Why Online Learning Is The Next Trend In Education? Online learning is a trend that has been on a rise in recent years!

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Increasing Trends of Online Learning and Its Success Factors

"The global growth in online learning in covid-19 increased rapidly, it is top new trends in online education for the future and its assumed that elearning trends: online education as the future of learning and it will be a the most important trends in online education."

Modern Education Norms - online learning, hybrid learning or blended learning, traditional learning

Also read:- Understanding of E-Learning

Why does online learning popular among others in Modern Education?

In the wake of Covid-19, many countries had to force shut down of its education institutes and move education programs online in order to facilitate learning and development. Before the advent of this pandemic, institutes were already conducting a form of blended learning and many students were also carrying out some for of distance learning. Therefore, the use of internet and media for teaching and learning purposes was not a new concept for students and teachers to carry out and adhere to.

According to Brittany Gilbert, in her thesis, she defines online learning by quoting US Department of Education as "learning that takes place partially or entirely over the internet" (Gilbert). In another article, online learning has been defined as, "electronically learning including the use of computers, devices, and gadgets" (Mukucha). Thus, online learning removes the barrier of being physically present when acquiring education.

Also read:-  Discover Current Online Learning Trends of Expertsminds!

Types of online based Education supplements and purely online learning

According to research carried out, there are three main types of online learning, hybrid learning or blended learning, traditional learning with online based supplements and purelyonline learning.

According to a research article by Tuan, hybrid learning or hybrid courses contain both elements of learning, online learning and in-class traditional face-to-face learning with varying amount allocated to both types depending upon on the instructor(Nguyen). As per  a research article in International Journal of Education, Technology in Higher Education, the authors have stated that blended learning is regarded by scholars as the 'the new traditional model' (Charles Dziuban)(Research on the Effectiveness of Online Learning).

Traditional learning while using online based supplements is teaching carried out in a traditional way but it uses resources online and extra teaching material online. And lastly online-learning is purely a web-based carried out by the education provider and the student. Teaching is carried out through the internet. According to a report by the US Department of Education, fully online learning is a form of distance learning in which there is teacher-led instruction and resources are available to the student that have been designed in such a way as to teach the student without the availability of an instructor (Marianne Bakia).  An example would be the famous website, Coursera where teaching is purely carried out through an online platform.

As per a study carried out by New Media Consortium Horizon Report in 2017 as quoted by Charles and other authors in their article, it stated that blended learning was the reason behind the adoption of technology in teaching in higher education.  

Expertsminds - World's No 1 e-Learning Platform

Advantages of Online Learning

One of the many reasons for the popularity of online learning is its ability to provide flexibility to students as they can have access to the content whenever they require. It increases the learning of those students who are no able to attend schools due to a difficulty or some other reason and therefore increases the students learning ability as they are able to focus better on the instructions being provided. Many people have cited that online education has enabled them to access learning content not based on any schedule which relieves tension and pressure to be at a specific place at a specific time.

Online-learning is more cost-effective than traditional learning as students do not need to bear costs of travelling such as visa, tickets etc. Many other costs include rental costs, commuting costs, grocery and other expenses as well as the cost of tuition paid by the student. If online-learning can give student the same access to the resources that traditional teaching provides, then why would the student leave their home to study elsewhere. Most top universities offer various distance learning programs, but it depends on the field of education one belongs to. For example, most accounting and finance qualifications, do not require the student to attend face-to-face classes to learn the concepts where as a student who belongs to a medical field will be required to attend face-to-face classes as some aspects of learning would be absent if they were not present. 

Students who find that online learning is better as it is self-regulated have beenfound to be more conducive than other students. In online learning, access to internet has facilitated students to have access to teaching material that is available other than the one being provided online by their own institutes.

As discussed above, the low cost of tuition through online teaching solves many problems for the tuition provider and the government. Through internet, the government can reach areas where there are low socio-economic school districts as well as it counters the problem universities are facing, a low diverse set of students enrolled and the problem of having a low budget allotted by the state.

Success Factors of Online Learning

In a study carried out by Ayebi-Arthur in 2017 in New Zealand, a college that was affected by natural disasters became more determined to offer online-learning to its students and advances in technology helped the college do that (Dhawan). Technology and access to internet is one of the factors required for online learning to be effective. In developing countries, access to internet is not a norm only those that can afford to have an internet connection and medium to use it on are privileged enough to have access. Thus, online learning is a feature for the developed nations or those that have an internet connection in the developing world.

Another key factor is effective self-regulation that is defined by a scholar who quoted Matuga stated that it is an, "ability of students to plan, monitor, and evaluate their own behavior, cognition and learning strategies" (Gilbert). Thus, the ability of the student to keep themselves checked as to their pace of student and to stay motivated to have a steady pace of attending online-classes/ content as required by the distance learning institute is one of the reasons the students are able to succeed in online-learning and gain the required knowledge. Those students who would be willing and determined to gain knowledge will be able to self-regulate their own learning experience. Self-regulation is garnered by motivation, both internal and external motivation which is more present in traditional face-to-face learning than in an online learning environment. Factors such as procrastination, being disorganised and being less motivated are all behavioural aspects that limit the success of online learning.

Another important success factor of online learning is the ability of the institute to construct a successful online course content. As online learning is not the same as traditional face-to-face learning where the teacher can evaluate how well the students are responding to her/his lectures, the institute has to take many factors into account while developing its course content. It needs to be effective at communicating the key concepts while being concise and interesting as well as comprehensive for the student to understand.

According to Lahmann, "communication is what separates true online-learning from web-based tutorials" (Gilbert). The instructor providing online content for learning for its students needs to have good communication skills as interaction between the teacher and the student is limited and the teacher cannot see their own students to whom they are teaching and reaching out to. Online learning has features to increase student to student interaction even if the teacher is not available to attend to students' questions such as discussion forums that prompt students to discuss things that they do not understand about the course content being taught.

According to a research article by Sami Alhomod, Leblanc and wands cited the following three factors to be present in order for online learning to be successful(ALHOMOD):

1.      Organisational Factors: Technological infrastructure and support system in the form of support from family and in case of employees also support from organisation.

2.      General Factors: Principles of learning, learning outcomes and assessment of online learning.

3.      Cognitive Factors: User interface and other such things as presentation of information, user control options etc.

In the survey carried out, online, on the factors that increase a student to opt for online learning instead of traditional learning of attending classes the following results were obtained:

1.    Technology: More than 50% of the students stated that technology was one of the most important factors that was a decision point for opting for online learning. Technology included two elements, internet connection and a device such as a laptop.

2.    Design: This section had three elements. The design of the course content, the design of the online learning portal, the design of the course platform for communication.

More than 40% of the students cited that the design of the learning portal and how the course was presented online was also a determining factor for opting for online learning. Only around 13% of the students stated that course content is also an important criterion.

3.    Support: This section included support from teachers, support from family and support from peers (other students online)

More than 50% of the respondents said that support from family was important as it was one of the motivating factors for learning online.

Only 41% of the respondents said that support from teachers being available was important and 21% stated in the affirmative of the requirement for peer support from students.

4.    Evaluation: This section was about student evaluation regarding their learning concepts. Respondents were required to provide a means and whether it was important to have an evaluation of learning outcomes. Many respondents. More than 60% stated that evaluation of concepts learned was very important and provided suggestions such as online project submission, online quizzes, online tests and online exams to carry out how effective they have been in learning online.

As discussed above, the ability of the student to be motivated to learn online, the ability to have an access to resources to learn online and the design of the courses and its presentation are important factors to consider while considering what are the key elements required to online learning.]

As aforementioned, online learning is a trend that has been on a rise in recent years, but its usage was exacerbated due to corona virus and is seen to be after natural disasters take place. Online learning can be used to digitise traditional learning experience and it can be further improved to cater to the various demands of the students' needs to study and feel motivated to study.

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