Online education- what does this mean to you? Would you ever consider taking an online program? If you are still unsure if the virtual class room is where you should be heading, let us help you out! Learn what online education is all about right here from an experienced expert in the educational industry.
The Current Trend!
We recently had a chat with Dr. Wing Lam, Vice Chancellor of GlobalNxt University
to have a look at the current state of online education. Dr. Wing Lam tells us that in the last two years, there has been an explosion of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses which allow open access and unlimited participation online. Top international educational institutions
have been seen to get into their MOOC space and have gotten new learning technology a lot in this time period, he observes.
He also notices that big educational institutions currently show an eagerness and interest towards the impact that this kind of technology will have on education as a whole. He mentions that the level of interest in online education has risen up a notch, in comparison with five years ago.
In the USA, he finds that the probability of students taking up an online course, as part of their regular course, has become quite common. Online programs have been weaved into their curriculum. Asia, on the other hand is, he explains, and has always been playing catch up with the USA and is still a little lagging in this area. Student and parent perception of online education is different and face to face education is considered more effective and of more value unfortunately.
When it comes to comparing face to face education with online education, his views are that these two cannot and should not be compared. Dr.Wing Lam feels that both of these are highly dependent on how skilled the professor is. The class room experience, either in virtual or real-life, is absolutely dependent on how well the professor can teach. The future education trends will have online and face to face education merged for a better learning experience- he predicts.
Can the Virtual Classroom Replace The Real One?
Curiously, we asked him if a virtual class room experience can ever replace a traditional college experience. To this, Dr. Wing Lam responded saying that the same level of education would be possible but it would be an absolutely different kind of experience. Quite on the contrary, the online experience is not one that is trying to replace the face- to-face experience, according to him. From personal experience, Dr. Wing Lam opens up about online classrooms- he says they are much like Google hangouts and have very high interactivity. He feels that online class rooms have dynamics that are quite different compared to the traditional one. More productive work gets done in the online class room; there is more focus on the subject being taught and less distraction, he feels. He reiterated the fact that they both have different advantages and disadvantages and are completely different experiences.
What Employers Really Feel!
We asked him the next big question that is on everyone’s mind as education trends are changing worldwide- is there reluctance among employers when it comes to accepting online education certifications as opposed to traditional ones?
Dr. Wing Lam admits that in the present situation, employers may have reservations about online learning. He talks about online certifications such as the PMP, the project management certificate which is highly valued or even the PMBOK which gives students the freedom of taking the exams online to become certified project managers.
The mode of preparation for this is up to the student- it may be online, face-to-face, or distance. He lets us know that what employers look for ultimately, is whether you have acquired competency and how you are able to demonstrate it. He also makes a mention of many certifications wherein students are made to study online and then take tests in an exam center. The mode of delivery, he explains, simply does not matter as long as your skill sets stand strong.
In the future, he believes that employers will only be concerned about the skill level you possess for the job and not the mode of study you have chosen. He tells us that this will become less and less relevant as time goes on. He even goes on to say that in the future, degrees may not be as highly valued as industrial online certifications!
Online & Offline!
Surely there are a few fields of study which require a strong physical presence and cannot be done online 100%. Dr. Wing Lam says that when it comes to training of doctors, while certain levels of the conceptual part of the curricula can be done online, some clinical parts may require students to go in for some hands-on training at hospitals or medical facilities for a better understanding. Online learning
definitely has its limits when it comes to situations like these and this is where he feels there is always room for the traditional type of learning. The online environment can even provide engineering students with simulation labs where they are unable to have access to the real ones and come to the rescue.
The Near Future - Next Ten Years!
When asked what the future of online education would be in the next ten years, Dr. Wang Liam told us that in the future there won’t be a difference between online or face-to face education and that they will both be interweaved together to produce the best output. No longer will education be classified as online or offline but education will be built around both world over.
This is where the world of online education could take you. Don’t hesitate to take up that online program you have had your heart set on. Also browse our listings of online course providers now to enter your first virtual classroom soon!