September 25, 2020

What Is The Difference Between Online Learning And Online Education

What Is The Difference Between Online Learning And Online Education

The COVID-19 crisis has taught us all a lesson that, if implemented properly, the knowledge can also be gained from online education effectively and successfully. Due to the deficiency of schools that limited their operations or even closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, many students switched to eLearning platforms for online education. There is an abundance of learning resources all over the internet now.

It might sound a little perky, but there is a very bright future for online learning platforms. In today’s reality, the number of people buying smartphones with an Internet connection multiplies by the minute. The demand that people have towards learning online grows rapidly too. Of course, another good reason is the COVID-19 crisis, which is going on for quite a while now. Economic downfall forces many people to switch to online learning platforms because that way they can pay less for education and study on the go juggling between work and classes. However, there is still a question remaining to some who wonder what difference between online learning and online education really is.

Now, let’s go deeper into the subject and talk more about the phenomena of online learning and online education.

What is online education

Online education is usually about everything that deals with learning on the Internet. Like online classes, which can be live or recorded, tests conducted online for practice and digital study material. However, the digitally available study material isn’t always convenient, so most institutes nowadays provide printed study materials. If you omit this aspect, it becomes clear that online learning is a pretty similar process to educational approaches offered through the Internet.

Online learning platforms offer a flexible system allowing learners to sign up for classes and use online learning resources either in real-time with the instructor 1-1, or watch and listen to recorded lectures or “how to do” videos. Once you select 1-1 consultations, you’ll get login information to sign in to a digital classroom that has been set up on virtual platforms and start receiving consultations in real-time settings.

Attending online live classes is as simple as attending real classes. Even better since the instructor’s own screen is shared with students, which makes it possible to just type in a query for the instructor to attend to it.

When did online education start

Learning History Timeline Facts Concept

Before we move on further, let’s talk some history of online education. Here are some facts about how it all started and where. You’ll see how initial initiatives evolved into much broader processes ending up with something called “online learning”.

Surprisingly enough, but the actual idea of learning remotely has a much older history than most people think. It started almost 200 ago during the 1800s in the United Kingdom. The initial idea of teaching remotely was generated by Isaac Pitman, who used to teach a correspondence course back then to a wide number of students. At some point, he started exchanging his tests and learning exercises by mail with his pupils back and forth.

In 1924 was marked with the invention of the testing machine for pupils so they’ll get a chance to test themselves. Then the teaching machine was created by a professor from Harvard and utilized for providing learning programs to kids in schools. Both inventions were used until the 1960s. The wild 60s had lots of transformations in all areas of social life including the area of education. During this period the first computers came introducing computer-based learning.

The 1980s introduced the first MAC  which led to the spectacular growth of online educational approaches. Since MAC computers came to almost every family. So, people started to access learning from their homes.

The history of online education Grinfer

Here are more facts about online education and how it evolved over time:

1960 –  the University of Illinois provides general access to all its students for getting study materials distantly. After this initiative had enormous positive feedback from students, it was shaped into a program PLATO (or Programmed Logic for Testing Operations). Basically, this program can be recognized as a prototype of the Internet and online networks that we have and use today.

In 1984, the network called “Electronic University” was launched supporting online teaching at universities. This delivered the very first course that was entirely taught online a little later in 1986.

In 1994, lots of providers offered massive use of the Internet. The Internet became available to the general public on a global scale. The computer-assisted Learning Center built and delivered online learning in real-time settings during this time.

In 2002, the Institute of Technology in Massachusetts launched an OpenCourseWare project. Because of this project, online lectures and courses became available all over the world for everybody for free.

By the year 2009 millions of people already took courses online. Online learning was recognized and accredited by traditional universities, which started to build their own degree online programs.

The period of 2019-2020 is marked by a huge splash in the popularity of eLearning platforms caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Now users can search for online courses on any topic or level of age or education.

Pros & cons of e-learning

Getting an education online is great but, like anything, every process has the other side, which can be not as bright. No doubts, the benefits of online learning definitely outweigh the disadvantages. However, let’s talk about both – goods and bads of eLearning.

First, we’ll start with the benefits and then cover the main disadvantages.

Benefits of online learning:

Getting an education online will provide you with a much lower cost for tuition compared to brick-and-mortar colleges. Let’s be honest, personal income is a #1 priority to most people during these vulnerable times of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, students are also trying to find any opportunity for saving a little bit of money and we can’t blame them for this. Lots of them take online courses to lower the cost and pay less.

Instant access to eLearning platforms from any location with a stable Internet connection. Online learning platforms let you travel and keep up with your studies at the same time since online courses can be taken virtually literally from any place or location with the Internet.

Wise time management without the need to travel to the university campus and back. If you need to drive to the campus every day, it can be a pain if you have car troubles. Everyone can get a headache at some point while getting really low on money but still need to fuel a car with gas to be on time for class. But if you take online classes, just turn your device on and log in to the online platform that you use for studies. Start learning with no headaches! By managing everything on the Internet, you’ll stay up-to-date instantly and always meet your deadlines.

Managing your scheduling with flexibility. Arranging your own scheduler according to your personal time and taking classes whenever convenient to you is certainly beneficial. Picking the most convenient hours during which you can take classes online without postponing your other projects is awesome. It will let you attend your day job with no problem. No more stressing out over time frames. And having less stress in life is great.

Online learning has semesters that are shorter in length. Working on your degree with an online accredited program? Now it is possible to complete studies faster since you can enroll in an 8-week semester now, instead of having to spend 16 weeks attending classes. That way there won’t be this big gap in time during which most students have to wait until another semester starts.

Disadvantages of online learning:

Teacher is sitting at the table in classroom

Working remotely and being on your own. This style of learning demands keeping yourself motivated the whole time during the process. Since you’ll be accessing all your learning on the Internet, you’re the one who is responsible pretty much for everything. Which means – keeping a good track of deadlines, assignments, new classes coming up, contacts, feedback, reassignments, etc. So, to be more efficient, use your iPhone or any other smartphone for keeping track of everything. Check whether there are any mobile applications available to students like yourself.

No actual practical training. In case there is a need of getting hands-on special equipment or gear, you won’t be able to get practical training. Since some professions require practical training, this can not be acquired through the Internet. Looking into blended courses (or so-called “hybrid”) might be a good solution to your problem. Hybrid courses offer both – training which is conducted online and mixed with in-personal training.

Getting the impression that you sit at your computer workstation for too long. Working at the computer usually means no real face-to-face interactions and live communications with real people. 

Online learning is effective, but the problem is that it can’t fully imitate interaction with other people like you have in your daily life. If developing relationships with other people is something that you value very much among other things, then an online environment might be quite an ordeal to you. You can start feeling that you miss out on engaging in natural conversations and get bored without interacting spontaneously with others.

Why does online education work

Businesswoman sitting at table in cafe in front of laptop with inscription on screen e-learning GRINFER

As it’s been mentioned above, online education offers not only cheaper tuition fees and more flexibility in time management. But the main reason why online education works is in providing lots of opportunities for professional growth. Let’s face it, juggling between work and studies is beyond difficult. So, lots of people quit fostering their dream of learning something new, even if they really wanted to do this for a long time. Since with online education you can take classes whenever is convenient personally to you, this flexibility is able to contribute to your level of ambitions and boost it really high.

Today’s careers market has a demand for lots of entry-level jobs. These kinds of jobs actually don’t ask for a knowledge-base and skill set that one gets with a Bachelor’s degree received from a traditional university. Employers get such a massive number of applicants that they use the degree just as a filter in order to cut down the applicant pool to a more manageable number. For these jobs, an online degree will work just as well as one earned on campus. 

Of course, online degrees won’t open the door to some plum jobs where the employers are only interested in the graduates of elite colleges. However, as recognition of online education only keeps growing, so do career opportunities.

What is the difference between online learning and online education

The only difference between online learning and online education would be in the quality of learning opportunities which varies per major. For example, if you take something like Business or History for which most of it can be taught in class online, there is something like Molecular Biology. For this kind of science education, extensive lab experience is needed which is only available on campus.

Online learning is still considered a relatively new approach to education. But it has already been around for long enough for being recognized by many excellent universities.

Here is a quick list of things you’ll be also dealing with while attending online education:
  • Glitchy software. The software must become as seamless as possible. Because the apps lack something that makes them unable to record a comment or hear a video or even locate what they are instructed to find.
  • Customer service. Having the best customer service in dealing with any problem is crucial for the good performance of online education after all.  Not to mention great instructions online on how to use their software should be provided. Good support with answering emails right away and giving practical advice to students whenever is needed should be provided.
  • Online education that works well for instructors. Many instructors go into online teaching as they think it makes them competitive. Then they realize they are taking on 30% to 40% more work than their in-class teaching peers. Many leave as they don’t see the point.
  • Different tools and devices. Being tech-savvy just isn’t enough. It is teaching, it is creating community, it is developing assignments that fit the medium without ignoring the quality of the course. Just as some students don’t belong in online classes, some instructors need to avoid it as well or make the mental adjustment. Some instructors turn online teaching into a correspondence course exchanging emails and assignments. Not everyone can show that they read books through other means: videos, online tests, charts, presentations. So, learning different tools is important here.

Bottom line

All in all, if you are truly committed, studying online is an excellent way to learn how to plan, prioritize, and manage tasks. You will strengthen your written communication skills no matter what subject you study, simply because you will be relying on them to interact with professors and fellow students. With the right school, the right program, and the right learning platform, it can absolutely be worth it to learn online.

Learn Online with Grinfer elearning platform

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