Is online education proving to be successful?-MAH_141114_22014_44268

Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

Findings and Analysis. 4

Comparison between the traditional educational system and the online education system.. 4

Interaction. 5

Critical Review of the Current Market for Online Education. 6

Conclusion. 8

References. 9


Educating through online resources may be considered as the contemporary trend that is gradually gaining ground all over the world. This method of online education primarily includes the delivery of educational information using the internet in the place of a physical classroom. This kind of education mainly ranges from online learning to structured programs including awards, assessment etc. This article tends to explore the key issues in online education including the working of the online education system, the current market on online education and a general overview of the entire scenario.

Dr. Stella Thompson, an online Assistant Professor of English at the Prairie View A&M University had stated that online education encourages self-directed learning helping students to assist themselves in the process of learning. Christopher Hill describes online education as a forum where a totally fresh set of variables come into the forefront. He explains that this whole idea is quite similar to driving in a foreign nation where one knows the basics of driving but takes time to get accustomed to the new rules and signs of the country (Online education: perspectives on a new environment, 1990).

One of the best features of online education is that it gives an equal platform for the students to perform where no person has the louder of better say. It is especially beneficial for the students who suffer from lower confidence level. Such students usually tend to choose such a place where they are not physically present in front of a huge crowd. It is usually observed that students who opt for online education communicate better and regularly with other students than those who undergo the traditional way of education. The reason behind this is that it is easier to approach students who are online rather than those who are sitting beside them. There are online classes that distribute marks in accordance with the individual performance since this is considered to be essential for the students’ general performance in the given subject.

Findings and Analysis

There are huge benefits of online education. This kind of an education is encouraged mainly to make the life of the students easier. Students have the opportunity to log in, work on various assignments and work according to their own convenient schedules. Students need not quit jobs to attend colleges or spend hours in travelling to distant universities to educate themselves. It allows them to learn in their own pace and earn degrees in comparatively lesser time.

As we can observe that there is a drastic growth in this style of education, question can be raised that what led to this rapid increase in this system of education. There are two specifically significant factors that led to this growth (Brown, 1996). Firstly, the expansion in the market pertaining to the degree programs in order to reach the emerging population of students and secondly varying demographics of the students who pursue higher education.

One of the biggest hurdles in the advancement of any educational program is reaching out to more and more number of students in order to make the program financially viable. Till very recently, college campuses have been static and the students are required to travel to them for the purposes of education. Here the advantage of the online universities arrives where the universities go to the students. With the expansion of the geographical limits the educational institutions get an opportunity to increase its proposed addressees. Traditional educational institutions cannot increase their student base in an unlimited manner as it will lead to accommodation problems.

Comparison between the traditional educational system and the online education system

Various scholars have researched on the online education system prevailing around the globe. Some believe that this web based education has changed the entire teaching environment. Researchers who favor this technology say that this sort of education can be effectual in removing possible barriers and also provide increased expediency, elasticity, modified learning, and response over a traditional university (Hackbart, 1996). However there are research scholars who oppose this method of education and state that this kind of education leads to the isolation of the students (Brown, 1996). Some of them also claim that the interest of the students in the subject also decreases (Maki et al., 2000).


Another very essential criterion that should be noted is the importance of interaction between the students and the teachers and in between the students. While learning it is obvious that the students will have ample amount of queries, agree or disagree with a certain point, render opinion in matters pertaining to the subject and in such cases it is important that they are guided by the teachers or instructors.

There are research scholars who suggest that in case of online education interaction provides for student learning, support extensive student participation, and leads to more thorough and logical discussions rather than a traditional classroom setup does (Karayan and Crowe, 1997).

Figure: Representing the interaction between online education and traditional education.

Source: (Anon, 2014)

The table above shows the interaction taking place between online education and traditional education. In cases of online education we find that the discussions taking place are permanent compared to the impermanent discussions that take place in case of traditional education system. On the other hand, the control of the instructors is more in cases of traditional universities rather than in online courses. Also, there are lesser anxieties, more participation for students involving themselves in online courses as compared to their counterparts engaging in traditional universities. Further, regarding feedback also online courses are advantageous as there are permanent records of the feedbacks received by the students that is detailed and focused on the respective topics.

The working of the online education commences with the admission of the students in the online degrees offered by the university. Subsequently, the students’ signing up for the processes and registration takes place. The students then have to log on to the internet and begin the classes where they can read assignments, come up with queries, receive feedback from the teachers. There are few courses which offer chat room discussions for the students to improve interactions between the fellow students. They are also offered coursework for home, projects and analyzed through proper tests. It is also noted that in online education the level of internet knowledge differs with every type of course. Hence the necessities required for online education varies with the given circumstances.

Critical Review of the Current Market for Online Education

In the last decade the world has witnessed a spectacular increase in the online degree programmes in various universities and online colleges and universities looming the future of the traditional universities. In order to analyze the current situation and future existence of the online education system it is essential to research on the present market trend of online education.

Initially the online education system has struggled a lot in order to find a foothold in the world of traditional universities and academic surroundings. The fact that this concept was widely different from the normal campus based education, questions were raised as to proper support can be offered to the students and how their merits can be judged. Most do not find this method of teaching suitable. Usually the problems lie in studying at home or in motivating themselves. United Kingdom is gradually catching up this trend of online education as it is found that some of the leading universities are finally responding to the increasing demand for making their study programs online. Even in the United States online education is slowly becoming conventional.

Research based on online education trends state that millions of students were taking up one online courses and every year there is an increase of 12% in the number of students.  This 12.9 percent growth rate for online enrollments is said to have exceeded the 1.2 percent growth of the overall student population engaging in higher education.

Most of the students who are opting for online education are as new as this system of education. There is said to be an estimated 33% increase in the yearly growth of students and the majority of them are new students. That however, is the primary aim for increasing enrollments in the academic programs (Bocchi, Eastman and Swift, 2004).

Technology is evidently a primary factor in the field of online education. Since without proper internet access and workable computers it is absolutely impossible for the students to access online resources or databases, work on assignments etc. One thing that needs to be remembered while structuring any online courses is that technology facilitates the online education process it is not the outcome of the process (Ascough, 2002).

Technically, access to the internet is gradually increasing and so online education is also finding an extensive market. Research shows that escalation in internet access in homes has increased to 70% since the beginning of the millennium (Howell, Williams and Lindsay, 2003). We already know that the main advantage for online education is access to the internet hence in order to expand the market of online education the prerequisite is expanding the access to the online resources. Another very valid question that lingers in one’s mind is the time when the probable online market will reach saturation. That is a situation when the number of students enrolling to the online education system will not grow.

After a detailed analysis of the various factors involved in online education, a glance at the appropriate field of study usually undertaking online education would be apt. it has been noticed that till date the area most influenced by online education is Career and Technical Education (CTE). Also the field of teacher/instructor preparation is gradually growing in a fast pace, predominantly the area that relates to providing certifications to in-service teachers (Zirkle, 2003). However, it is noteworthy that other than these two sectors there are various fields, degree specialties which are rapidly acknowledging this system of education. Nonetheless, these two above mentioned areas are the ones that lead the pack in online education.


The above research states that the present status of online education as well as its future is highly unstable but this trend is gradually growing to gain more momentum (Zirkle, 2003). If we know the exact growth that has occurred till the present and where in future this growth will possibly occur then there is a possibility that that we can prepare to benefit from the prospective of online education for students as well as the universities engaging in online education.

The ultimate promising trend that needs to be considered is the escalating demand of the students who exit the degree programs with technological expertise (Mourad, 2010). Further in the cases of these online courses the additional skills of the students when they receive the degrees would be that they will be extremely comfortable with the technology and the computers. As the hiring organizations evidently insist on possessing technical skills the demand for online education will increase even more (Online education: perspectives on a new environment, 1990).

Even though the traditional universities will never fade dwindle, the number of online educational systems will increase since this arrangement gives the students a boost in their careers, increase their self confidence and realize their dreams. Through more and more extensive research including surveys, observations, interviews and detailed analysis of demography of the students and course design one can slowly achieve even better results in this field (Online education: perspectives on a new environment, 1990).

This will help in indulging in better training facilities for the online instructors, design programs for improved educational support that can assist the students to succeed in online environment.

With constant improvement in online training and proper buildup of teaching and learning efficiency, even the students will attempt to achieve a better perceptive and enjoy superior advantageous from this new style of teaching.


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