The 21st century has witnessed a revolution in various fields and sectors. Of the various sectors, technology stands out. Online education, one of the areas where technology has flourished, has gained popularity just as fast as the desire for higher education has over the past couple of decades. Online learning is recognized and opposed in various parts of the world. This paper takes a stand on why online programs need to be supported across the world.
Online (virtual) education is a convenient and flexible way of acquiring higher education. Unlike the traditional approach to education where the learner has to go to a physical campus, online programs can be pursued by anyone who has access to an internet device from any part of the world with no need to physically visit the institution. For instance, for someone who is in the rural areas and cannot relocate or commute on daily basis to the physical location of the university which is probably located tens or hundreds of miles away, online programs give him the chance to achieve his dream. He can study and take examinations right from the comfort of his living room. This way, one can undertake other activities such as a job, while at the same time studying. In modern days where wireless internet connection is found in most parts of the world, access to virtual learning is greater than in the past.
Online education further proves to be relatively cheaper in comparison to traditional educational approaches. Under traditional university programs, the students are required to pay for textbooks, transportation, institutional facilities such as physical libraries, gyms, swimming pools among other costs that push the cost of university education up. Online education, on its part, charges only for tuition and other obligatory charges. Virtual learning thus presents both the affluent and the poor a chance.
Another argument raised against virtual programs is that unlike traditional classroom study, online learning does not encourage close learner interaction. However, as a counterargument to this, the modern world has embraced the internet and physical contact is not necessary between two parties for productive engagement to occur. For instance, a car buyer does not necessarily have to meet the seller for them to trade.
A further limitation cited in the online learning debate is the mode of communication. In most cases, e-mails, chats, and online discussion groups are the main available options. The limited interpersonal relationship is cited by opponents as a major limitation of online learning. However, by effectively utilizing the available communication channels, one feels just as lively and engaged as the traditional classroom chats and conversations. The emergence of social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook further gives one a chance to engage with classmates more closely. The freedom that virtual programs offer, such as studying at the specific time convenient to the student, provides a great learning environment and a learner can easily pass examinations.
In conclusion, access to education has become a fundamental aspect of human life. Online learning is a feasible, cheaper and convenient way through which individuals in need of higher education can attain their objectives. While a few drawbacks are linked to virtual learning, the quality of education offered is equivalent to that offered in traditional classrooms this it is an effective option for potential students.
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