The pandemic has had many side effects the world over but doubtlessly one of the most prevalent and long-lasting is the transition to working online. Technology was a central tool for most businesses, which needed to sustain themselves whilst abiding by social distancing rules. People worked from home, learning was done online, exercise classes took place via Zoom, and people even socialized virtually. Although we are making the slow move back to face-to-face contact, the virtual revolution may be here to stay for the education sector, and with good reason.
Schools, colleges, and universities all over the world had to scramble to make their syllabus available online and deliver their courses remotely.
After almost 18 months of home learning, educational bodies have discussed whether the move to online learning should be permanent. As with anything, there are certainly advantages to e-learning over the more traditional in-person learning that students are used to.
By taking learning online it has meant that a lot of courses have become more accessible. That is not to say that they are easier to gain admission to. B school consultants and admission consultations may still be a requirement for students to gain admission to top-level university courses. If anything, they are likely to become more competitive if the virtual switch takes hold. While the application process will not differ hugely from the traditional methods, other than the interview process which will be online, It is expected that there will be an increase in applications given the ease of accessibility, thus competitiveness will rise accordingly. The response from students regarding online teaching has been overwhelmingly positive. This will lead to an increase in college applications and ultimately competitiveness.
Outside of academic needs, virtual learning is also more accessible for students with personal commitments, these being students who work full-time or part-time whilst studying. It allows students with family obligations or who live further afield the opportunity to benefit from almost any course of study, anywhere in the world. If students are no longer required to factor in the financial and practical costs of moving across the country or even moving to another country, to attend their chosen college, it changes the dynamic and possibilities of their education tenfold.
The overwhelming advantage of online study is the reduction in associated moving costs and stress.
The practicalities of leaving a hometown loved ones, and familiarity is often off-putting enough for prospective students, when this is coupled with the financial and practical burden of moving towns it can be enough to deter a student from applying to a particular college. Virtual learning removes all of this burden, it allows students to remain in the comfort and ease of their homes but still benefit from the education offered by institutions countrywide and the world over.
Online learning also gives students more autonomy over their learning. It allows them to study, work and learn at a pace and in an environment that suits them, also at a time of day that suits them. Students have greater freedom to study in the way that benefits them most, without having to sit in a lecture theatre for an hour or two when they are told to do so. If students need to spend a little longer on a particular topic then they have the free range to do so. It also gives students the opportunity to effectively manage their time and their schedule in a way that works for them, and their home life.
Completing a course as intense as a bachelor’s or master’s degree online also serves as a real-life working example of self-motivation, time management, and dedication. Students can show that they have the ability and inclination to succeed without the repressive hand-holding of traditional teaching.
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