Are Online Courses Effective?

By Brittany Loeffler on March 5, 2020

Are online courses effective? The answer is yes! While some people may be under the impression that online courses are less effective than being in a traditional classroom, according to an MIT study, online courses are actually equally or even more effective.

How is that possible? How are students learning and retaining more information from their pajamas rather than sitting at a desk in a large lecture hall on campus? It’s because online courses diminish the major time commitment required to sit in class, economic and overall stress, and students are able to learn at their own pace.

online courses

via Unsplash

Students Go At Their Own Pace

Taking an online course usually means that students are able to go at their own pace. This means that they can make sure that they fully understand the material before moving on to the next chapter, no matter how long that may take. If that means that they have to reread the chapter three times before taking the test, so be it!

Less Participation Pressure

Some students get very anxious when it comes to participating in a traditional classroom setting. Whether it’s because they need to take more time to form their answers, are uncomfortable with public speaking, or whatever it may be, it can inhibit a student’s learning. With online courses, there is less pressure when it comes to participation because most of the time the students have to interact with each other through a forum or message board where they can clearly think about their answers before writing them. It may even encourage some students to participate more than they would in a traditional classroom.

Saves Time

Time is valuable when it comes to any student. Most of the time, students are not just studying but also involved in extracurricular activities, working a part-time job, or both. When taking online courses, students can save time because they do not have to spend time commuting to campus to go to class. Depending on the student, this could save hours of time every week.

Most online courses allow students to take them at any time of the day. This means that students are not showing up to class exhausted and not paying attention. Online course students can choose when they are in their most focused state to take their course.

Review All Material

How many times have you been sitting in a classroom and dozed off a bit missing some important information that your teacher is explaining? Probably more often than you would like to admit. It’s impossible to go back in time and hear what your teacher was saying. With online courses, students can go back and review the information that they may not have fully understood the first time. This means that before moving on to the next chapter of the course, students are more likely to understand the material because they can go back and review the material.

Higher Retention Rate

Since students of online courses are able to study at their own pace and at the time of the day that works best for their attention span and schedule, they tend to retain the information better. Students can reread the material as many times as they need until they fully understand it. This means that they are more likely to pass the class and may even get a better grade compared to if they were in a traditional classroom setting.

Choice of Learning Environment

Taking online courses gives students the option of where to study. The environment in which a student studies and learns can greatly affect how much information they retain and how focused they are. Students are able to choose an environment that is comfortable for them with minimal distractions, so they can focus all of their attention on the material that they are learning.

Economical Option

On top of being slightly more effective than a traditional classroom, online courses are a more economical choice for students. This means that they are able to stress less about repaying a large number of student loans and can focus more on studying rather than working to pay off their debt. Overall, this leads to the effectiveness of online courses because students have more attention and time to spend focusing on learning the material.

Online Courses are Effective

There is no doubt that online courses are extremely effective, maybe even more effective than a traditional classroom setting for some students. However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone has a different learning style and what works for one student may not work for another. If you’re considering taking an online course, think about your learning style and if it will be the most effective option for you.

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