What Makes Online Education a Credible Medium?

online-learningEditor’s note: This is a guest post by Karen Falgore of Liberty University responding to some common criticisms of online education and explaining the benefits.

Online education is becoming increasingly common. It was once the domain of people looking to change careers or enhance the learning that they already possessed in one field. However, as its popularity grows, many people are going straight from high school into online colleges. In fact, many people are even finishing high school in this online format.

This has not come about without significant criticism from a range of individuals and educational institutions around the country. Many people see online education as insignificant and nothing compared to a real education in brick and mortar schools. In particular they complain that these educational venues lack the social interaction and opportunities to question that invigorate a typical education. There are many reasons to doubt and deny these criticisms. What makes online education a credible medium?

• The material promoters of online education point out that the written materials used for many online classes are equal to the materials used in on-campus classes. In fact, they are often better because students who access their classes through computers often enhance their interactions with written materials with interactive software.

For example, a student taking biology can do much more than read about the internal organs of the human body and view a few pictures. Modern software makes it easy to digitally manipulate the body and the organs on screen while students read. This allows them to get a better understanding of the material that is not simply based on the hope that they can comprehend everything through the written or spoken world alone.

• No Wasted Time

The greatest relief for many students entering into online education after a childhood in the classroom is the opportunity to avoid time wasted in classrooms. Students make great swaths of time available to attend classes and often lose a great deal more in transportation before sitting in classrooms waiting for teachers to impart information. Often, this information is little different than that available in textbooks. Yet students have to make severe sacrifices and surrender parts of their day to attend these meetings.

• It Works for Busy People

The people that should truly be valued in any line of work are those that are already busy excelling in some other line of work. Yet these are often the people who do not have the time to study and attend classes. By removing the element of time that is lost in attending campus classroom, the educational world makes it possible for the finest individuals in any line of work to augment their learning or switch to other careers where their skills will also be needed. There are many other reasons why online education makes sense in today’s world. The fast pace of daily life no longer permits people to dedicate so much time to the conditions of an educational campus. Furthermore, as everything else has become more individualized, it makes sense that education would also become something that each person could tailor to his or her own needs.

About the Author: Karen Falgore is an Online Ambassador for Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world.  A native of Virginia, Karen revels in the state’s history and spends time exploring its many national and state parks.  For more information about Liberty Online please click here.     

photo credit: jaylopez


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