Learning doesn’t have to be restricted to the classroom. With some sort of computer and an internet connection, the entire web is at our fingertips. Nearly everyone has the capability to access all sorts of information. With the advent of online education, there are so many resources available on the web that you don’t need to go to a traditional school to be able to learn. You can take a $4,000 university course for $19 on Udemy’s website (with a coupon of course).
Want to create the next Amazon.com? There are plenty of sites on the web that allow for a continuing education no matter one’s schedule and status. Some people say these courses aren’t as useful as traditional courses offered at schools, but some say that online education is the future. So, are these online resources really as valuable as a classroom schooling, though? This article will discuss websites that offer education and what exactly is offered, the dropout rates of these classes and why they are what they are different from traditional course dropout rates, and how effective these courses are in teaching.
Information is everywhere on the web. Very popular resources for learning online are Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy, and Udacity. These sites have thousands of courses and lectures on offer, and for only a fraction of the price of regular schooling tuition with courses on Udemy usually costing around $75. This alone will tip the balance between remote courses and traditional university for many people, as the costs of receiving tutelage continues to rise. These sites have a plethora of info on many different topics, and have been designed to teach. These courses include things like calculus, biology, law, and even coding. Resources like this ensure that you always have access to content that will help you learn about whatever you’re interested in. There is also the option to enroll in with established universities through distance education, where the student is not required to be on-campus. Rather than needing to attend class at a school, you can learn right from your home. The question is, is that an effective way to learn?
A study by an Open University doctoral student, Katy Jordan, includes data on the number of people that complete web-based courses. The results of her study show that, over 29 courses, the average completion rate was a measly 6.8 percent. Some courses have completion rates of only 0.8 percent! While these courses don’t need to be completed for the people taking them to learn anything new from the experience, completion rates are still a good indicator of how well a course fares. They certainly have some value when assessing a course’s success. Obviously these completion rates are much lower than those of actual schools. You can find plenty of Katy’s work here, at her website. Now, why might students be less inclined to finish online courses?
Why is it that online courses aren’t finished? Well, there are a number of possible reasons. Perhaps without human interaction with an instructor, one doesn’t feel so attached to complete a course. Maybe while learning from home there are simply too many distractions that have to be ignored. Or, maybe people just don’t have the drive to complete a course when it is so inexpensive when compared to tuition. Whatever it may be, online courses aren’t completed as much as courses taken in the physical world are. But does this mean they are less effective at actually teaching those who stick with them? Not necessarily.
Researchers from multiple universities have looked into the quality of online courses on an open source platform when compared to traditional schools. By taking students and having them complete an open source introduction to physics course similar to one offered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and testing them before, during, and after the course, they found that indications of substantial retention. Also, by comparing MIT students’ homework performance with the homework performance of the students taking the online course, the latter group was found to be more skilled. The researchers compiled a considerable amount of data on the the subject. Basically, findings showed that courses offered on the web are in fact more potent at teaching than many traditional courses offered. Spectacularly, the findings showed that people who were ill-prepared for the work improved just as much as the students who were. You can read more of the team’s, consisting of Kimberly F. Colvin, John Champaign, Alwina Liu, Qian Zhou, Colin Fredericks, and David E Pritchard, findings here.
Web-based courses really are useful, despite what some experts say. Despite dropout rates that are incredibly high even when compared to physical courses, research has shown that they are wonderful tools for education. With the rising cost of an on-campus education, remote education has the potential to transform the landscape of learning. Online courses are an efficient and flexible way to pursue higher learning when you don’t quite have the time or money for a traditional education experience.