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Education Alternatives: Giving Your Student Every Option
Getting your student ready for college takes dedication. It means helping them study and encouraging them in their education process. But it goes beyond just making sure that they're academically fit and intellectually mature enough for college. It's important that your student makes an informed decision about how he is accessing post-secondary education and that means examining all his options. Online education has been an excellent alternative for adults that want to fit education into a busy work schedule. But the benefits of online learning go far beyond convenience and flexibility. Recent studies point to better education outcomes for students pursuing an online degree versus what their peers can expect in a traditional classroom. And a growing number of university presidents view online education as an option that equals traditional classroom learning in terms of quality.
Online Learning Entering the Mainstream
A recent Pew Research Center survey asked university presidents a series of questions aimed at measuring attitudes toward online classes. More than half of them responded by saying that online learning provided the same quality as traditional college classes. And over three quarters of the same college presidents reported that their universities were beginning to offer online learning options to their students. But online education has more to offer than just increased approval ratings and educator endorsement. Online learning is entering the mainstream, and there is a lot more behind its popularity than a Pew poll can measure. The Department of Education has weighed in with an in-depth study which may result in a new way of viewing the efficacy of online classes.
Boosting Academic Performance
The U.S. Department of Education conducted a systematic evaluation of more than a thousand empirical studies conducted between 1996 and 2008. The results were telling. After measuring all the results, the conclusion they reached was that "on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction." That raises an interesting prospect for students who are looking at all their college options. If academically inclined students want to make education decisions based at least in part on better learning outcomes, online universities can become a vehicle for increased academic success.
Why Do Online Classes Increase Performance?
It's an intriguing question. If more than a thousand empirical studies all point to the same trend, it's worth examining why it's happening. Part of it may be due to the dramatically different dynamic in the learning process. It's a fairly common phenomenon for students in a classroom environment to disengage and become passive recipients of information. The problem with passivity is that it doesn’t promote knowledge retention or stimulate multiple sensory receptors. An online learning environment works differently. Students engage with study materials in a dynamic way that places them in a participatory role. Becoming actively involved in their educational process may be a big factor in boosting knowledge retention.
But beyond participation, online learning offers multiple methods of engagement. Not every student learns with the same method. Online materials offer multiple paths to the same information. If a student learns better with visual information, that avenue is available. Audio learners can choose a delivery mechanism that's tailored to their needs as well. And students can use all of these options as a way to refresh and reinforce the knowledge once they've acquired it. Online learning may be an excellent option for your student. Taking time to help them explore the possibilities of a virtual classroom may result in an informed decision resulting in an excellent education choice.