The idea of taking up learning in an online platform is gaining ground in America faster than anyone thought a few years ago. Elite colleges in America are now beaming lectures to students from across the world. It’s a win-win for both; colleges have access to a vast talent pool from across the world, while students get access to information that was otherwise beyond their reach. Here’s how we think online learning has changed education in America:
The average tuition fee at Harvard University in 1971 was around $2,600. Today, it costs around $43,280. Consider this – healthcare expenses in the United States have increased by around 350 percent since 1985. But the cost of college education has registered a 559 percent increase! Online learning makes higher education affordable and accessible. Students can save money on travel, accommodation, and food. A typical online class may have more than a hundred thousand students as opposed to a traditional class that does not have more than 400 students. An increased audience indirectly translates into a tougher competition between colleges. This, in turn, is beneficial to students by way of lower cost courses.
Online learning allows you to break away from the monolithic lectures that are a hallmark of the traditional learning experience. You can break the lecture into different modules that range from around 8 to 12 minutes with each of these modules explaining a coherent concept. It also allows students to pick and choose a topic that they’d like to pursue individually, depending on their interests or requirements. This isn’t a one size fits all medium, rather a personalized curriculum that gives students the freedom to choose their study material.
Student participation in a typical classroom environment is minimal; they’re there because they have no choice. Teachers have little or no means to assess if students have understood the topic because questions are usually unanswered. But, in online classrooms, students are there by choice. Videos are paused every few minutes to assess the student’s understanding. They cannot progress further into the topic without answering the question.
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