Online learning combines information technology and multimedia to provide learning programs for students through the World Wide Web or through a combination of media. Online colleges and traditional colleges provide students with education and a degree but the difference is that online colleges do not require the physical presence of an instructor. Online learning programs are available as standalone courses, Associates, Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees, completion programs, continuing education courses, and professional certification. Students who wish to earn an online degree can study from a traditional university or an online college that offers distance learning programs.
More and more professionals are opting for online courses as this type of learning allows them to earn additional qualifications without quitting their jobs. Distance learning is particularly suitable for adult learners due to the convenience, 24/7 access, interactive technology and ease of communication. Educational institutes all over the world are now offering a wide variety of online degrees or diplomas for careers in healthcare, business, management, technology and education. An estimated 97 percent of public universities now offer online courses and approximately 3.5 million students are taking at least one class online.
To help the learning process though the internet, online study material, tutors, virtual classrooms and various other web resources are available to the student. Additionally, classroom training is also available at convenient locations for most online courses. Moreover, the pacing, sequencing and style of learning can be adjusted according to individual needs. In an online environment, a student can chat with the instructor and other students at a set time every week or be part of a virtual classroom at a fixed time. It is also possible to get help through email or other web resources that are created for students who are enrolled in online programs.
Online learning has proved beneficial for people who are good communicators, computer savvy and proactive. Statistics prove that individuals who are looking for an online degree are usually over 25 years old, employed, and have previous college experience. Such online learners are usually self-motivated and their course completion rate surpasses that of students enrolled in classroom training programs. The modern methods of online learning enable a student to have access to a rich interactive experience and endless opportunities for learning.