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The Benefits of an Online Education

Updated on December 8, 2014

Information technology is a vital part of education today. Online, distance and experience-based technology learning have replaced older modes of education in many areas. Many of the benefits of information technology in education have to do with accessibility, flexibility in teaching and learning styles, and cost effectiveness.

Accessibility

Information technology, especially as it applies to online and distance learning, brings the classroom to people who may not normally have access to education, such as disadvantaged people and those who live in rural or underdeveloped areas. Areas with poorly stocked libraries (or none at all) can have access to some of the best libraries online through information technology.

Information technology also enables older college students with jobs and families to take classes on schedules that suit their needs.

Flexibility in Teaching and Learning

Information technology enables a flexibility in teaching strategy of which few in education could have conceived even 30 years ago. Through information technology, teachers have a wide array of teaching methods at their disposal, such as readings, video, chat rooms, message boards and interactive presentations. Online coursework is more engaging and interactive than more traditional methods. The coursework challenges students to learn where the tools allow the student to use his or her imagination as much as the curriculum, itself.

Students accessing experience-based technology learn vital computer skills. Many can see practical application of the work they do in class such as programming, web design, presentations, digital photography, and 3D animation which will apply to their future employment or study. Children become more technologically literate as a result and obtain the required skill-sets necessary.

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Cost Efficiency

Information technology is cost efficient if allowed to be computer-mediated, rather than computer supplemented. As the number of students who take a given class increases, the cost of the course drops precipitously. Schools no longer need to pay for classrooms (heating/cooling, rent, etc) but instead can have large numbers of students per teacher and be more cost effective. Instructors can handle larger numbers of students because they aren't required to schedule certain times in classes. Communications can be done through email, chat room, message boards or telephone.

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