What is Online Learning: Teaching and the Future of Education

Share this:

Online learning is a type of educational activity that makes use of electronic mobile devices as a means to teach, as well as interact with students.

Online learning is changing the way knowledge is disseminated across societies, states, and cultures. With more access to the internet than ever before, people are hungry for knowledge. And this is just the beginning.

It is growing at a rapid rate, with millions of people of different ages, cultures, and genders around the world taking up courses. Online learning gives opportunities for people to learn whatever they want, whenever they want.

This article will give you a general idea about online learning and hopefully answer some of your questions about how it all works. Enjoy.

What is Online Learning? 

By definition, online learning is the use of the internet and other computer-based methods to deliver education to students. Online learning allows students and instructors to work remotely, often at any time of day.

Online learning is less commonly known as distance learning, e-learning or e-teaching, online teaching, and online instruction. The objective of online learning is to make available high-quality courses, whether they are academic or professional.  

How Does Online Learning Work?

Students can access well-designed course material effectively through online learning. A combination of distance education and computer education, online learning combines flexibility and interactivity.  

The way online learning works is that students can sign up for a course and progress at their own pace, often with self-assessment systems and instant feedback.  Using this method, you can bridge the gap between you and an expert in a new and exciting way. 

Instead of just reading a book, taking notes, or watching a video, you are there in the moment with the so-called “live” person. This experience brings the content to life. And when something is brought to life, it makes it much easier to remember.

What are the Types of Online Learning?

Synchronous learning

Synchronous means “simultaneous” and is a type of online learning that allows you to learn in real-time. This type requires students and instructors to be online at the same time. Students may be present in class with their instructor or in a virtual classroom with hundreds of other students. 

Asynchronous learning 

Asynchronous learning refers to the ability to take courses, discussions, quizzes, etc whenever it is convenient for you. Most online courses are asynchronous. The big advantage is you can work on your course at any time of the day or night. 

In addition, asynchronous classes don’t require you to be in class at a specific time, making them useful if you need to balance work and family obligations.

Blended learning 

In blended learning, students complete coursework by participating in both in-class and online components. Each method of instruction has its strengths and weaknesses in terms of education, but it combines two distinct methods. 

Usually, the term “blended learning” refers to K-12 (primary & secondary) education in the United States, though it can refer to virtually any formal or informal educational setting.

SEE: What is a hybrid class

What Makes Online Learning So Popular Today?

It’s a flexible education option

Flexibility is key in the world of online learning. Using the internet, learners can take up any course they want to learn anything in the comfort of their own home. You do not have to worry about travel or transportation issues, long breaks between classes, or waiting for the schedule. Online learning gives you the power to learn whenever and wherever you want.

Different methods and styles to choose from

Being a convenience, online teaching offers a wide range of teaching methods and styles to choose from. When it comes to virtual education, students can choose from various teaching approaches to learning more effectively and quickly. 

Online learning features various teaching styles such as traditional teaching, business teaching, social teaching, interactive teaching, gaming teaching, and such.

It fosters critical thinking 

Online education is the best tool of critical thinking one would need. It enhances our mental faculty of being able to understand complex situations better. No wonder, online courses are more popular among business owners, entrepreneurs, startup innovators, and all the leading minds in different fields.

Enjoy a broader perspective of topics

In today’s education environment, it is very common that students have been taught from a very narrow perspective of a subject. Online learning provides the student with a broader perspective by providing materials from various teachers and resources. With internet learning, students can enjoy more resources and guidance from all over the world.

SEE: Benefits of online learning

How are Online Learning Methods Delivered?

Video conferencing platforms or webinars

Video conferencing is a powerful tool for delivering education and training to groups of people all over the world. Virtual conferencing software like Skype and GoToMeeting allow students and teachers to connect life, in real-time with voice and video. With these platforms, educators can connect their students from anywhere in the world.

SEE: A guide on how to create a webinar 

E-learning modules

An e-learning module is designed to give individuals the knowledge needed to achieve an objective. It consists of several online lessons containing assessments, interactive activities, videos, graphics, and other forms of media. 

Corporate and government training departments often use e-learning modules to train employees on using new technologies, safety measures, or just to improve staff skills.

Learning management systems (LMS)

Simply put, learning management systems (LMS) are the technology platforms developed to deliver online learning experiences. They bring together all of the components required to support instructional delivery. 

They do this by aggregating content (learning objects), tracking student progress, facilitating interactions between students and instructors, providing analytics to improve learning occurrences in the future, and enforcing adherence to established educational standards. 

All of these activities are done to ensure that the intended learning experience is delivered uniformly across different groups of students, courses, or programs. 

Interactive lecture style

The difference between traditional classroom learning and eLearning is the method of delivery. Teachers have classroom technology, but lab hours can be shared with several classes, and lectures must be recorded to be delivered online. 

Instructors who want to use an interactive lecture style with a course can use a variety of tools that include video, audio, screen sharing, instant messaging, and discussion boards.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs)

MOOCs are open to the public, free of charge, and typically consist of recorded lectures and materials posted on online portals hosted by third-party providers. In addition, MOOCs are a way to educate a very large number of students for a very low cost. This mode of delivery gives educators and students access to an enormous number of educational resources.

Why Does Online Learning Still Have a Negative Reputation?

Technological issues

Like other online endeavors, online education has had its share of early challenges. Several technical challenges have plagued Internet-based educational administration and instruction, such as internet connectivity, security risks, and infrastructure limitations. 

In addition to those hurdles, Internet-based tools have been underutilized by teachers historically.

Time differences in courses

Except for a few religion courses, all time zones in online courses are central. Sleep and waking hours probably differ from one another. This is why many people get bored or groggy when they begin an online class that starts early. 

When the time differences are extreme, such as the east coast to the east coast, it can be impossible for students to stay awake through an entire course. Since everyone can see how uninvolved their classmate is, this has a negative effect on the group atmosphere.

Less social interactions

Despite all the new online learning tools that are available, some people still think of online education as less social. Suppose you’re taking a subject like math where some students believe that collaboration is necessary to learn topics. 

A student could feel anxious about participating in or even finding an online group for this purpose, which can make it harder to learn new concepts.

Screen time management 

Screen time management when it comes to online learning is a very vital matter. It is difficult to get around spending a lot of time in front of the computer screen. 

Online learners spend so much time typing and filling out questionnaires, which can obscure the real work involved in completing coursework.

People also argue that technology-based learning exploits the increasing reliance on technology as a cause for laziness. 

High rate of distraction

Teachers conducting online classes often do not have clear rules or an established means of enforcing them, resulting in students’ distractions by social networks.  

These distractions can be related to other individuals, technology, social media sites, and various other factors. Furthermore, some studies indicate that anxiety, depression, and even obesity are interrelated.

Cybercrime 

A few years back, people used to think that the internet is a safe place where they can do anything and it will be secure. They could not have been further from the truth. Even the simplest usage of the internet can put you at risk for cybercrime.

Virtual or online learning sometimes referred to as cyber education, online learning, or distance education, stands at the forefront of educational technology. However, the same advantages of this form of learning that make it very popular also make it vulnerable to cybercrime.

SEE: Reasons why online learning is bad

Why is Online Learning Referred to as the Future of Education?

People seem to be using their cell phones and tablets for everything these days – from watching TV to reading news – but what about education? 

What if you could use your mobile device to learn a new language, brush up on that long-neglected history lesson or just watch a few videos that will help that “pop” sound when you talk? Online learning allows you to take those classes. 

It gives you the chance to self-teach and work at your own pace, and check out whatever topic interests you. Not only do students feel that this method helps them learn easier, but parents and employers view online learning as a way to save money on public education costs.

Takeaway: Online learning is the future of education because it’s effective, convenient, and offers real-time, user-generated content. Because of the wide availability of mobile learning apps and tools, online education is likely to become more accessible in the future, even for those with busy schedules.

FAQs

How does online learning differ from the traditional learning system?

In comparison with traditional tertiary education, online learning is available to all students. It offers flexible access to course materials and facilitates communication between students and instructors (and among students).

Is online learning effective?

Yes. Online learning is a convenient and cost-effective way to receive a quality education. Many courses offer a blend of both formal and informal methods of teaching. 

Millions of people around the world use eLearning to supplement their current curriculum or further their education at all levels. Additionally, it is suitable for students of all ages.

SEE: How effective is online learning?

How do you prepare for online learning?

Apart from laptop and internet connection, prepare well for online learning by getting into the right frame of mind and by doing a little prep work before you log in and take your first internet class. Plan ahead and manage your expectations You’ll be ready to meet your potential in no time.

Final Thoughts 

The world is changing. Increasingly it’s becoming possible to learn things without having to travel to a physical location. Online learning is here, and it’s going to get bigger.

The future of online learning is not about the next generation of digital tools. It’s about meeting students where they are and addressing their needs with quality online resources that help them navigate their path to success. 

Teachers who want their online education to be effective need to learn tricks to engage students. See the article on effective strategies for assessing your online students if this idea piques your interest.

Creating online courses for learners is also necessary. It is also essential to create interesting online courses to engage your students and make money. For tips on creating profitable online courses, read this article.

Lmshero is a blog that aims to inform the public about everything related to education conducted online. For more information, visit the guide section on the blog. Either as a teacher or as a student, you will be able to find many helpful resources.

Thanks for reading.