The Internet has changed worldwide lifestyles in the last twenty years in a very big way, including the opportunities for education online. The future is here, the ability to gather knowledge and learning are almost overwhelming. All a person needs to do is jump in and start absorbing the information, culture and excitement of new places, new people and new ways to do and learn so many different things.
Perhaps the most exciting development that has taken place as a direct result, of the World Wide Web, now called the Internet, is how it has changed every type of education. Before the Internet was universally available it was called, the ARPANET. Primarily the ARPANET was for the United States military and industrial complex and university research labs to use. However, it was not easy to operate as it is today. There were no browsers, no video and it was not user friendly.
These days the internet is very interactive. Most people in education have come to accept, and agree, with something no one would have predicted. You can learn anything using education online, and most things can be learned better and faster. The overall benefits of online education programs are so great that even classes that could have never been taught by the old style correspondence courses are now commonplace online.
With advancements in webinar and collaborative classroom or meetings, most students who have had the opportunity to try them prefer technology online classes of every type. For example, for more than five years the Insight High School system, a fully accredited diploma granting American high school has been teaching classes that always required one on one with a teacher. Classes in Chemistry, including laboratory time and experiments are some of the most exciting online classes. Comparative biology where the student dissects various animals and compares their bodies is another course that could have never been taught by correspondence course. Even gymnastics and physical training in martial arts are not taught online. There are some reasons these previously one-on-one only courses are seeing an exponential growth in business. Here are some reasons for the success of these online courses.
When Insight first started, they shipped books and equipment to students. By the end of the second year, the technology had evolved to the point that no more hard copy textbooks were needed. Course material was interactive, and while some experiments were done by students at home, the students felt they learned more in the interactive chemistry lab.
I believe we all would agree that one of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes and retrying until we know how to do something correctly. That online interactive high school chemistry lab allowed students to make mistakes. When I say make mistakes, I am talking about mistakes like blowing up the chemistry lab, in a virtual way. Teachers find letting students work through an experiment repeatedly, making mistakes and seeing the consequences is the best way of teaching. Even one to one in a traditional high school, students would never be allowed to do such things.
Another course that normally required one to one, teacher to student contact, in the past was CPR, or cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Teachers found that students learned much better online for an unexpected reason. In one-on-one training, a student had to take their turn as the patient needing resuscitation. That was not comfortable for some students. With online CPR, training the students used family members, to practice on following the online instruction. As the teacher explained the steps to CPR, they also explained how the patient was feeling or should have been responding. Both the student and the family helper were involved, and able to practice repeatedly until it was done correctly. With a traditional school and more than one student, that much time cannot be taken on one student. Repetitive online training was found to teach better and faster than traditional training. For some classes when the students came for graduation they took practical tests on some skills. The success rates were astounding, surpassing any traditional school teaching methods.
Online instruction is no longer restricted reading, watching videos or interacting with virtual experiments. Those methods of teaching online are great for many courses, but some courses need more feedback from the instructor. These days this is done online by webcam collaborative classroom experiences. The instructor can watch what the student is doing and make immediate correction if necessary to prevent the students from harming themselves. Most often, teachers watch and let the student proceed so they understand why the manner in which they are working is incorrect. Again, this demonstrates the power of instructing by letting students make mistakes and learning from them.
Here are a few of the benefits gained by taking online classes in any subject.
– Students learn by experience, in a hands-on manner with the ability to make mistakes without endangering ones self or someone else. Repeating exercises as often as desired is recommended, as it does not hold up the rest of a class.
– Training in classes requiring another participant is easily conducted, especially if the second person is another student. If not available family, substitutes work well.
– Students have complete control over the speed of learning. A student can take as long as they want or complete a course as quickly as needed.
– Students can take classes without leaving their home, their city, state or even country.
– Students have access to prestigious schools for classes. Availability for earning certificates and degrees from educational institutions that would otherwise not be possible.
Until four years ago, the only valid disadvantage to an online education, in any type of course was socialization. With the advent, and viral popularity of Facebook and Twitter, online students know more about each other, should they want to than they were ever able to know at a traditional face-to-face school. Students have no trouble arranging social interactions with others that interest them and do not have to be bothered or distracted by others.