Disrupting Education: How Online Learning Is Changing Everything

grtgbebeToddlers rarely have to be told now how to unlock a phone or change the settings on an iPad. They just open the device and away they go. The current state of education cannot be stagnant in the face of these skills. It’s ridiculous to imagine the future of education without seeing it as existing online.

Skeptical? The landscape is already changing. Here are just a few ways that online learning is transforming the world of education.

They’re Affordable

Online courses are easier to deliver and don’t require any transportation costs. Students going to college before online courses were available had to pack up and move to a new city or take whatever local option was available.

For some, this move is cost prohibitive. They can’t uproot families or leave jobs. Now, it’s possible to learn go to school online without having to leave your old life behind.

It’s Customizable

In the past, you took the courses and majors available in your discipline. You didn’t change thing around or create something based on your own needs. Online education makes a person’s learning journey customizable. You can find different classes or different certification programs and put them together to create the exact framework you need.

For example, your job requires that you have some training with quality assurance. Instead of getting a cumbersome degree, you can find a QA bootcamp online and get certified exactly when and how you need to.

Other options can be adding certifications and micro-degrees. A micro-degree is a series of courses taken that correspond to a niche. You could get a micro-degree in business by combining low cost or free course programs and proving that you’ve completed them all to a certain level of mastery.

This can be particularly useful in the vocational degree world where students pursuing vocational degrees can show mastery of business principles, quality assurance, or any number of other complementary disciplines.

It Offers Rolling Start Dates

The traditional school calendar may also hamper students. Deciding to pursue a degree in April for example, can yield disappointment if you can’t even start until the fall, or worse, the following spring. Students can take online courses any time. This cuts down on wait time when you need the training to apply for a job or to move up in a company.

Although some courses are still offered only at certain times, there are plenty of pre-recorded sessions that students can access at any time from anywhere in the world.

It Addresses 21st Century Skills

The world of technology has placed enormous demands on employers to find employees who are comfortable in the digital world. Students who complete all or part of their degrees online already show an aptitude for existing in the online space.

Businesses are already utilizing online learning as part of training programs, so employees who are comfortable working through online programs are an asset. They need people who can manage time and tasks within the online space as well.

In the K12 sphere, this is especially important. Students who receive training in the online space early on are better equipped to handle a changing job world. For kids growing up today, there was never a time when the world wasn’t dominated by computers and technology. Integrating these things into their education early on replicates the kind of world they will graduate into.

It can also teach students to manage their time independently, a critical skill in the world of technology. With everything becoming more customizable, it’s important for students to learn early how to manage learning and keep up with tasks.

It’s Better Equipped for Nontraditional Learning

Outside of online learning to earn degrees and certifications, there’s been a huge uptick in nontraditional learning. YouTube is one of the original non-traditional learning spaces, though it’s rarely identified as such.

It’s bursting with how-to videos on just about anything from makeup to home construction, and it’s making expert help and advice a little less necessary. Businesses are increasingly turning to online training to serve their needs as well. Staff development can be streamlined and employee mastery can be tracked through a unified system making it easy to see who is falling behind.

There’s also little need to bring in a person or to shut down the office for an entire staff training. In fact, training overall is heading in the direction of customizable, trackable learning that can happen individually.

The Future

Online learning isn’t just a trend. It’s an increasingly necessary way to distribute quality education and training. Students who might not have had access to education before now have a multitude of options behind their learning journey.

Employers, the K12 sphere and those seeking specialized, niche training have a lot to gain from online education disrupting the way education is delivered. Though we won’t know for sure how much of education will be delivered online in the future, it’s safe to say that the trend is heading towards substantial online learning.

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