Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Online Education – A Boon?

The other day I was drawn into a conversation about online education. -a very lively argument between two enlightened souls, one of them praising the concept and the other vigorously opposing it. It had to be that way for the discussion to be lively.

This discussion set me thinking. And many factors that I did not even think about on the subject earlier suddenly came to light. I must confess that I am a very strong advocate of quality education. The end is what is important and here the end is when the student is satisfied with the content of the course and the method of coaching. 

Whether it is a boon or a bane, it is a fact that the Online education in the United States takes a growth rateof 21%, exceeding the 2% growth rate in overall college education. This form of education leverages on various factors like the knowledge of industry experts for whom time is at a premium and hence can participate only in online modes like chat and Skype in pre arranged time slots. Online education also allows students to choose from a wide variety of alternatives available. Flexibility on timing, spacing out their sessions and the great advantage of e-learning from home makes online education attractive. Corporate learning is also done online whenever it is convenient. This allows professionals to attend to the regular duties and attend courses during evenings and on holidays. 

Now let us look at the flip side. Is it all hunky dory? I would say no, definitely not, especially when it concerns students, it requires a lot of discipline to stay to a routine when there is no constraint of adhering to a schedule that is structured. It is left to the student to make his own schedule. Is this desirable? Technology advancement notwithstanding, the lack of face to face interaction is definitely a negative factor though the tech savvy will argue that with modern aids like Skype and Video Conferencing, these negative effects are neutralized. There is also a tendency to put off things because one is the master of his or her own time.

Online education is also imparted to small children in school, but I presume this form is resorted to as additional to regular school to take care of specific areas like math and science.

However, I would like to drive home the point that no form of education can be said to be superior to others. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. The success of the choice depends on a host of factors like availability of courses and faculty, the capacity to pay education fees, the time available to the student and the confidence of the student himself on whether he/she will be able to sustain and pursue his course. So like anything else, education also gives you a variety of choices. Chose what suits you best. You are the best judge


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