The E-Learning industry has experienced steady gradual growth between the year 2012 and 2018. The US alone recorded an annual growth of 5.30% since 2012.
Research showed that by the year 2018 almost all colleges and universities in the United States had at least one online program.
These programs became even more popular as better infrastructure and technological advancements were realised with Investments reaching up to $500 billion by the end of 2021 will be channelled into the E-Learning industry.
Moreso, the eLearning industry experienced a spike in the number of users as learning institutions were forced to shift education into the virtual spectrum.
This was because governments all across the globe were forced to close down all their learning institutions to curb and control the spread of the infectious disease; covid-19.
As a result learning institutions adopted distance learning almost immediately to perpetuate education.
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The virtual learning system realized several perks but also faced certain challenges.
With no prior training, both instructors and students were forced to quickly adapt to the unfamiliar elements of virtual learning. This for sure left a bad taste in both parties.
For this, we are going to determine whether students and instructors consider online learning much easier than normal traditional class-based learning.
To do this we are going to examine online learning through the following factors.
The difference in workload.
The curriculum followed in online classes is exactly similar to a curriculum followed by on-campus, meaning the workload is almost identical.
In both systems, students are required to interact with their peers and instructors to effectively engage in their coursework as they constantly give back feedback to their instructors.
The only difference in the course work between traditional class studies and online courses is how they are each conducted.
For instance, an in-person student expects to be assessed in an array of ways including test written exams, open-book examinations and presentations.
While an online class student expects to be assessed through open-book examinations, their contribution to class discussions, through written papers and sometimes presentations on video conferencing platforms.
So there is no much difference in the workload between the two systems of learning.
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Since the schedule in online learning is most of the time flexible, individuals enrolled in an online program require better organisation skills to keep up with their course work.
In a traditional classroom, students follow an already predefined schedule and routine and occasionally face consequences if they do not follow them.
This calls for individuals enrolled in online programs to amass a great sense of self-discipline to be able to stick to their schedule and keep up at all times.
It is easy to fall behind in an online program because the inbuilt pressure that is present in traditional classroom setups is absent considering online programs require daily assignments, constant contribution to group discussions and Weekly or bi-weekly deadlines.
Amount of participation.
In online courses and online programs in general participation is a mandatory requirement to attain credits.
The use of written discussion platforms, chat rooms and even messages boards is common in online programs.
Students are expected to give out their views while reading and commenting on what other students have to say.
Instructors go through these discussion platforms and grade each student based on their insight.
This is slightly tedious compared to traditional class-based learning where students who are not vocal or do not like participating in class discussions slip through the cracks.
Also, most online courses operate asynchronously, meaning lectures are pre-recorded and are accessible at any time for students.
However for a student who prefers learning while the teacher is teaching or in group discussions then it becomes slightly difficult for them to study through online platforms.
This proves that the amount of participation required in an online program is slightly more than the one needed in traditional class-based programs.
It is fair to say that online programs and online courses require almost similar effort as traditional class-based education.
If anything, online programs require more self-discipline among students which most of the time is a rare trait.
So to some effect, online learning can be a bit challenging.