The idea of distance learning began as a provision for those who wanted an education but could not get one due to social and physical barriers. People, especially children, who had to work to earn their livelihood from a young age also opted for the distance mode of education. Slowly, this concept of distance learning became a part of home-schooling as well. Understanding the pros and cons of online school will help us in deciphering whether it’s beneficial for us or no.
Homeschooling of children was started when certain sections of the society, felt cheated by the social norms taught to their children in school. Specifically, and traditionally done by the orthodox Christian family, who refused to accept the change in the society and wanted to govern the education of their child. The purpose was to separate the child from the liberals and socials and follow the traditions of the church.
In the meantime, school education was evolving to benefit the ever-changing society. As a result, the classroom became more advanced as the learning became more practical to the children.
In effect of this change and a tremendous increase in informational and communicational technology in the past few decades, the mode of distance learning and homeschooling also updated to an online medium.
Online learning attracted a more curious younger generation. With the dissatisfaction among the learners and their parents from traditional schooling, online schooling emerged as an alternative and more convenient means of education.
Online schools are a relatively new phenomenon and are constantly evolving. Teachers and students alike are becoming more familiar with how to navigate online courses, and programs continue to improve.
Online schools, as with anything, have their advantages and disadvantages. Although students receive just as valuable of education in online school as in a campus-based school, whether or not their particular learning style is compatible with the structure of online courses determines if the pros outweigh the cons.
Here is a list of a few general pros and cons of online school:
Benefits of Online School
- Time Flexibility
Online courses are believed to be a convenient means of education for the student. It is so because it gives the students the liberty to log into the course material whenever it suits their schedule.
Despite the general belief, there are deadlines regarding homework assignments and discussions, which have to be achieved by the students. They can read and review course material at their chosen time. Due to this flexibility, those who are juggling a career, family, and education, opt for online schooling.
A growing number of online schools are being established each year all around the world. This means that people who wish to pursue an online degree or diploma can easily find the best suits, which suits their educational needs and desires.
- 24/7 Access to Course Material
In a traditional school setting, students rely on their notes to remember class lectures. This is not the same in online schooling. Learning with an online school provides you with an added advantage as you get access to the written lectures which are available throughout the semester. It thus makes going back to review course material easier.
- Location Flexibility
Internet got its name because it interconnects the world with the same net. In an online school, students can take classes from a state or country at the opposite end of the world without leaving the comfort of their home. This makes the teaching-learning process more diversified.
- Zero Commute
The most appealing advantages to online schools are that it avoids the extra time it takes to commute to classes and between the classes. The student may use this time for completing homework, studying, working, earning, or following their dreams.
- Self-Direction and Personalized Learning
The learning in an online school is self-paced, self-designed, and self-centred. Therefore, making the education self-centred.
- Multi-Media Presentations
Many online schools use a variety of media, such as CD/DVD’s and a WebCam, to teach lessons and to aid students in completing their homework.
Online schools such as International Schooling use software like Learning Management System and School Management System to serve their students.
- Variety of Course Options
There is no virtual limit to the variety of courses offered through online schools. Students can take courses ranging from Language arts to Music Appreciation, from Earth Sciences to Personal Finance Literacy.
- Online School Fees
Unlike the general belief, online school fees have more validation then the traditional brick and mortar schools. There is no extra expense like that of convenience, uniform, notebooks, lab fees, lunch, etc, thus, reducing the cost of education.
Lets now discuss some general challenges of Online Schooling:
Limitations of Online School
- Role of the Teacher
Unlike the traditional school teacher, the role of a teacher in an online school seems to be limited to an instructor. Most of the time, teachers guide students through the pre-written or pre-recorded course material, rather the majority of the interaction with the teacher comes from class discussions and feedback on assignments. Some students who need the teacher to be a philosopher, facilitator, and counselor may have trouble with this format of schooling.
- Technology Requirements
Many countries do aim to provide the access to technology to the lower strata of their society. But still, the lower spectrum of most of society does not have computers at their home, or their computer might not be equipped with the latest technologies, which inhibiting their online learning experience.
Many online schools are working to build and update their technical support, so students can attempt to troubleshoot their problems.
- Social Interaction
Developing social skills and emotional skills are essential components of the holistic development of the child. Peer to peer relation is constricted in this environment because of most of the school work by student’s individualized learning.
A child must know the tricks and tips to survive in the real world, which cannot be taught in virtual reality.
- Campus Environment: Extra and Co-curricular Activities
Online schools lack in providing valuable campus resources such as extracurricular and co-curricular clubs and activities that can be both enriching and educational. Most of the students identify their interests while participating in such activities and under such an environment.
Although online schools have managed to gain more credibility over the past few years. There are common misconceptions among the members of society that online school is easier, and employers might not take your degree seriously. However, unlike the general belief, 60% of employers report that they do value an online degree the same as any other traditional degree.
After analyzing all these pros and cons, it can be stated that with effective changes within the regular schooling system, the online school can be just like no education system in the world is perfect, the medium of education is also not perfect. The spectrum of online education is still vague and aims to shine defeating all clouds and conquering all challenges present in its way.