Virtual learning, also known as Online learning or distance learning has been transforming the face of the education system for quite some time. Now, it is fast becoming an integral aspect, and a common tool, in the wider aspect of higher education, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from providing an alternative method of learning in the digital age, online learning offers students the chance to learn new skills or improve existing ones.

The flexible and interactive nature of online learning makes it very effective in career progression, increasing the employability of several students and making faculty members better qualified to work in the digital age. Some may even argue that it is better than classroom-based learning.

Why Distance Learning?

Distance learning has made education more accessible to broader groups of people. It is a convenient way to gain work experience while obtaining a college or other vocational training.

Numerous organizations, such as the military, large corporations, and government agencies depend on distance education to train service members and employees.

Undoubtedly, education or specialized training is a requirement for most highly paid jobs. The availability of the Internet has raised the number of online courses and to stay relevant, schools have to embrace digital.

Who Uses Distance Learning?

Most students today are taking advantage of distance/online learning programs. Working professionals, high school students, and even traditional college students register in virtual learning classes.

Companies and other organizations often use virtual learning programs to train employees through augmented virtual reality software. The following are some of the reasons people register in distance learning programs:

What technology is used for online distance learning?

Various types of technology are used to develop online learning. Special computer programs like the Pinnacle Learning Management system, high-speed Internet, and webcam broadcasting technology are just a few of the excellent technologies used in distance learning.

As a result, learning opportunities that never existed for people living in distance or rural areas can obtain a college education or specialized job training. It’s not unusual for a student living in a rural region of South Dakota to complete a course offered by a college in California.

Students usually interact with teachers and other students using video conferencing, satellite, and Internet technology.

Choosing a Distance Learning School

Distance learning has been in existence for centuries through traditional mail and other creative means, but online education is still a comparatively new field. Even though the technology is complex, the educational mission and academic standards are the same as in traditional education: providing quality education.

Various online schools do particularly that, while others are only degree mills or outright frauds. And of course, there’s plenty of variety in the middle.

As you search for online learning management systems, it’s crucial to know what you’re looking for, and what to look out for. Below are some parameters to help you determine the best online school for you.

Benefits of Online Learning

All levels of the education system can be improved through online courses, as students can study at their own speed and work with course materials that are accustomed to their needs and learning abilities.

The rising popularity of this system of study has emerged in an amazing boom in the industry. Studies show there has been a yearly growth of 5% or more in the online learning space.

At the present rate, the e-learning market will be worth almost $240 billion in the next five years.

1. Engage Students at a Deeper Level

In traditional classroom-based courses, there is an ongoing problem with student memory. Sometimes, students don’t relate with the course materials or instructors. You may have seen attendance suffer, and soon enough, some students suddenly fall behind their peers. While there are several reasons for the drop-off, it is an issue that continues to trouble offline courses.

Research shows that online classes can be better at engaging students, increasing retention rates up to 60% in some cases while video content is predicted to account for 80% or more of all global web activity by 2020.

It’s a little shocking that online learning is getting more popular.

As online education gives a greater degree of flexibility, it can be less stressful to manage alongside other engagements.

Moreover, there is less pressure to engage the students, as you have the assistant of devices, apps, and multimedia tools to make learning a more interactive and enjoyable prospect.

This provides education institutions new chances to deliver content in ways that the students of today can connect to.

2. Improve Digital Literacy

Students that can use online tools efficiently have a lot to gain in the workplace. While some roles need excellent digital skills such as marketers and those working in IT, the majority of roles in business need some level of digital know-how.

Take customer service as an instance, with social media reshaping the way people communicate more and more customer service team need to know how to provide excellent customer service while those in HR and L&D need to know how to use platforms to drive employee engagement.

Learning online help enhance digital literacy as it provides students with a clue into how to be effective online and communicate with content, peers and lecturers.

Similarly, teaching online will assist all educators to communicate more efficiently through different digital mediums, as well as making lecturers qualified and confident users of video technology in education. Constant interaction with fellow staff and students through email and message boards will improve your computer skills and make you more adept at managing the technology and devices of the digital age.

As digital literacy is swiftly becoming the most valuable tool for lifelong learning, developing abilities is a worthwhile investment for students and faculty.

3. Offer Flexibility

Gone are the days when it was crucial for students to move to an unknown city to study a preferred course.

It doesn’t matter where students live, or if they can’t make it for an early morning class. Virtual learning enables educators to offer them the opportunity to study on their own terms.

In a self-paced course, there are no expectations for attendance. If students have children or a job, then early morning classes may not be feasible. With online learning, they can study at night, on the weekends, or however, they prefer to fit it into their existing life.

This flexible schedule also means lecturers can teach from the comfort of their own homes and work outside traditional class times, allowing for more freedom during daytime hours to seek other interests.

4. No Need for Actual Classrooms

Online classes means students can learn anywhere as long as the internet works.

The caveat is that some students may become lazy or complacent in their studies. Online learning provides the potential for improved comfort, but faculty should inspire students to study in an environment favorable to learning and free from distractions.

With study/teaching areas customized to a student’s needs and preferences, it’s likely that there will be an increase in their motivation to learn, as most students will enjoy the atmosphere more than a traditional classroom. This will also make it more fun for you as you teach in a setting that suits you best.

5. Get to Know Students Better

Some students are inherently shy that partaking in classroom discussions doesn’t come easy for them.

With online learning, such students may feel more at peace and open to sharing in discussion and course activities. As a result, educators can interact with a broader range of students, getting a myriad of different views on course matters.

This not only makes for deeper, more interesting classes but also helps you to bond with students as you get to know them better and acquire a sense of how they are coping with the class and course materials.

6. Improve Career Prospects for Students and Faculty

The statistics on online learning describe a significant positive impact on the employability of those who successfully accomplish online qualifications.

Studies from the University of Illinois verified that 44% of online students maintain their employment standing developed, as they got full-time jobs within 12 months of their graduation. Moreover, 45% of respondents reported they got an increase in their salary.

Faculty members, like students, will acquire new computer skills, despite what the course is, from working with cloud-based documents to incorporating video and audio materials in their course materials.

These core skills will translate to many professions in the digital age, making students more positive and more competent to transition to various roles. They will be ready to take on more tasks in virtual learning, helping graduates shine in the working world of the future.

7. Provide Multiple Ways to Learn

Traditional programs limited to the classroom and a set timetable offer little in terms of flexibility. Students are boxed in and must learn according to the designated methods—or not at all. Frequently, many fall behind.

With online classes, lecturers have more options on how to teach and offer innovative and interesting ways to present the content and explain points. Experimentation with different methods of online instruction offers the opportunity to try various activities, such as:

  • Games
  • Guided design projects
  • Pre-recorded lectures
  • PowerPoints with voice-over
  • Web conferences

Educators can also sustain a community culture in virtual study groups. Through apps like Pinnacle School Management Solution, Google Hangouts, students can correlate with each other online to discuss assignments, sort problems, and learn together. By sharing screens and documents, they can work as a remote team through virtual whiteboards, Google Docs, and organizational programs like Asana.

Research on the most current online education program developments shows that they are becoming more interactive.

They offer students more opportunities to discuss course materials with instructors and fellow students through live commenting and interactive video lessons, enabling deeper conversations and stronger bonds with faculty.

Top education providers acknowledge that the relationship between students and teachers is a fundamental aspect of a student’s performance. Quality online programs will embrace that.

FAQs

Does online school look bad for colleges?

No, there isn’t a catch. But that doesn’t stop people from making up some negative reasons. One common fear is that online high school looks bad when you’re applying to college or trying to find a job.

Why is it important for students to develop their skills in using online platforms?

Online learning platforms enable all of those things as well as provide a tool for students and teachers to keep a record of progress made.

How does online learning improve academic performance?

The flexible and interactive nature of online learning makes it highly efficient in career advancement, increasing the employability of many students and making faculty members better qualified to work in the digital age.

How does online school affect students?

Taking a course online also reduces student grades in future courses by one-eighth of a standard deviation, and reduces the possibility of remaining registered a year later by over ten percentage points (over a base of 69 per- cent).

References

Insidehighered.com-The Shift to Remote Learning: The Human Element

Digitalmarketinginstitute.com-How online learning can improve academic performance

HBR.org-What the Shift to Virtual Learning Could Mean for the Future of Higher Ed

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