The popularity of choosing online learning is on the rise, yet the misconceptions around it persist despite its increased demand. It seems that people often make assumptions based on fear or lack of understanding. This is exactly why it’s important to explore the truth about online learning.
When the world recently shifted to online-focused learning, becoming efficient in teaching and connecting with students came with a steep learning curve for educators. Yet today online learning has evolved with trial and error, creating an impressive option for any student wanting to study online.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about learning online:
- Misconception: There is no socialization between students with online learning.
Socialization in an online class does happen! Teachers often assign group projects, do presentations with conferencing tools, and engage in discussions about the current content of the class. Students also have a better opportunity to learn in a more diverse classroom, especially if the online school has students in different areas of the country or even the world.
- Misconception: Online learning is easier than in-classroom learning.
Learning online may seem easier to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. In-classroom learning is familiar to most with its structured lessons. When in a physical classroom, students typically know what to expect. The accountability and design of online learning make it just as structured if not more so.
Teachers aren’t settling for watered-down assignments and there are still strict deadlines for them to be completed. Learning online can help students to use research, videos, and other resources, to help better explain a subject to many different types of learners. The bottom line is that it’s hard to fake learning and it shows, whether it’s online or in a classroom.
- Misconception: Educational value is lower online.
Online courses have come a long way over the past few years. While online courses have been available for a long time, the number of options and ways to teach online nowadays has raised the bar in creating lesson plans. With the ability to structure a course that has more resources than ever to help teach different types of learners, the content may just be better presented and received via online learning.
- Misconception: Online learning is open-ended and without deadlines.
Self-paced learning is still available to those who are seeking the flexibility needed to maintain a work/life balance. But if you’re attending an online school that isn’t dedicated to more advanced learning, just about every task given to students will have some kind of deadline associated with it.
Be sure to check and see how long a certain course will last and see if you can talk to others who have taken it before. Sometimes the amount of work and time limit for a course may not fit in a person’s busy schedule. Ultimately, if you can’t submit work and dedicate the time to an online course, you are likely to fail the course.
- Misconception: All online learning is listening to boring lectures for hours.
While there was a time when most online learnings involved teachers droning on for the duration of the class time, that rarely holds true anymore. Courses are evolving to be able to encourage student discussion, diversify learning materials, and provide students with assignments that help them to practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Teachers are adapting to shorter attention spans and multimedia learning tools to be able to teach the modern student.
- Misconception: Teachers aren’t able to teach as much content online as they can in person.
Content that is taught online doesn’t differ from content taught in the classroom. The one major difference is that teachers who instruct online have multimedia tools at their fingertips to create interactive, engaging content. Online curricula can combine teaching tools to bring many different learning styles to a class in a way that more students can understand. There isn’t less content with online learning, just different and sometimes better ways to deliver the lessons.
- Misconception: Online course credits don’t or are difficult to transfer.
The world has been paying attention to the expansion of online learning. With its continuous growth, educational institutions have been growing along with online students. Many schools accept transfer credits and each day more are changing their transfer credit policies. If you know where you want to be able to transfer your credits to when you complete your course of studies at your current school, the process is simple. Just ask the school that you want to transfer your credits to if they’ll accept them. Be sure to check before you enroll in any new online learning institution.
- Misconception: You’re on your own when taking online classes.
One of the most difficult challenges that online learning has had to overcome is that students think that they will not be able to get in touch with their teacher for any number of reasons. Online instructors know that one of the most crucial aspects of a student’s success lies in their ability to ask questions or talk about class assignments with them. Most online teachers provide their students with an email address for class-related questions. There can also be virtual office hours and regular updates or announcements. Online communication is essential and a good online school makes it a priority.
- Misconception: A student has to be a technology whiz to be successful with online learning.
A good online learning institution does not assume that all students that are enrolled can just pop online and navigate their classes with ease. The engineers who create online classrooms know what basic skills most students are likely to have and will do their best to create a site that seems familiar to students. For those who struggle deeply with site navigation, an online school should provide a tutorial that addresses all possible navigational issues a new student may have for the first few visits.
Online learning has come a long way over the last few years. If you have any questions or concerns about attending an online school, be sure to take a look at what’s available for your interests. For any concerns you might have that aren’t addressed on a website, you can often chat, call, or email to get answers to your questions. No matter what you choose to learn and how you learn it, you have more options than ever and fewer misconceptions to hold you back.