Online education is a term that is thrown around a lot these days. It began with a few colleges offering their students the luxury of learning at their own pace and in their own home, and now it has become so common that almost all colleges and universities offer online education in some way, shape, or form. In the beginning, there were schools that either offered online learning exclusively or did not offer online education at all. It was not that long ago that community colleges and state universities were just learning about the online options entering the higher education realm. Now, most community colleges and state universities offer some form of online education to their students.
Some Schools Are Behind the Times
There are still some college majors that simply do not support online learning. This has some wondering if that will ever change. Initially, online education did not use the tools that it now has access to. Video chats and group meetings were unheard of in the beginning of online education. That has changed. Now, classes can be instructed in real time to students while they are in different parts of the country, and even different parts of the world. The ability to reach all students, regardless of their location, has become one of the benefits of an online education. So, what about those college majors that simply do not support online learning? Some college majors require classroom instruction because they require hands-on learning. This has been an area that has been lagging behind in the changes being made to online learning. For example, it can be difficult to teach a nursing student how to draw blood from a patient if the nursing student is not physically in the classroom learning by instruction. Or, how about running a laboratory without any students in the classroom to practice using a microscope? There are clearly some classes that require in-class learning in our current system. This could change though. Students who want to take online classes in topics that currently are not available to them because of the limitations of online learning may see that change in the future.
Online Education Continuing to Evolve
Online learning has evolved quite a bit in such a short amount of time that it is likely that there will be even more changes. Obtaining an online education has proven to be something that college students all over the world want. The increase in online programs being offered to students all over the world is clearly a response to demand. With the introduction of video messaging and group meetings held online in an online classroom setting, the addition of other learning tools is not that far-fetched. In the future, online learning will likely encompass classes that currently are only being taught in the classroom. Take, for example, the use of a microscope in a laboratory. Is it that far-fetched to think that one day a student will be able to use a microscope in their home classroom just as they would in a college laboratory? Of course not. A professor can instruct a student in real time through the use of video chat just as they would in a physical classroom.
Good for Career?
Another benefit of online education is that it provides an enhancement to a student’s current career. A student currently working in their field has the ability to learn quite a bit while they are at their job. Their online education helps to propel them further in their current career, but their current job is also a great resource. Online education helps to provide additional education to help this student advance and acts as an excellent support in their chosen field. Essentially, the in-person classroom education is learned on-the-job and the additional classroom instruction can be provided remotely. In the future, more employers may provide the in-classroom setting for students seeking a career in their chosen field. This also provides a way for online students to get real-world experience in addition to the instruction they receive in the classroom.
Online education has morphed into what it is today as a result of the demands of the students interested in obtaining their degree through online education. The future of online education will likely mean even more options for the student. Since online learning has been such a success, schools offering online education to their students will need to take advantage of all the advancements in technology in order to keep up with demand. This is good news for the online student and exciting for the future of online education.