How Online Learning Is Changing Education

EdWize is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission (at no cost to you).  Learn more.

How Online Learning Is Changing Education

Many educators will be aware of the landscape of education and how it has changed and is changing over time.

Since the availability of the internet, we have been able to access almost any information in a second.

Not only this, but due to world events – we’ve had to realize how important it is to use the internet to our advantage and this certainly applies to online learning.

This has shown us that education is changing and online learning is a very key component to this.

But how and why exactly is this happening and is it a good thing?

Our guide today will examine all of these points and assess how online learning is changing education.

Read on for more!

The Obvious Changes

Before we dive into the more complex movements with education, perhaps the best thing to do is to point out the obvious changes.

The fact that we now have the ability to access information wherever we are.

This is through the advancement of technology which now allows both children and adults alike to take the classroom from the traditional setting to wherever we want to.

What this does is allow for much more learning opportunities.

Because of the scale of online learning opportunities, we can now access thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of online learning courses from our sofas and these are often designed by world leading education experts and institutions.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg, so we need to look a little deeper to truly examine this new dynamic.

Instant Education Opportunities

The traditional education model almost forces us into specific areas.

In other words, before the days of the new technology and online learning opportunities, it was required that we attend classes and tutorials.

This meant we had to move from classroom to classroom, often travel a while away from where we lived to do so, and this could incur significant costs and time.

As a result, when we were a little strapped for cash or did not have time to do so, our education could be affected.

With the new online learning platforms, we can now access courses at home using our internet connection.

What this means is that we are not tied down to the old model of education.

We no longer have a time-specific format. We can learn at any time in any place that allows for an internet connection.

This can be excellent for both younger people and working professionals that wish to develop their knowledge and career.

Not only this, we now have a huge variety of educational opportunities to hand.

We do not have to simply accept what a classroom is going to be like – we can pick and choose what we want to learn.

What this does is accelerate the learning process and the overall absorption of knowledge, and it also allows the student to learn at their own pace.

Indeed, one of the biggest challenges and disadvantages of the traditional classroom for both the student and the teacher is the fact that it is a “flat learning” process.

What we mean here is that the classroom and the lesson may move at a faster, or slower pace than some students will be able to cope with.

When students are allowed to learn at their own pace and learn what they want to learn, they can develop their knowledge much more efficiently and in a better way.

Much More Efficient Learning

Moving on from our previous point, we can actually examine how much more efficient this model of learning is for the student.

Once again, this is for every student of every age.

When a student has the opportunity to move at their own pace and learn what they feel they need more assistance with, the learning process is far more efficient than the traditional format of teaching.

Indeed, one of the biggest ways this can help is for students that live with certain difficulties such as social anxiety.

The fact that they can now learn from home using online learning platforms can really help them to engage with the learning materials much more.

New Collaborative Learning Methods

Partly due to the pandemic, many educators were forced to quickly change their teaching methods.

However, the one area that educators began to panic about was how students were going to learn collaboratively.

Many scholars have written extensively about pedagogy and andragogy over the years and how methods such as social constructivism can be a huge benefit to learning.

The problem was though – how do you do this using an online learning model?

Luckily, due to the advancement of technology, educators found plenty of resources that can work in pretty much the same way as they would in the classroom setting.

Using tools such as dialogue simulators, educational games and other teamwork tasks –  these worries essentially evaporated from the educators mind.

Although it was a requirement to understand how these learning tools worked, it was easily achieved.

On top of this, many online learning tools allowed for chat functions and other sections for collaboration.

This again allowed students living with things like social anxiety to still engage with the course materials without the same struggles as they would have in the physical classroom.

A Diverse Package

One of the best inclusions to online learning is the huge range of diverse learning tools and methods.

It is often overlooked how many different types of learning tools are available simply using online education.

Look at things like the following:

Videos

Videos

Training videos and other pre-recorded educational videos can be massively beneficial to students.

Not only can they learn and watch in their own time, but they have the ability to rewind the content, increase the volume, select subtitles functions etc.

The ability to do these things makes a huge difference to some learners and using videos away from the classroom has its place in modern education.

Gamification

Using games as a way to teach has long been known to be of huge benefit to educators and to the students.

Keeping topics fun and relevant can often be difficult in a classroom setting, but there are a multitude of options out there for gamification.

Whether these are puzzles, trivia games or poll-type quizzes, you can still assess the progress of your learners without the need of traditional assessment methods.

Dialogue Simulations

This is a type of educational tool that can be of great use to students that are looking to learn how to move some information from the online world to the real world. 

While this mind sound counterproductive to some, it actually allows the learners to develop their communication skills in their own time without the fear of “getting it wrong” in a real world situation.

This makes it much more likely to be effective and then should allow the student to take these skills from their online setting to the real world. 

Digital Presentations

You can still stick with the tried and tested method of presentations, but using an online platform for these types of presentations allows the learners the opportunity to read at their own time and pace.

This also applies to any other learning tool you have within the presentation, such as imagery, videos or audio files.

Once again, the learner can develop at their own pace and you can still assess their progress this way.

What this means is that modern educators can still fully conduct their teaching but do not need to be stuck inside a classroom.

Coursera

Degrees, Certificates, & Free Online Courses

  • More than 5,000 courses
  • Professional Certificates
  • Degrees from the Top Universities
Try Coursera

Costs Are Reduced

Many businesses have learned this too more recently.

Without the need to pay for building costs such as rental, mortgage, maintenance, extra staffing, energy costs and other fees – they can still run an effective business solely online.

This can also be beneficial financially to the worker as they no longer have to pay for travel costs and can still be productive at home.

Move this to the world of education and we find exactly the same thing.

Without the need for the educator or education institution to have to fund these costs and the students needing to pay for their travel – the learning process can still continue, but for much less cost!

Are There Any Downsides To Online Learning?

Arguably there are far more upsides than downsides when it comes to online learning.

As we’ve seen, education in terms of its diversity and opportunities have definitely benefited from online learning.

However, there is still going to be the argument that the traditional classroom allows for socialization and other important elements to the learning process, as this is a very important factor in life.

Final Thoughts

Online learning is changing education in a multitude of ways but importantly, we see positive impacts happening from it.

Martin Barrett

Martin is the editor in chief as Edwize.org. He has taken more courses than cares to remember. If he’s not watching back to back documentaries he is geeking out in the E-Learning space.