Break the online learning misconceptions

Adult learners have long thought that the only way you can get an education is in a classroom with a teacher, desks, and students. However, online learning has changed the way that many adults think.

Effective and successful learning can happen with a computer connection and a goal-oriented adult. It just takes a little different thinking to get over your pre-conceived ideas of online learning and to take that chance. What are some of the misconceptions that revolve around online learning and what are the truths to break the online learning misconceptions?

“If I am not good at technology, I cannot do an online class.”

Even if you are not the best at computers, you have to understand that a lot of time and money goes into making online courses and course management systems as user friendly as possible. As long as you can surf the Internet, open and send e-mail, upload and download documents, and have a fairly good computer and Internet access, you have all of the skills you need to be successful in managing an online class.

“How will my professor know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing?

A good program or course will have different methods for assessing student progress. Most often these methods include written assignments, voice and written responses to a group discussion, tests, and more. Whether it is through a message board or another system, a quality program will want to encourage you to do your work on an ongoing basis, rather than all at once. This could mean deadlines for testing and assignments to ensure that everyone is moving along at the same pace.

If you sign into the course management portal, it can also keep track of the time spent there.

“I will miss social interaction.”

A well-designed course will build some interaction into its design. This allows the learners to interact with each other, as well as the professor, and discuss course material. It works much like a regular classroom where you raise your hand, except you may be using a message board or a chat room. While you will not be face to face with your fellow students, you will interact, as it will most likely be required. You may even get to know these students even better, simply because you will have to interact more frequently.

“Online degrees are not as good as degrees received at a regular college or university.”

The online curriculum that you follow is the same as you would learn at the campus-based school. The only difference is how it is delivered and some employers look at online learning as even more valuable, because you have learned how to schedule your time around your everyday life activities and make it through getting a degree. Online degrees are becoming more and more accepted. Just ensure that the online learning program is from an accredited institution.

“Online learning is easier than going to a campus-based school.”

While it may be more convenient, that does not mean that it is easier. You are still going to have assignments and, in some cases, there may be a few more to ensure that you understand the information you are learning. You are not going to be able to just slide by in most online classes. Participation and adherence to deadlines is going to be important.

The misconceptions about online learning and degrees are many, but as you can see, most of these are not true. By evaluating your own needs as far as online learning, and doing your due diligence in research, you will be able to ensure that you choose the right program for you to allow you to reach your educational and career goals.


Author’s Bio: David Miller is an educational researcher, who has vast experience in the field of teaching, online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organizations. He’s an ed-tech veteran, currently pursuing research in ProProfs Knowledge Base Software, and is a contributing author with ProProfs.