Online Learning is a type of distance learning wherein the education and learning process takes place over the Internet instead of a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. E-Learning and Virtual Learning are slightly different types of online learning systems, based on the types of learning tools and the environment adapted to impart and receive knowledge.
In recent times, online learning has gone from being a useful option to becoming a necessity. With technological advances, online learning has been replacing traditional learning systems both in the corporate world for training purposes and in the academic world for tutoring students. There are various benefits to choosing online learning.
Advantages of Online Learning
- Convenience and Flexibility: Online learning is suited to all types of lifestyles; offering you the flexibility to log on to an e-learning platform to access study materials at your convenience. There are e-learning courses available for most subjects on the planet. Furthermore, there are no rigid timings or schedules to restrict course availability and accessibility. Flexibility in timings means that you don’t have to compromise other aspects of your life to gain an education.
- Affordability: In this time and age, there is at least one smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop with internet connection in a household. With a stable internet connection and a smart device, you can download the apps/programs required to join virtual learning classrooms, access e-learning materials, and interact with your guides and peers online. Thus, the tools required to get an online education is minimal. You can save up on additional costs like transportation, wardrobe, textbooks, etc.
- Active Learning: Online learning is active learning i.e., in e-learning, you have to be self-motivated to begin and complete a course without much interference or handholding from teachers and peers. With the kind of flexibility that comes with e-learning, you have to be self-disciplined to finish a course on time. There are certain keys to successful online learning that you can adapt to get the most out of your education.
5 Keys to Successful Online Learning
- Orientating online learning systems: Much like a traditional learning system, when a student is enrolled in an online class/course, the teacher has to orient the student to the world of online learning such as its tools, apps/programs, course materials, schedules, and virtual learning etiquettes. Not all students take to new types of learning systems seamlessly. They require introductions and instructions on how to participate in online classes. Qualified teachers and parents have to educate students in new technologies and devices so that the transition from conventional learning methods to modern learning becomes seamless.
- Implementing online learning etiquettes: Initially, there were complaints of disruptive behaviors amongst students in online classes in the form of chatting, memes sharing, gaming, and so on. However, since online classes have become the norm for students all over the world due to the pandemic, schools have started implementing online learning etiquette to instill discipline among students in a virtual learning environment. Teachers and parents have to implement disciplinary actions for disruptive behaviors much like in traditional classroom and homework settings. In the case of older students, self-discipline and self-motivation are requisites for successful online education.
- Developing effective time-management skills: Procrastinating is easier when courses don’t have fixed schedules when you aren’t required to dress up in proper attire to attend online classes or submit your assignment in person. In such cases, you have to draw a timetable for reading, writing, and discussing course topics with fellow students and teachers. When you follow fixed online class timings, track deadlines, and stick to schedules, it becomes easier to complete a course and submit your assignments on the due dates without risking any delays. Remember, procrastinating can make a mountain out of a molehill. Also, following a timetable can free up your time for physical exercise; maintaining good physical and mental health is important for any type of learning.
- Interacting with teachers and students regularly: You can feel isolated and demotivated when taking online classes. To combat such negative outcomes, several apps allow for video conferencing, virtual classroom attendance, online presentations, online chatrooms, etc. Download the appropriate apps/programs to carry on a lively and informative discussion on your course subjects and assignments. Virtual learning via video conferencing with fellow students can be motivating and engaging. Furthermore, you can clarify doubts and request one-on-one tutoring classes from your teacher if needed. For all these, you also have to learn effective communication skills specific to online learning.
- Minimalizing distractions: Although one of the benefits of online learning is that education is brought to your doorstep, it helps to go for a classroom/workplace set-up in your home when participating in virtual learning. This way, there are fewer distractions and you are mentally prepared to imbibe knowledge during online classes.
Whether you’re a teacher or a student, follow these tips to embark on a successful online learning journey.