Despite its advantages there are still many people who are skeptical of online education.
It is hard to imagine that the same learning experience can occur from a 100% online (or virtual) course.
I would tend to agree with this sentiment as I am not a believer in “one method is better than another”. Personally I think a blended learning model is ideal because it leverages the benefits of both methods.
Still, online-only schools do exist and are attracting students from all over the world. The content is often delivered as a combination of pre-made elearning modules, recorded lectures, and live webinars.
Student participation is usually measured via forum participation or comments on course material.
This all sounds so great what could possibly be the down-side to an online education?
It is simple really: only a small percentage of people actually finish online courses.
For evidence of this just have a look at MOOC completion rates. They are terrible.
Granted MOOCs do have some characteristics that make them unique (for example, the fact that they are “free”) and I am sure this plays a significant role in the completion figures.
Another contributing factor to these low completion rates could be the fact that many people getting online degrees are working full-time jobs at the same time.
While the virtual component of these courses makes it possible for them to access the content on their own time, there are still deadlines to meet. The lack of personal (human) touch in some of these programs does not do much to motivate the learner to meet these deadlines.
My intent of pointing out these factors is not to come down on online education. We clearly can see that it has immense benefits. I am merely mentioning these as opportunity areas.
If we want this method of education to have a greater impact then we should always be looking for ways to improve it. The first step to doing so is acknowledging that it is not perfect.