How Does Online Learning Compare To Other Modes

Q: With online learning hitting a whole new level and many massive open online courses (MOOCs) at major universities, how does it stack up against the other modes of education?

Despite the seemingly binary belief that college or university is always better than any other time of the year, the issue of affordability and flexibility is a huge concern for students and parents. A recent Pew Research Center study highlights this as more than 40 percent of Americans feel that higher education is expensive and “too hard to get into.” Meanwhile, a majority of college students and college graduates still feel that they need to get a degree to get ahead financially. With that being said, there is an increasingly large cohort of adults who are working without a degree. “Those without high school diplomas without children tend to work part-time while studying—80 percent of them compared to 59 percent of their counterparts with a high school diploma,” according to Pew Research Center.

In addition to balancing this valuable issue with being able to attend an online college or university, students often need to find the time to study. This is a large challenge for people of all ages, and online learning provides them with various ways to study and prepare for class. It is easy to gain access to the materials that you need when studying on your laptop at home or when commuting to work by car. If you happen to be a small business owner, you can even set up your own business research or computing center—something that could take a full month to set up for people who are used to having the advantages of using their office for business purposes.

In addition to the materials you can access on a daily basis to prepare for class, it’s also easy to take online classes and save on tuition. We had the chance to speak with Maria Mancini, who graduated from Dellano University in September 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Nursing and did not complete her education by attending university.

While she was able to attend a majority of her classes online, she did have the opportunity to attend lectures at one campus to give her perspective in each of the courses.

Maria used the resources available on her laptop and listed some other favorite benefits to online learning.

1. Accessing the materials I needed: Any time I wanted to study, I could do so using the material available on my laptop. Even if I needed to prepare for a test, I could easily access this information during the day and take the test at night after dinner.

2. Accessing the resources I needed: Besides obtaining information from the internet, I also used other tools that were available. I could consult other articles and resources that I found via Google Scholar. My professor, for example, would sometimes email the lecture the night before.

3. Taking tests and assignments in a timely manner: Sometimes, I needed to take the two classes that I had the option to take. My teachers would email and send me the test via email after I took the test, which helped me finish and score the assignment faster. Also, I got a copy of the assignment before I started taking the test. I was able to take the test before the deadline and receive it back later.

4. Accessing the information I needed: Throughout my studies, I had the opportunity to meet with the instructor. We would meet on a Thursday night, and it was great to hear from them before class began. For other times, the professor would write a session on an executive summary in one of my textbooks, so I would just receive the chapter or chapter summary the night before the conference and read it when I arrived at class the next day.

Maria graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Nursing and plans to stay in the online learning space working for hospitals and nursing home care. She gave a big recommendation for taking online courses:

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