As more adults are returning to school from the work force, there have been numerous online universities that have come onto the scene. The virtual classroom used to be a thing of the future, but we are beginning to see online courses and even entire virtual colleges, become the norm. As many college students are finding out, there are many benefits to online learning, as well as to a traditional classroom setting. There are many challenges an adult faces when returning to school, they have to juggle family life, work and those things are time consuming as it is, when you add in 12-18 hours of classwork, it can be completely overwhelming.
The traditional learning environment is set up so that the student has to report to a classroom at certain days and times of the week, for up to four hours at a time. For many adults, this is something that just cannot be fit into their schedule. The most important benefit of online or virtual learning is that it is flexible. Many online courses are set up so that the student can pretty much work at their own pace. The teacher may give their students assignments for the entire semester and due dates for each assignment and the student can complete the work at their own pace.
The beauty of online and traditional courses is that the same curriculum is being taught. In traditional courses you have the benefit of a teacher standing physically in front of you, in online courses, you are pretty much teaching yourself; you still have access to your teacher, but through virtual channels, such as emails and online websites such as blackboard. Many students feel that they are missing something when they don’t have a teacher in front of them, that the learning experience is not the same if they cannot ask the teacher a question if they are having problems, but that is not the case.
Another hurdle that many adult learners have to deal with is that they are not as familiar with computers as a younger student may be. Many older students do not spend the amount of time on computers, unless it’s the bare minimum, so there is a double learning that they are stuck with; they need to learn how to navigate the different computer software, plus the course that they have chosen.
Even though many adults attend classes for the experience of other people, it is a better choice for adult learners to take online courses when they have to juggle the pressures of everyday life. It may take some getting use to, but the demand of a hectic job schedule, plus attending a college class physically can take up twelve hours a day and that can be up to three times a week. An online course allows a student to work at their own pace from the convenience of their home, this gives them a chance to set aside time for schoolwork and still have time to handle the other important things in their life.