs and engages the classroom better.

What are the advantages of online education?

Online learning is advantageous as it ensures self-paced and flexible education. It assists with time management and transcends geographical boundaries. One of the best advantages of online learning is that you can learn anything you want either for fun or to enhance your skills and gain in-depth knowledge.

Why is online learning the future of education?

The virtual world is slowly taking over ever since the pandemic struck and lockdowns were introduced worldwide. From workplaces to schools and universities, all started operating online. That is when the many benefits of remote working and education came to the fore and became widely accepted, and will continue to be so.

Is online learning a fad or the future?

Even though this learning has become a trend, it resonates with the potential of being the future of education. Students can now indulge in a more informative, selective, and immersive learning experience. It helps with critical thinking and opens up numerous possibilities for students and teachers.

How is online learning done?

Online classrooms are convenient and use technology to promote education. It happens over the internet in a safe corner of the virtual world. There are boards and learning applications that help students learn and are built-in with interactivity tools.

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