According to enrollment information gathered from the Institute of Education Sciences, over 80% of classes were delivered entirely online in 2014. This number increased since then, and will continue to increase as online learning takes off. Online learning has taken the world by storm, completely transforming the learning and training landscape. It has been one of the most disruptive learning innovations in the market, not only increasing access to education, but also improving learner performance. For anyone who is new to online learning, or who is thinking about implementing online learning, here is a list of the top 5 benefits from delivering online learning.
1. Self-paced learning
Every learner is different - the most effective learning method will vary from person to person because of this. Unfortunately, in-class learning that is led by an instructor teaching 10-30 students at the same time isn't inclusive of these different learning needs. Teachers, trainers, and administrators are limited to the time they have in the classroom, so even if all learners are not ready to move on from one unit to the next, they must move on with the rest of the group. There is no time to slow down, and spend an extra hour with one learner if he or she needs it. As an alternative, online learning allows individuals to read, learn, and process learning materials on their own time, so there is no pressure for them to keep up with the rest of their peers.
2. Anytime Anywhere access to learning materials.
Learning and training are not limited to in-class, or on the job. Students or employees can take training, study, and review learning material on their own time, allowing them learn on their own schedule. By eliminating the geographical limitations, and the need to physically attend class, you can increase the access people have to learning. For example, a woman in Florida may want to take a program or a course offered in Texas - online learning allows her to do so. Additionally, organizations who have employees dispersed around the city, country, or globe, can offer them all the same training, at whatever time works best for them.
3. Immediate Feedback.
Anyone who has taken a class or training session knows about “the wait” - the time in between submitting your work receiving your results. By the time you get it back, you have probably forgotten what logic and thinking went into the work. With online learning, quizzes and assessments are integrated into your online learning platform, so feedback can be immediate - teachers and trainers can grade assignments, quizzes, tests, and assessments online, and hand them back online.
4. Increased Learner Engagement and Participation.
Online learning is a sensational experience, in a very literal sense. With the ability to incorporate multimedia, podcasts, webcasts, and games, the likelihood of you getting bored is very slim. The various channels for delivering learning creates a very stimulating learning experience.
5. Communication & CommunityOnline learning expands the reach of communication streams, outside of just the physical classroom. Thanks to the integration abilities with social media platforms, social networking apps, and communication features such as direct messaging, blogs, online chat boxes, discussion groups and boards. While this may seem like a simple feature, the ability to communicate with peers and leaders around the clock is one of the top benefits that online learners rave about. It provides learners with a space to ask and answer each others questions, bounce their ideas off one another, and it allows them to connect with their peers and build relationships and communities.