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Mia Williams – The Online Model
Online learning has changed the traditional educational model in a way that makes education more accessible to those all around the world. While there are many benefits to the traditional educational model, online learning opens up a vast array of opportunities to those who do not learn the traditional way.
As the world continues to grow and change, more learning styles are recognized. People that cannot focus in during the time required to sit in a classroom can now find more ways to find focus through learning. Parents that have to work their day around the family schedule now have more opportunities to earn degrees of higher learning without having to drive to and from a brick- and-mortar classroom. Professors, who desire to use alternative methods to teach a concept can now incorporate more types of study within their syllabus. All of this opens up education to more and more people every day.
Having access to a greater variety of teaching methods changes the way that professors teach, which has a great impact on how students learn. Using the online model, professors can link students to different ways of understanding the same type of information. Without being constrained to a block of time, this allows students of all types to explore what works best for them. The traditional model of learning caters more towards the auditory learners rather than the visual and the kinesthetic. In contrast, the online model can cater to all three types of learning, as well as those who learn with short information streams or who can sit and learn a lot of information at one time. This model allows each student to mold their education to their particular learning to their style and for professors to offer those options.
The online educational model also opens up more options to get additional education. In the traditional model, many students were stuck getting an education at the most accessible and closest school building to where they lived life. Under the online model, learners have their choice of schools, instructors, and learning models. Now, each student is able to find the right “fit” for them, rather than having to make themselves “fit” to be able to grow intellectually.
It is easy to say that one type of student will benefit over the other, or that all student benefit. However, I believe that all benefit through the online model. It is not more beneficial for one class of person over another. Whether a part-time professional, or a recent high school graduate, a professor or a full-time student, there will be people that will excel in the traditional model and those that will excel in the emerging online model of education.
Professors who desire to connect with more students and want to offer more variety of learning will benefit without having to be stuck in the constraints of classroom and office hours. Each professor can tailor their class in a certain way, including online or live lectures if they so choose.
The online model also benefits the variety of students in the world. The working professional has the ability to tailor education in a way that works for them. This is beneficial because working hours takes many forms with varying degrees of flexibility, while the traditional model usually has class times during peak professional hours. This puts additional education out of reach of many who are working professionals. The ability to take classes and complete the necessary course work at times that are open to the professional make online learning a great option outside of the traditional model.
The working parent can also find themselves exceling in the same way. A working parent may desire to get additional education so that they can better provide for their family with a promotion or another career. The traditional model likely made this next to impossible for the working parent. The online model allows the working parent to juggle parental and job responsibilities with the time required to get additional education. This opens up doors to the working parent that the traditional model formerly made inaccessible.
The traditional student who just graduated from high school will also benefit. Some may say that the traditional student will benefit the least because the traditional model was made for them. This may be true, however there are many eighteen-year olds that were forced into the traditional model, which was not their learning style, and who were unprepared to be learning in the traditional way on a college campus. These students may not have succeeded. The online model gives this student the option to transition to the traditional model if they choose, or to continue online. Many millennials who are now transitioning to college are more adept at using technology to learn rather than sitting in a classroom for an hour and a half listening to a professor lecture. The online model can be tailored to this student who learns more efficiently using technology.
There will always be fields where learning the traditional model will be the best way. In certain arenas, technology may never defeat the hands-on learning required to efficiently master a subject. This being acknowledged, there are many fields where online learning is just as efficient and possibly more effective for every type of student. The emergence of online education has enhanced all education.