Advantages of Online Learning


Convenience and flexibility

  1. Schedule Flexibility: In most cases, students can access their course at any time, from anywhere they can log on. This means that parents, working students, and professionals on the move have the option of attending classes no matter their work schedule. They only need a computer and Internet access to take online classes.
  2. Ease of accessibility: Courseware can be accessible for students when needed it. Students can review lectures, discussions, explanations, and comments. Individuals can also share notes with each other to help facilitate community learning.
  3. Range of options: Students may be able to choose from a wider breadth of degree programs.
  4. Students control study time: On-campus courses are typically scheduled in a more rigid format, with shorter classes running 50 minutes, and others running longer. Night classes may last for nearly three hours. One of the benefits of online education is that students do not have to sit for long periods of time. Lessons can be paused when needed, and notes read at will.  

Student enrichment

  1. Chance for interaction: Online courses can be less intimidating than those in the brick-and-mortar classroom setting, and help to increase student interaction. By allowing everyone to have a voice, shared ideas grow more diverse as well. Students also think longer about what they want to say and add their comments when ready. In a traditional classroom, the conversation could have moved past the point where the student may be willing to comment.
  2. Online communications: Instructors are more approachable in this setting. Students feel more comfortable talking openly with their teachers through online chats, emails, and newsgroup discussions. Online correspondence also cuts out having to wait for office hours that may not be convenient for either party.
  3. Time to absorb material: Positive results are reported for students enrolled in online classes, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education: “on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.” Using over 1,000 empirical studies, the DOE found that time was the additive that helped students perform better. The report noted benefits in studies in which online learners spent more time on task than students in the face-to-face condition.

Cost-effective choices

  1. Money saving option: Students save money by not having to physically attend classes. Online courses may help individuals cut down or eliminate costs of transportation, babysitting, and other expenses incurred by attending classes in a traditional setting.
  2. No more expensive textbooks: Some web-based classes may not require physical textbooks, as reading materials may be available either through the school’s own library or its partnerships with e-libraries and other digital publishers. E-textbooks offer substantial savings for students, adding up to hundreds of dollars a year.

Opportunities for convenience, cost-effectiveness, and student enrichment are just some of the variables that have contributed to online learning’s growth. Distance education has gained steam in these areas, and advocates are continuously looking to improve upon these as well as other facets of the experience.

Distance education has come a long way since its beginnings, and current advancements include finding ways to tighten up the perceived shortcomings of e-learning, and new technological developments.


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