Online Education Advantages And Disadvantages: Is E-Learning Here To Stay?

Online education is the new standard practice among educational institutes worldwide. According to weforum.org, India ranks second after the US with the most e-learners in the world. There are 13.6 million e-learners in the country. The spread of COVID-19 has catalysed the popularity of e-learning, but is it viable for learners in the long run? Let’s learn more about both sides of the spectrum – online education’s advantages and disadvantages.

Online Education Advantages

There are substantial benefits of online learning, which we covered in an earlier post. 94% of the respondents of the Emeritus Impact Survey believe online education positively impacts their careers. In broad terms, it allows students and professors to connect from the comfort of their homes, even if situated hundreds of miles apart. Learners can attend classes while saving time on their commute. Another advantage is that it supports asynchronous learning. Students need not be part of live lectures or discussions and can access instructional material at their convenience. Let’s get a detailed overview of the advantages of online education:

  • Convenience

A prominent advantage of online learning is the convenience facet. It allows students in cyber classes to promptly communicate with professors and peers. Students are exploring situations where the convenience of online learning supersedes the face time required in traditional courses.

  • Increased Participation

Another advantage is the ease of participation in virtual classrooms. One of the several aspects of online education is the potential for students to interact asynchronously. Online learning enables students to communicate in real-time in chat rooms or asynchronously through bulletin boards and similar forums.

  • Easy Accessibility

Students are often unable to reach out to their professors due to tight schedules and rigid timetables in the physical setup. Some of them might even be too shy to raise their hands in class and openly ask questions. With online education, they can immediately reach out to professors by sending them a direct message on their designated learning platform. In addition, they can also collaborate with their peers to work on group projects if they have a suitable window between lectures.

  • Flexibility

Online education enables students to learn from anywhere and at any time. Therefore, students can seamlessly meet deadlines by finishing assignments at any time during the day. Moreover, one saves a substantial amount of time by not having to travel to the institute. The Emeritus Impact Survey states that 81% of the respondents find it easy to balance education with their personal lives through e-learning.

  • Time-Management Skills

When students transition into the working world, time management becomes crucial. A distinct advantage is that this skill is cultivated in students while taking online classes, increasing their overall efficiency. They must construct a study schedule while managing attendance and other responsibilities.

  • Preferred Learning Methodology

Each student has a unique style of learning. For example, while some identify as audio-visual learners, others learn well during lectures. Many online tutors integrate a combination of these to help learners assimilate the material comprehensively. Students can customise their learning styles to suit their requirements with online education.

Online Education Disadvantages

By far, it appears that online learning has numerous advantages for all individuals across the country. However, while cyberlearning has a positive impact, it does present some challenges too. To avoid significant roadblocks, we must adequately consider, plan, and account for these challenges. Therefore, let’s learn more about the disadvantages of online education.

  • Absence of Face-to-face Interaction

Even though many students dislike constant prodding from teachers, it is efficient in increasing retention. However, a lack of face-to-face communication with the instructor restricts and minimises feedback, leads to social isolation, and may result in a lack of motivation. In addition, a lack of focus is a detriment since it makes it more likely for students to drop out. Therefore, it requires a more committed individual to find the motivation to complete courses.

  • Compromised Communication Skills

Online education strategies are highly effective in boosting students’ academic understanding. However, there is a lack of communication skills development. It is an area that we often overlook during online sessions. In addition, due to the lack of face-to-face communication in a digital setting, students may be hesitant to collaborate effectively when they receive assignments and group projects.

  • Potential Social Isolation

The need for reflection, solitude and a lack of connection is all too commonplace now, due to the digital learning environment. Signs of social isolation will likely emerge due to prolonged hours of learning online. Social isolation combined with a lack of dialogue can lead to mental health issues like excessive stress, nervousness, and anxiety.

  • Technological Setbacks

Students may face technical challenges like inadequate internet access, device hardware failure, and unreliable electricity. While internet penetration has significantly increased in recent years, access to a consistent connection with adequate speed remains a challenge for some – resulting in a loss of coherence in learning due to a lack of regular internet access.

How Does Online Education Fit Into the New Normal?

After a firsthand experience with the advantages of online education brought on by the pandemic, it is clear that it is here to stay. Because of COVID-19’s unpredictable nature, online learning is a fundamental approach to ensure that learning never stops. Online learning has opened a segue for students and professionals in India to acquire new skills across various industries. It is likely to evolve and become more accessible to learners with upcoming technological advancements.

Long Term Benefits of Online Education

The virtual nature of learning has made students much more independent than the traditional setup. Since students must account for themselves while determining whether or not to study, it has ingrained in them a feeling of responsibility. It enables students to do more than rely on textbook content; it also enhances their knowledge through research on the internet. In addition to these, here are a few other long term benefits of online education –

  • It minimises fundamental setbacks such as timing, additional expenses, and travelling. It improves the likelihood of more students graduating and choosing higher education
  • Professionals with online learning abilities are preferred in today’s market, as they are more compatible with the advanced digital workspace
  • Online education is synonymous with resource efficiency in terms of time and money. It enables more enrollments in educational courses

Online Education Is Here To Stay

The COVID-19 pandemic has bolstered the transition to digital learning for good. Learning is a lifelong pursuit. It seldom concludes with a degree. Most individuals continue to learn digitally and develop a new skill set to help ease the job and stay up-to-date with the latest technological breakthroughs. The Emeritus India Impact Survey tells us that 78% of the respondents saw an immediate improvement in their work post acquiring new skill sets through online learning. Overall, one cannot overstate the relevance of online education in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Connecting Bright Minds Across the Globe

While online education bridges the physical gap between two people’s locations, academic institutions also have another advantage. They can recruit faculty and experts from various locations to teach their students. It is a big plus for students as it enables them to connect and procure firsthand insights from them out of the comfort of their homes. Usually, this would be highly improbable and expensive too.

Salary Hikes With Online Education

A report published in the Hindustan Times, India records the highest salary hike in 2022 and is expected to increase by 10.4 per cent in 2023. Most importantly, the majority of organisations across India and the globe are capitalising on the benefits of online education. Moreover, with the increased convenience and saved time, students invest their time in learning new, industry-relevant skills. Gaining such skills allows them to negotiate higher salaries and continue to enjoy salary hikes.

In conclusion, online learning has alleviated various learning constraints, such as budget and timeline, that traditionally curtailed students’ learning trajectories.

While online education has advantages and disadvantages, the rewards far outweigh the downsides. Furthermore, with the advancement of tech frameworks, tech inadequacies will gradually be addressed, resulting in online education being a more comprehensive learning platform. These factors are sufficient to validate online education as a viable solution to various pertinent learning dilemmas. Moreover, these disadvantages are easily addressed with personal initiative and motivation!

Emeritus India offers a range of online learning courses through which you can upskill yourself and bolster your career!

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