Have you ever pondered about the sheer growth of online education around the world over these past few months? There has been an exponential growth in the online education industry over the past decade, with a particular emphasis this year due to COVID-19, in which over 1.2 billion students globally are having to switch towards remote learning. There has been a fierce debate amongst individuals over whether online learning is a suitable alternative to the traditional brick and mortar system which we’re all so used to. Personally, I believe that an online education system is very much efficient for certain types of students and will have a larger role in the near future.
Firstly, online student enrollment in the United States has increased year-after-year for the past 14 years in a row. It can be noted that over 30% of current American students have enrolled in at least one online course. Secondly, in a survey conducted by Statistica, 81% of students surveyed agreed that self-paced online learning was helping them to improve their grades. The reduction of unwanted distractions (such as disruptive peers) and the ability of rewinding and rewatching certain parts of recorded lectures (which a student may not initially understand) were some the responses received for the grade increase.
Moreover, online learning tends to be a significantly more environmentally friendly method of studying. A study done by the Open University found that producing and providing online courses can consume up to 90% less energy as well as 85% fewer emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per person when compared with traditional face-to-face learning. Adding on to my previous point, the value of high quality online education has the potential to have significant and phenomenal results in rural and disadvantaged areas where access to a high quality education system may be rather limited. This, in turn, allows good quality education to be accessible to a larger audience of students which, potentially, may allow them to have a more equal educational opportunity alongside their more privileged counterparts. Furthermore, this may motivate students of rural and disadvantaged communities in realizing their full academic potential and allow them to focus towards their education with more enthusiasm.
However, there are some drawbacks with the online education system. The most fundamental of them is the lack of physical human interaction. Human interaction is a skill typically developed as a child grows during their school years and is typically hindered in an online education system. Moreover, certain extracurricular activities such as Physical Education, are simply not as advanced in the virtual learning system when compared to physical school. Moreover, online education isn’t really effective in households with poor internet access. Nonetheless, as the online education system is always evolving, I am sure that these drawbacks will be addressed in the near future, especially as the market and demand grows at this current rate.
Irrevocably, to conclude, I firmly believe that online education will continue to have a pivotal role in the future of the global education system. While it is not a perfect system, it has grown greatly and has improved over the past few years due to it continuously evolving. While this method of learning isn’t suitable for everyone, it will still greatly benefit a great number of students all over the world.