While this infographic covers the ‘Profile of an online student‘ the stats that interested me the most are those below, about why they chose to study online:
- Lower costs
- Study anywhere, any time
- “Earn while you Learn”
- Accelerated learning
I think what surprises me is that there is no mention of anything like “the online course was the one I wanted” or “I wanted to learn online”. This is certainly the case for me – I’m looking at a Masters course, possibly for next year, and the only way I can fit this around my job and family is to use my evenings to study, therefore it’s an online course for me (not to mention great experience if I am to support online learning!).
Other stats in the full infographic highlight that online learning isn’t perfect, that still has room to grow and mature, citing:
- Lack of face-to-face contact with instructors – not really the fault of the learning though, this could be handled with an appropriate inclusion of Skype or other chat facility (Discussion Boards?) to cover the perceived lack of contact time.
- Inconsistent communications – again, not a fault of the learning but a shortcoming in the organisational ability of the team?
- Lack of internal motivation – again, not the learning or learning materials at fault. Is this student on the right course, could the Institution do something to flag this behaviour and assign some support?
- More difficult than attending a classroom – for some, maybe. For others, maybe not. There are some who flourish online as they can overcome inhibitions and lack of confidence they may feel in a group environment – online they can be someone else and achieve a level of confidence they don’t have in a face-to-face environment.