With the advancement of technology, the face of learning is changing. People are crossing the threshold of traditional schools and classrooms and opting for online learning these days. Before twenty years people had no idea of virtual classroom but today it is becoming the most popular way of study for learners.
Online learning is mostly becoming popular for adult students and the working professionals. The reason is quite obvious. However, in different countries, online learning is yet to gain the momentum. People are still shying away because they feel that the guidance and the training that one learner can get if he/she opts for traditional learning. But the initial scepticism can be altered radically if students get to know that they will get equal support and advising from online guidance as well.
Benefits of Online Learning
When you are pondering over the idea if you should opt for online learning or not, lets take a look at the benefits that online learning offers:
It is the variety of the available courses that makes online learning popular. It often happens that when you are getting admission at some university you don’t get the subjects as per your choice. Often learners have to compromise with the subject choice because of the limitation of subjects in traditional institutions. However, when you are opting for online courses, you will get a chance to choose from a huge variety. It is the reason why online learning is becoming this popular.
It is the flexible nature of online courses that seems to be lucrative to all the learners. It becomes tough for a learners who are also working professionals to plan their schedule according to the time of traditional classes. But in the case of online learning, it is the convenience and flexibility that attracts the learners most. Now a student can study at the convenient hour of his. Their is no need for him to rush for attending some lecture. Now one can access all the resources, lectures and webinars as per his convenience. Moreover, the resources in online learning is vast. That is why it is easy for all the learners to access at any time.
Another biggest advantage of online learning is the lower cost of education. You may find it unconvincing that the cost of obtaining an online degree is lower than that of a traditional institution, but you cannot ignore the lower associated cost of learning. In the case of traditional learning one has to invest in various resources and text books. However, in the case of online learning, all the resources are available online. A computer and a working internet connection is what that is important to access all the resources.
Perfect Method for Shy and Reticent Students
There are many instances of students shying away from interacting with the class in a traditional classroom teaching. But in the case of online learning, it is the most convenient way for such shy and reticent students to take part in the discussion through chats. Those who don’t feel comfortable in the face to face discussions are often feel comfortable to take part in the group discussion through online.
Development of Student Support System
When we are stressing over the benefits of online learning, we should not ignore that there are still people who feel that traditional classroom guidance is more helpful for the students. For them and to attract more students in online learning it is important to build a strong student support system that will help the learners just like a traditional school. While talking about support system one needs to consider a few factors.
Unique Learning Demand
Due to the unique way of learning, there are many demands of students that needs to be fulfilled. The mode of the study demands time management, self-directed learning, effective communication and collaborative working.
It is often noticed that many students leave their course in the first year of online learning. It indicates towards the fact that the online learning system needs the development of support system that often a traditional campus provides.
As online learning is accessible for all students from every corner of the earth it attracts diverse learners as well. They can be high school graduates, working professionals and adult learners. So, to fulfil their diverse needs development of support system in necessary.
Keeping these factors in mind, California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative (OEI) is deploying a system wide network. This network has the trained community college counsellors on online advising. They have selected Cranium Café SaaS technology to provide equitable counselling and advising for online students.
To answer why such initiative, Bonnie Peters OEI Chief Student Services Officer said, “Effective online counselling and advising are critical components of the OEI’s strategy to expand online course offerings and improve online learning outcomes. Cranium Café’s easy to use software essentially replicates an in-office experience, and is the only technology that can facilitate the intimate, private conversations between students and their counsellors.”
The main challenge in online courses is to connect local counsellor with the online students. “The concerns about privacy, accessibility, and ease of use have all been problems. I am happy that Cranium Café has the full solution!” said Patricia James OEI Executive Director.
Cranium Café is now associated with the 27 pilot colleges to integrate learning management system with their web pages. It is also providing training to the counsellor and advisor on the use of the café.
The institutes outside the pilot have the “buy-in” option that will allow them to purchase Cranium Café technology with the same discount as the pilot colleges.
Patricia James OEI Executive Director puts it aptly, “The philosophy of the OEI is to do what is best for students, and providing online counselling student services is absolutely right thing to do. As we have more students accessing their educational opportunities online, these services will become more necessary to their success and to our own.”
It is needless to say that with such initiative online learners are going to experience some amazing benefits that can make online learning the best choice for all students. We can hope that the initiative of OEI will lead other organisations and institutions to follow so that it can ensure that students get the best education.
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