"Bad and useless": debunking myths about online education

"Bad and useless": debunking myths about online education

| Self-development

Professions, skills and knowledge which were in demand just a few years ago might suddenly become irrelevant today.

Keeping up with what is happening around us can be supported by continual self-improvement, additional learning and honing your skills. All of this is necessary to keep up with the dynamic pace of life and not be overlooked in the jobs market. However, education in the traditional sense might not always be able to meet this demand because of its long-term nature. Some professions have a life cycle of only a couple of years which is the very same length of time as an educational program at a University (at best).

Online education offers an affordable solution, as well as a way out of this vicious circle. But, unfortunately, as is often the case, the new enters an ideological conflict with the familiar, which is why online education has managed to gather a considerable amount of myths. They are generally harmless, but the very fact that they exist can affect people's confidence towards online learning and, as a result, could harm their progression in life.

Myth 1. Online learning = distance learning

Online learning distance learning

Without having any understanding, people tend to think that online learning is a new name for distance learning, and unwittingly attribute the same disadvantages to it. The most common ones are an absence of effective everyday communication between students and teachers, and an inadequate set of educational tools, together with less involvement in the learning process.

However, reality looks entirely different. Indeed, distance learning is mostly the responsibility of the student. In contrast, online education tends to combine independent work and regular feedback from teachers and other students. Skype, Zoom, messengers and other programmes help you stay in touch with your teacher and fellow students. At the same time, the development of information technology allows you to broaden your horizons through interactive learning tools. Thanks to high demand and continual growth.

The demand for online education means a large amount of money is invested in this sector, so innovative methods and tools are regularly introduced here.

Myth 2. Face-to-face learning is more effective than online education

Face-to-face learning is more effective than online education

Certain global studies confirm that online education might be less effective than face-to-face learning. However, not all researchers have arrived at this conclusion. For example, other studies have shown that there is absolutely no difference in performance (for example, in 2017, the Higher School of Economics carried out a survey that found that learning face-to-face or online has no impact on a student's performance) or that on the contrary, it is a preferable way to learn.

Where do these inconsistencies come from? The truth is that the format itself does not matter and the effectiveness of learning depends on other factors. Personal motivation and commitment play a significant part. Students with a lower level of self-discipline are not likely to benefit from online education because they do not have someone to motivate them. Perhaps, a strict teacher with a ruler who makes them read from a book. For people who are focused on their results, they will succeed, through online learning.

Myth 3. The quality of online learning is inadequate

The quality of online learning is inadequate

Some time ago, it would have been possible to see the emergence of one-day schools on the internet. Some unscrupulous entrepreneurs saw online education as an opportunity to quickly make money. They were not concerned about the content or form of their courses. Unfortunately, because so many dissatisfied customers were unlucky enough to experience poor-quality courses, this created a significant blow to the reputation of online education. However, as the industry developed, it began to regulate itself: quality was guaranteed, and an expert community of high-profile names were amongst online course organisers.

For example, everyone has heard of large platforms like Coursera, Skillshare, Netology, and Lectorium, and it is virtually impossible to encounter any terrible content here. However, even smaller sites now offer high-quality courses. It is essential to carry out any preparatory work, before you start learning, read reviews, expert recommendations and detailed description of the course before you start.

Myth 4. Certified online courses are not acknowledged in the job market

Certified online courses are not acknowledged in the job market

Actually, when they are considering several candidates for the same position, employers are unlikely to make their choice in favour of a particular employee just because they have a higher or secondary specialised education. As a rule, their decision is typically made, based on many factors, and any certificates from the courses you have completed are proof of your attitude to work. In the eyes of an employer, you will look like a more conscientious and impressive potential employee, who is focused on results and self-development. These are essential qualities for a modern-day employee that will make you look more competitive.

Finally, large online education platforms have long offered accredited courses with a certificate, or they work in collaboration with universities (such as Netology, Skillbox, and GeekBrains). Obtaining a certificate on completion of these courses will be a convincing argument in favour of your competence.

Myth 5. Online courses do not provide you with in-depth knowledge

Online courses do not provide you with in-depth knowledge

One of the most common arguments in favour of a long-term traditional education is the depth of knowledge gained. Long-term study programs seem rich in experience, and therefore can prepare the student in the best possible way, whilst online courses allegedly skip this step and "jump straight to the top".

In fact, this is not entirely true: online courses may seem prohibitively short, but this is only in comparison with the more familiar multi-level University programs. However, the online format is designed this way for a reason. The world is changing incredibly quickly, and an education lasting two or more years at the end of the day risks becoming irrelevant. Traditional long-term education does not keep up with the rapidly changing demands of the job market. This problem is solved instantly by online learning with its more flexible approach.

Creating numerous courses is a long and arduous process that separates knowledge which is applicable in practice from unnecessary theory. Therefore, classes cannot be regarded as superficial just because they are taken over a relatively short time. On the contrary: they gather and focus on useful, relevant and innovative content. In courses which correspond to the concept of Fast Education, information is systematically presented in short and concise blocks. Meaning you will be able to gain knowledge that takes 15-30 minutes a day to master and is immediately transformed into skills and abilities. With this study format, it is not necessary to spend years at University to gain an education that may no longer be useful or require further retraining.

On closer examination, it becomes clear that most myths about online learning are not valid. They can be put into the category of annoying misconceptions. Choose your learning location carefully and good luck on your path to self-improvement.

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