Online courses and modules within education are no longer the exception, they are the norm. More than ever, elearning is being used to bolster learning during non-class hours, and even a flipped-classroom models. This trend towards online learning is quite significant, especially in the minds of today’s students.
Accordingly to one study, roughly two-thirds of online students do not even consider getting their degrees in a classroom-only setting. There are certainly other benefits to an elearning program. The same study mentioned above found that online student believe that the greatest advantages of an elearning approach for their degree include:
- Ability to study anytime, anywhere
- Flexibility to study around work
- Ability to study at any pace
- Studying can take place at home or during travel
- The cost is lower
- Studies can be scheduled around family obligations
The trend is clear: convenience. However, online students also have other key considerations when choosing their online program. Sure, nearly all elearning programs offer the benefits above, but it is also important that the programs have a solid reputation. In addition, individuals looking to get their degree online are interested in the amount of transfer credit accepted when the enroll, and if they were to ever leave for another institution.
In order to assess an institutes reputation, online students look at the following factors:
- Quality of the faculty
- Personal recommendations
- Physical campus presence
- High rankings in publications
We have come a long way since degree programs were first offered online. I can recall chuckling at University of Phoenix commercials back in the day, but now I considered them an extremely viable, and fairly decent (certainly well-known) institution to obtain a degree. It will be interesting to see where our mobile technology takes us within the next three to five years in the realm of education.