Virtual learning is recruiting students in hoards because of convenience and cost. The amount of students learning online has skyrocketed since the early 2000s and many universities incorporate virtual education into their long term outlooks. Several virtual learning platforms are free, giving online education more appeal. Although education professionals seem to be keeping the boom under the radar, the future of online education looks promising and lucrative for students.
The idea of virtual learning began before the progression of the internet via businesses looking to train their remote employees. The convenience of the internet made online learning more efficient and businesses were able to hold cyber chats with new employees. Businesses also found virtual learning cut costs as many online schools offer other bonuses – such as free laptops. You can see a selection here: http://www.onlineschoolsthatofferlaptops.org/
Soon, primary and high schools began using the internet for distance learning programs. By 1994, the first higher learning institution had established almost an entire online curriculum. CALCampus of Rhode Island had used computer-assisted learning since its inception in 1982, but with the internet, the institution could offer post-secondary courses. Online education was born. Universities started incorporating online courses into their programs.
Today, an online education provides students with easily accessible learning materials, live or prepared lectures, class discussions, tests and coursework while in class. By 2011, the number of students in online learning had grown to nearly a million.
Top online post-secondary schools in US named
Last year, Affordable Colleges Online produced a list of the top 45 colleges for online learning programs. Fordham University nabbed No. 1 and was noted for its rigorous admission requirements. Fieldwork is required of online students.
Harvard University came in second. Called HarvardX for its online extension program, the institution uses three virtual formats to educate students – video courses, live courses and hybrid courses, which are a combination of physical weekend classes and virtual lectures during semesters. Harvard does not have an exclusive online degree program. Instead, the Ivy League University touts its online education as a method of maximizing one’s education.
Equating online education with below average statistics
America stands alone as ranking near bottom when it comes to the standards of global education. Overall, the US ranks 25 in mathematics out of 34 OECD member countries as relayed by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Many students come up short in science. Nearly a quarter of 15-year-olds can’t tackle daily math equations.
To combat under-education, another take on how academic subjects are presented take place at the Khan Academy, an online phenomenon, which grew from a thank you note. Salman Khan, the academy’s founder, received the note in the form of an email from a grateful viewer. For three years, Khan had been uploading tutoring videos to YouTube. The viewer watched Khan’s videos for a summer and went from struggling in math to an honors student.
The Khan Academy mission is to push free, quality online education for all who want to learn. From students to professionals, Khan Academy educates the global classroom. All students are welcome to learn according to their individual styles. The format is simple. Watch videos covering an array of academic subjects and receive detailed progress reports. The academy allows students to earn badges, however, some require years of study.
Khan is highly regarded for his hours and hours of online instruction. The number of unique visitors to the academy’s site reached six million in one month, and for one year, the total was 45 million. In addition, Khan Academy is used as an online education tool for 20,000 classrooms in 24 languages.
The future of virtual instruction
The 10th annual report in a series regarding online education saw a 9.3 percent growth rate in six years. The report, published in 2013, recorded the total of online students at 6.7 million, but asked if online learning had hit a plateau. Still, institutions surveyed said online learning is critical to long term success overall.
Barriers to online education were also reported. Schools officials noted not all students have the discipline for online instruction. Retention rates were another concern. A third problem is how employers view an online education. Despite concerns, virtual learning continues to garner wonderment from educators who are open to the possibilities it may offer.