Popularity of Remote Learning: Online Education on Demand
Today, no one is surprised by the concept of online education. The skeptical thoughts concerning the effectiveness of such an educational format went with the wind when numerous perks came to the foreground. Why have online classes displaced the traditional form of education? What was the trigger of such changes? And other related issues are under detailed revision down the line.
Educational Technology: What Is It?
When we speak about modern learning methods, it must be mentioned that there are two relevant concepts. The first refers to a branch of study that investigates, analyzes, and helps to improve the educational materials, methods, and a process in general.
Another issue is the EdTech industry, which presupposes using technology to enhance and support teaching, learning, and educational processes. It encompasses many tools, resources, and strategies to improve educational outcomes and experiences for students and educators.
Educational technology can include hardware devices, such as computers, phones, tablets, and interactive whiteboards, as well as software applications, online platforms, and digital resources. These technologies can be used in various educational settings, including traditional classrooms, online learning environments, and blended learning approaches.
No matter what concept we prioritize, they both aim to leverage the power of technology to create more effective, efficient, and inclusive learning environments, ultimately improving educational outcomes for learners of all ages. Educational technology is an inevitable part of distance learning that is gaining momentum nowadays.
The Definition of Remote Learning Term
At first sight, the main difference between traditional and remote learning is the distance between teacher and student. It is one of the reasons why we call it a distant or remote form of education. But other points differentiate these two learning methods. Both types are aimed at gaining new knowledge and mastering skills under the guidance of tutors and the help of additional learning tools. For receiving knowledge in the remote form, the Internet and gadgets are must-haves, unlike traditional learning, where you may study even without any props (we can recall the ancient methods of education when teachers moved from town to town and shared their experience and knowledge in verbal form).
Online education offers learning online and the ability to participate in all the classes without physical presence. In modern society, COVID-19 gave a push to the heyday of different ways, methods, and tools that enhance remote education. The boosting popularity of video chat programs, educational boards, and platforms encouraged the launching of new startups that became more customized and available for different categories of learners.
Distance Learning Opportunities: What Are They?
You may traditionally ask the question, ‘Why should I prefer e-learning to traditional one?’ Several grounds elevate remote learning, but we do not intend to convince you to change your preferences since each form of education has pros and cons. What do you receive with remote learning?
- Distant learning allows individuals to receive learning experiences and study at their own pace and convenience. Students can access materials and lectures anytime and anywhere, enabling them to create a study schedule that fits their lifestyle. No need to worry that you have missed the classes. You may get the same quality and amount of information and training as your groupmates.
- Ensured access to various courses from different institutions and universities worldwide. It allows learners to choose from a broader range of subjects and pursue their interests without geographical limitations. It is a great opportunity, especially for disabled students and those who cannot afford long-term living abroad.
- Cost-effective: Distant learning often eliminates the need for commuting, accommodation, and other associated costs of attending a physical institution. It makes it a more affordable option for many individuals, as they can save on expenses such as commuting or renting an apartment.
Having electronic devices under their hands, students may gain and improve their knowledge without excessive effort and spending. The new model of learning opens the doors of prestigious colleges and universities for students craving for self-development and professional growth.
Types of Online Education
We used to hear about traditional lectures and practical classes aimed to supply knowledge and master skills. But what about online education? How does it provide students with new information and revise the quality of received knowledge? Let’s have a look at the most popular types of online education.
Blended Learning: Methods and Tools
It is the most related to the traditional education type. It combines formal face-to-face instruction with online learning methods and tools. It aims to create a more flexible and personalized learning experience by integrating the benefits of both in-person and online learning environments.
The blended learning methods usually combine both class-oriented assignments and personalized online tasks. Among the popular ways, you may meet:
- Flipped classroom ― students learn new information online and then discuss it during lesson time.
- Web resources ― use videos, podcasts, simulators, and e-books to deliver content
- Virtual classrooms ― real-time online sessions use video conferencing tools, allowing live interactions, presentations, and group activities.
- Gamification ― application of games-based elements to increase engagement and motivation. It can include quizzes, leaderboards, badges, and rewards.
- Personalized learning tools ― technologies used to tailor the learning experience to individual student’s needs, providing customized content and assisting self-paced
Blended learning brings novelty into the traditional learning process and is full of digital technologies under the supervision of a professional tutor.
Synchronic Online Classes
Such types of classes are pretty similar to the average offline lesson. It presupposes face-to-face communication with the teacher or within the group. The only peculiarity is the distance and application of digital online techniques. During synchronic distance education, students receive the exact scope of information that is usually backed with videos, online presentations, and exercises with automated revisions.
Open E-Learning Courses
This type of remote learning is asynchronous and allows students to access information databases at any suitable time for education. For instance, they may watch a video lecture any time, day and night. Moreover, they may have uninterrupted access to the materials and turn to lessons when revising for exams or searching for the correct answer.
As a rule, such courses have deadlines and require the submission of papers, tests, or coursework. Based on the results and number of completed assignments, students get a certificate reflecting their achievements.
Remote Learning Advantages and Disadvantages
Every type of learning has its advantages and disadvantages, and e-learning is no exception. It has its supporters who take the most from remote forms of education and those who confront changes and find traditional learning the best, especially when speaking about younger learners considering it impossible to teach them writing, for instance, in a distant form.
To decide what is better, it is worth weighing all the pros and cons of virtual learning.
Benefits of Online Education
If you are a constant user of online tools, watch webinars, and adhere to online explanations when finding some topics challenging, there is no need to emphasize the benefits. However, it is necessary to shed light on the benefits of online education for skeptics and newcomers.
- Virtual learning allows students to access educational materials and participate in classes from anywhere. This flexibility benefits students involved in other activities, such as part-time jobs or family responsibilities.
- Diverse Learning Tools. Virtual learning incorporates a variety of online learning resources, multimedia tools, and interactive simulations, which can make the learning process interactive and exciting.
- Personalized Learning. Virtual learning often provides adaptive and customized content, allowing students to learn at their own pace and focus on their needs.
- Accessible Education. Virtual learning breaks down geographical barriers, ensuring access to learning materials for individuals who have grounded reasons not to attend traditional educational institutions. It enables individuals in remote areas or with physical disabilities to access education fully.
As you may see, there are no boundaries for distance learning. Instead, it ensures a positive experience and better outcomes.
Drawbacks of Distance Education
Proponents may see only positive distance learning opportunities and refuse to notice any drawbacks. However, if they are objective, they exist, even though they are not so crucial for the quality of education.
- Lack of face-to-face communication. Virtual learning may lack in-person interaction between students and teachers, resulting in a reduced sense of community, a lack of social development, and the ability to find a common language with peers.
- Technological challenges: Online education challenges may happen due to technical problems like Internet connectivity issues, software glitches, or hardware limitations. It may disrupt the learning experience and obstruct access for some students.
- Self-discipline and motivation. Self-motivation and discipline are must-have traits for students who face problems with time management or find it challenging to stay engaged and focused without the structure of traditional classrooms and physical teacher supervision.
- Limited hands-on experience. Certain subjects, such as sewing, tailoring, and all medical specializations, require practical skills that are difficult to master during digital education.
It’s essential to consider remote learning advantages and disadvantages when evaluating the suitability of virtual learning for individual students and determining the need for a balanced approach that combines virtual and in-person educational experiences.
Can Distant Education Cover All the Learning Styles?
Naturally, the question concerning the quality of e-learning arises after revising all the pros and cons. According to VARK (Visual, Aural, Read, and Kinaesthetic), there are four basic learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. You may notice that it may be enough for one learner to read the information for better comprehension. Others are more focused when they listen to the speaker. In general, the combination and interaction of all the styles may lead to positive results. However, can distant learning ensure qualitative support of all the above-mentioned styles?
- Visual learning. Distance education is rich in visual elements, such as videos, charts, and graphics, even more than traditional learning. You may find and use resources to illustrate the most complex processes and explain to students, for instance, the physical function or structure of the human body in the intersection.
- Auditory learning. Remote education typically includes audio components such as recorded lectures or podcasts, which can satisfy the needs of auditory learners. It is beneficial for language learners who have an opportunity to follow the pronunciation of native speakers and test their auditory skills.
- Reading/writing learning. E-learning is based on written content, such as online textbooks, articles, or explanations, which can benefit reading/writing learners. Search for information in online resources is even simpler since it does not require skimming piles of texts.
- Kinesthetic learning. Some students mistakenly consider this learning style to face the most challenges since it requires hands-on practice. However, thanks to the positive virtual classroom experiences, online simulators, virtual laboratories, and other tools, students can learn how to fly a plane, mix chemicals, or make surgical incisions.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that individuals often have a combination of learning styles, and learners may adapt and develop strategies to make the most of distance education. A blend of virtual and in-person educational approaches can be considered to support all learning styles effectively, allowing for a more holistic and personalized learning experience.
Online Learning Resources: Brief Overview
Many students use online learning resources and do not even notice they are involved in remote learning. Every time you look for information on the Internet or use online dictionaries to translate an unknown word, you use online learning resources.
Of course, the web browser does not limit the list, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the tools available on the Internet to support and enhance the learning process. These resources can contain a wide range of content, such as bright examples.
- E-books and digital textbooks. You may find almost all the electronic versions of textbooks and educational materials that allow you to access and study them anytime and anywhere.
- Video lectures and tutorials. Popular digital education tools that provide recorded video lectures and tutorials, which can be beneficial for visual and auditory learners. These resources can cover various subjects and topics and motivate learners with well-rounded and comprehensive explanations, demonstrations, and examples.
- Interactive simulations and virtual labs. Online learning resources may include interactive simulations and virtual labs that allow you to try hands-on activities and experiments. These resources are crucial for subjects like science, engineering, and computer programming.
- Online courses and MOOCs. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are online courses offered by world-known universities, organizations, or platforms like Coursera that cover a wide range of subjects. You may be in quite a winning position because these courses often include video lectures, quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums to facilitate learning.
You may also participate in discussion forums and online communities, communicate in educational blogs, and surf learning-oriented websites. Numerous learning platforms are available, and the student’s phrase, ‘I did not find this information!’ seems ridiculous due to the variety of online learning resources.
Modern Online Education Trends
Suppose you want to keep up with the times and apply all the modern tools while teaching or learning. In that case, you should remember that searching for new educational technologies is an uninterrupted process. It happens because this industry does not stand still. Exploration of online education trends is time-consuming since the best way to discover all the pros and cons of an educational platform or virtual classroom is to experience all the features yourself.
If you want to know what educational trends are in demand, you may have a look at the most popular ones.
- M-learning. The concept of such learning is using different gadgets and mobile devices with educational, revision, or training aims. It is perfect for remote learning since it offers access to materials at any suitable place or situation. In addition, it is beneficial for busy learners who may study on the go.
- Experiential learning. As we know, we tend to remember only 10% of what we read, 30% of what we see, and 90% of what we say and do. Experiential learning follows this concept and allows learners to gain knowledge from their experience. It may be participation in the project, crafting items, and other immersive activities. For remote classes, the perfect solutions are virtual classroom experiences that are very close to reality.
- Adaptive learning. Adaptive learning ensures personalization of the learning experience based on individual needs and progress. Adaptive learning platforms can dynamically adjust content to the level of knowledge and skills by using data analytics and algorithms. It gives better results since it is possible to trace the progress even during distant learning.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): VR and AR technologies are increasingly used in online education and aim to create immersive and interactive learning experiences. They can simulate real-world scenarios, provide virtual field trips, and offer hands-on training in various subjects, improving understanding levels.
The trends of today’s education are targeted at accessibility, enhancement, and integration of educational elements into every sphere of entertainment and study. They do not impose learning compulsorily. Instead, all these online education trends make students obtain and assimilate new knowledge in a game-like and relaxing manner.
Online Education Challenges: What Are They?
Except for skeptics who do not support distance learning, it may also face numerous challenges that hamper its development and agile implementation in educational systems worldwide.
So, what hurdles are on the way to the impeccable remote learning process?
- Not all learners may force themselves to attend online classes regularly, do all the assignments, and follow the educational plan if it is not a compulsory educational system.
- Variety of distractions. Being at school or college at the lesson allows you to concentrate better than in a crowded place when doing assignments on your phone.
- Pedagogical adaptation. Educators need to adapt their teaching methods and instructions to engage students in an online setting effectively.
- Absence of tech facilities. Not all students have powerful gadgets, stable Internet connections, and other techniques like VR glasses to access online classes
- Time management problems. Prioritization of distant classes over leisure or other activities may become an online education challenge for students who have difficulties with wise time organization.
If you are going to shift to blended or online learning, you pay attention to the possible pitfalls that can interfere with qualitative and efficient education. So, eliminate all the issues that may prevent you from gaining new knowledge and skills if you want to reach positive outcomes.
Is Digital Education at the Same Level as Traditional One?
Both digital education and traditional one have a similar aim: to educate learners. But they carry out this mission using different methods and tools. If you have a storing wish to learn something new, today, it is not a problem since most students have limitless access to information. Some individuals mistakenly consider that online classes do not ensure high standards of education because not all institutions issue diplomas and certificates that are officially recognized.
At the same time, the presence of a degree from a state university is not a guarantee of profound knowledge and perfect skills. If you strive for self-development and education, you need to decide whether digital education suits you and whether there are no obstacles that may interfere. Be sure that the quality of remote learning, in combination with modern tools and technologies, may exceed your expectations and pleasantly surprise you.
Virtual Learning Summary
You may meet virtual learning offered on social media, TV, and other resources. It happens because this trend is in demand. There are more and more busy people who crave self-improvement and development, and it is excellent! So, why not make the educational process different from dull reading and writing tasks and bring a note of entertainment and excitement? Remote learning is the right way. You must find the tool and method suitable for your lifestyle and learning. Effective education with pleasure is not a myth!