With the rapid development of education technology comes great tools for engaging both teachers and learners, but one area that isn’t quite as prevalent as one might expect is online learning. Sure, there certainly isn’t a shortage of the option to pursue studies purely through your tablet or laptop, with even a course in theatre studies now available, but when we talk about returning to education, our first thought is still the four walls of a traditional classroom or lecture hall. The truth is, there are many benefits to pursuing further study through the four sides of a screen instead!
For example, online learning courses can offer an affordable way for students to access learning without racking up thousands of pounds of debt. The fee increases in 2012 meant in some cases, students were paying over three times as much per year, increasing from just over £3,000 a year in 2011 to £10,000. Earlier this year, the University of London introduced a three year undergraduate degree course to be taught entirely online at a cost of £5,650 per year. The prime minister’s review of tuition fee encourages more affordable ways to study, and this is certainly an option to do this.
There’s also added flexibility that comes with studying online, allowing students to work alongside their studies to build practical experience, or fitting in around big lifestyle changes, such as becoming a parent or carer. UK universities are already seeing the increased demand in online learning courses, and since 2011 the numbers of American students studying at UK universities entirely via online degrees has increased by 26%.
Finally, by offering both a flexible and cost-effective approach to learning, online courses can reach a more diverse range of students from different backgrounds and in different stages of their career, making it a more inclusive environment. In fact, when Aleppo’s university was hit, Syrian students were able to continue with their studies through University of the People’s services. Ultimately, online learning courses can give people the chance to study even when life creates obstacles. And everyone deserves the chance to learn!