Schools and Universities have traditionally been the place where students are taught a curriculum, but what happens when learning is no longer limited to classrooms? The true nature of education, with its expansive variety of learning opportunities and methods, is becoming clearer than ever before. In fact, in the 21st century, it’s not reasonable to assume that traditional schools will offer all the knowledge a student needs to succeed in life. There are bound to be gaps in knowledge that just can’t be filled by books or lectures alone.
The Rise of Online Courses
The Internet has allowed for a wide variety of courses to be created by universities and community colleges that offer an alternative learning experience, both by well-known brick and mortar institutions and online only ones. In fact, the potential and possibilities surrounding these courses is limitless. Learners can benefit from the range of different types of content offered online by thousands of partners around the world. Innovative online education also offers access to a variety of new teaching methods, such as video lectures and social tools for collaboration.
Students are given the freedom to break away from traditional teaching to study at their own pace from a location they choose, instead of having to fit in with a structured class schedule.
There is also a wide mix of options offered, for instance some courses can be wholly in a classroom, some are classroom based but with online lectures, some are online with in person practical sessions and some, for example at https://online.nmu.edu/, are 100% online courses.
The Advantages of Online Learning
Traditionally, most students learn from teachers and books, but what if a student wants to learn in another way or can only remember by talking aloud? What happens when a student’s learning style isn’t compatible with classroom learning? Usually, the student is left to struggle. Students on an online course have the advantage of:
- Studying at their own pace
- Easy access to course materials
- Connecting from anywhere at any time without needing to find time to travel to a classroom
- A variety of different learning methods and tools, including video lectures and virtual labs
- An open-source environment that allows for collaboration on assignments
- The convenience of working in an environment where technology is easy to use and knowledge is accessible via the Internet
- The ability to work outside of one’s community, if desired (for example, to study in another country without relocation costs)
Learning outside of a traditional school is an effective way for students to gain the necessary knowledge and skills that they can apply in their daily lives and has long been encouraged. Online courses allow students to have more freedom and control over their time because they aren’t being forced by teachers and peers to fit into a certain mold.
There are always going to be gaps in the knowledge no matter which type of learner you are, but the opportunities for learning beyond the classroom will continue to grow and change with the times, and it’s good to take advantage of that when you can.