The idea of learning online has taken off in recent years, becoming a
popular and effective way for working professionals to pursue their
education. Nonetheless, there are still many questions when it comes
online education and deciding if it’s
right for you. There is a lot of information out there and it is
important learn the difference between fact and fiction. To help you
get started, we’ve compiled six essential things to know about online
education before making your decision:
New Technologies Have Revolutionized Online Education
Technology has completely reinvented education as a
which is powered by these
advances. The latest generation of technology is focused on
connectivity to enable sharing of information, faster
communication, and the integration of videos and dynamic content.
These technologies drive online education, ensuring that students
receive a rich and diverse learning experience. You can now
participate in face-to-face discussions, engage with multiple
forms of interactive materials, and stay as connected as if they
were in the classroom.
L. Rafael Reif, the President of
MIT, discusses the way technology is transforming online education
in an article for
. He acknowledges that the
landscape of digital learning is still evolving, but argues that,
“online technologies will provide testable conclusions that could
improve teaching methods and strategies for both online and in
Online Programs Are Delivered in Different Ways
The delivery of
programs is as diverse and dynamic as the technologies
that enable them. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are the
platforms through which online students learn. While some LMSs
employ the traditional “blackboard” format—a dashboard where
students access lessons and post assignments—many integrate a range
of interactive content, such as videos, multimedia presentations,
discussion boards, and even social media.
programs are delivered through synchronous content, asynchronous
content, or a combination of both. Asynchronous content is
accessible at any time, such as pre-recorded videos and slide decks.
Synchronous content, on the other hand, entails live sessions where
students need to be present. Both have their merits, and
Learning Solutions magazine offers a breakdown of
Institutionally Accredited Online Programs Matter
An institutionally accredited university is an institution
that meets all of the criteria for quality education set forth by
a regional or national accrediting body. Accrediting agencies
evaluate the merits of a school based on the experience and
knowledge of the faculty, the diversity and rigor of the degrees,
a history of performance, and other factors.
institution with an online program is accredited. Traditionally,
on-campus universities received accreditation, but with the
emergence of online education, it became important for those
institutions with online programs to become accredited as well.
Accreditation is the mark of an institution with an online degree
that meets or exceeds the standards of the accreditor.
US News & World Report
offers some useful advice for
finding out if a program is accredited. Strayer University is
by the Middle States Commission
on Higher Education.
You Are Part of an Online Network of Faculty and Students
If you’re concerned that learning online isolates you from
your classmates or professors, don’t worry. Connectivity is the
emphasis of most cutting-edge
. Through synchronous learning,
you communicate with peers and professors in real-time, and even
the asynchronous components allow you to collaborate with
classmates, seek advice from faculty, and access student support.
Email, video conferencing, discussion boards, and social media
help you really feel like you are a part of your
university—because you are!
Online Degrees Can Fit into Your Life
Online education is designed for the student of the
21st century: a lifelong learner, not restricted to the
confines of a brick-and-mortar classroom, who is immersed in
technology and constantly on the go. Earning your degree online
allows you to
education at your own pace
, without rearranging your entire
life. You do not need to relocate, quit your job, or even enroll
full-time to learn online. These programs are perfect for working
adults seeking to advance their career because they allow you to
continue in your career as you learn.
There are several factors that go into choosing an online degree
program. What’s important is that you decide what’s right
for you based on your own career goals and which options fit easily
into your life. Online education affords you a great deal of
flexibility, and now that you know the basics, you can make an