The propagation of the internet has initiated an upward trend in the provision of online courses in the United States. Numerous educational institutions are offering online programs in courses with high demand, notably the Information Systems.
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Among the various business forces that enhance the transition from traditional education to online learning are their affordability, accessibility, effectiveness, and the interaction they offers to their participants.
Essentially, 90% of learning entails information transfer from the instructor to the students. The speed of information transfer at any time and anywhere through the internet makes online learning relatively cheap compared to the traditional education system.
Latest reports suggest that since 1998, the costs of traditional education in the United States have been soaring at an alarming rate of 5% per annum. However, online learning is exerting downward pressure on these prices. For instance, one community college in Arizona is offering online courses at an affordable cost of $32/credit hour for in-state populace and $67/credit hour for out of state students.
Fast acquisition of educational information by students through the internet reduces the time frame for course completion thereby reducing the cost of learning. For example, Officials at University Online Publishing have revealed that online learning reduces the usual 16-week college course to eight weeks making it affordable (Raymond, 2010).
The effectiveness of online learning measured by the satisfaction of the learners has influenced the transition from traditional education system tremendously. In many cases, the traditional classroom environment is depicted as teacher centered rather than student centered.
The instructor is portrayed as mind numbing lecturer who drones on while the learners sit nonchalantly trying to grasp adequate information for the examination purposes only (Markel, 2004). On the other hand, online learning is acknowledged to be more students centered, collaborative, and provides a democratic learning setting.
Students become self motivated and are able to choose learning activities according to their abilities, interests, and careers. The instructors cease from being lecturers, oracles, and information transmitters to being mentors, facilitators, and guides.
Moreover, online learning provides the students with an opportunity to focus extra time and attention on precise content areas thus making it more effective than the traditional system where emphasis on various modules or units of a course are at the instructor’s discretion(Raymond, 2010).
In any learning experience, interaction between the participants is a major component and has become the most persistent construct in distance education. Online learning offers the aspect of interaction that is lacking in the previous system, hence its rapid transition.
The interaction through emails, bulletin boards and chat rooms has done away with the place and time barriers between physically distant learners and their tutors (Raymond, 2010). This interaction has helped reestablish the classroom setting and permitted students to learn in their convenient time and place.
E-learning is also eliminating isolation, advocating for unanticipated encounters and providing intellectual swap valuable to all (Raymond, 2010). In fact, learners through e-learning are able to obtain individual and instant response from both their peers and instructors.
Online learning is evidently more advantageous and is being recognized as a suitable education system. This has lead to an extremely rapid transition from the traditional educational system. In fact, recent data indicate that part time learners in higher education supersede the number of full time students (Raymond, 2010).
Raymond, K. (2010). Quality and Effectiveness of eLearning: Learning-on-Demand Program (LoD). New York: McGraw-Hill