What is online learning and is it for you?
When trying to balance work and family life, the thought of furthering your studies can be daunting. Online learning may be the answer! In this blog we explore online learning as a mode of studying towards a qualification.
Online learning, which is also known as correspondence learning, is a form of education where face-to-face interaction between students and lecturers is limited or sometimes non-existent. Students signed up for an online learning programme typically study from home, instead of physically attending classes at an institution.
This concept is far from new. In fact, according to a team of NASA scientists assembled by Post University, distance learning began as far back as 1892 when the University of Chicago created the first college-level distance learning program. Institutions offering distance learning courses initially relied on the postal system to send students material. Fortunately, improvements in technology now allows instructors to forward resources via email or via a dedicated website.
What makes online learning popular?
Online learning has become popular in South Africa, mainly due to its convenience and affordability. Students can work and study at the same time and since it’s more affordable than class-based education, students are still able to earn a living while studying.
Accessibility is another reason why this form of studying has become so popular over the past few years. Evaluations are carried out by means of written assignments, exams, and portfolios of evidence and study material is delivered to students via the post, courier, or the internet.
To compensate for the lack of physical interaction between students and instructors, academic support is provided through channels such as telephone, email, instant messaging. Some academic institutions offer student support centres for students wanting to attend workshops and tutor sessions.
The advantages of correspondence/online learning education
Probably the main advantage of online learning is that it allows you to plan your studies around your work and home life. There is also no age limit to who can take advantage of online learning but apart from that, the advantages of correspondence education include:
- More students have access to quality education. Disability, family responsibility, and distance are often to blame for students not attending university but since there’s no need to travel anywhere, online learning enables students to study from home.
- It’s more affordable. Students can save money by not travelling to and from campus.
- Students can work and study at the same time. Students are able to study according to their own schedules.
- Students can study at their own pace and won’t be under pressure to keep up with their classmates. They also won’t be held back by slower students and can choose how much time they would like to spend on each section of the course.
- Finally, students will be able to develop valuable skills that will be useful in their personal lives as well. Self-discipline, a sense of responsibility, time management and independent thinking skills are among the skills you will learn via online learning.
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to correspondence/online learning education. For one, the fact that you won’t be able to physically speak to an instructor or lecturer when you have a question. In addition, your interaction with other students will be limited. Online Learning institutions like the IMM Graduate School have put in place online support mechanisms to overcome these issues. These include weekly online sessions with module lecturers and chat forums whereby students can interact. Regardless of these challenges however, the advantages of online learning appear to far outweigh the disadvantages.
Is online learning right for you?
This mode of studying is a great option for those who want to further their studies without disrupting their current schedule and lives.
Online learning will suit you if:
- You have a disability that makes it difficult to travel and get around.
- You have time-consuming personal responsibilities or a young family.
- You live in a remote area far from a campus or other education facility.
- You have good time management skills.
- You can work independently without a lecturer checking up on you.
- You prefer to work on your own, at your own pace, and in the comfort of your own home.
- And you would still like to work while you study.
Online learning isn’t for everyone but if any of the above points apply to you, why not get in touch?
The IMM Graduate School is an online learning institution, allowing you to study from anywhere, with the added benefit of not having to attend classes on a daily basis. With the wide variety of courses and qualifications available at affordable prices, you can study remotely without breaking the bank.
Need more information? Visit the IMM website at www.immgsm.ac.za to submit an enquiry or call us on 0861 466 476 to find out more.