Online learning (or e-learning) has now become a popular way of learning a wide range of disciplines. Online courses are available to anyone with adequate access to the Internet and the right motivation to follow their passions. The rise in the popularity of online course solutions cannot be explained without concluding that they actually provide advantages and values that traditional learning institutions do not provide. The benefits of online learning can be summarized into the three following findings:
Students learn more
According to a study from IBM, students that pursue online courses learn five times more materials than students who follow traditional methods of face-to-face learning. A major advantage of the online learning is that students can determine the learning pace by themselves. Overall, students studying online are more motivated to work through the stages of an online course than they are in other classical forms of learning. The higher degree of freedom enabled by online education means that students can progress more rapidly in the stages covering the areas they feel most comfortable with while they can choose to pause more in other online chapters that require a more in-depth learning.
It requires a low time investment
The substantial time the traditional face-to-face courses require has turned them into unwise solutions when compared with online courses. In the later learning solutions, students do not have to wait for other students to physically arrive at a certain point in order for them to start the learning process. Also, there is no need to travel in and around the town in order to be present for certain classes or to meet with class tutors. A report from Brandon Hall that considered online learning within companies concluded that this form of learning required about 40-60 percent less employee time than its traditional counterpart. Online courses are more time efficient also during the stages of material learning. Managing the required time to master the materials offered by the course is easier online than it is in a classroom setting since the decision on when to study rests in the hands of the students.
High retention rates
Traditional course providers have significant difficulties in retaining students throughout the entire length of the course. This has not been an issue with online learning. In fact, according to a finding from the Research Institute of America (as reported by Forbes), online courses have increased student retention rates by 25 to 60 percent. This is remarkable when compared with the retention rates of only 8 to 10 percent reported in offline learning or training. The reasons for high rates of retention in e-learning can be explained by the less cases of classes clashing with other engagements and more control on how students choose to study the selected materials.
Quality over quantity
Despite the previously mentioned benefits, online courses have still a lot to improve in terms of quality and human capital gains. Furthermore, the e-learning market is so plentiful with online courses offering that it makes it very competitive. The only way for online courses to remain attractive is to differentiate themselves from other offerings. In addition, online courses such as online certified scrum product owner training are opening up new and disruptive e-learning opportunities. Software giants such as IBM are also revolutionizing the field with courses such as IBM’s Big Data University. Yet, it is up to the aspiring students to decide on their own way of learning.