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Online Education Trends

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Online education is being paid much more attention and becoming meteoric in present world, spurred by developing technology, internet services, software and soaring public perceptions.

Then what are the development trends of online education and changes it may take in the next years?

1. Online education is on the rise with more online universities and students.

There is no doubt that online education is on the rise, which can be proved by the listed information below:

• Over 20% of American university students were attending online courses in 2007.

• Online education in the United States takes a growth rate of 21%, exceeding the 2% growth rate in overall college education.

Online-only colleges and universities are flourishing rapidly and some traditional universities tend to open online courses for their on-campus students.

An increasing number of people opt to online education due to many causes, including:

• They are able to hold down their jobs while taking courses to earn a degree. The lecture time is more flexible than traditional courses.

• While traditional universities charge higher tuitions, turning to online ones is an economical choice.

• Online courses enable students to review the lectures, learning materials and class activities any time they want, thus they don’t need to worry about falling behind.

2. Online education is merging with traditional universities.

A large number of universities tend to combine online courses with traditional face-to-face interaction, which are regarded as hybrid courses or blended classes. This kind of behavior gains a growing popularity, especially in the universities in Miami. Traditional universities now give much value to this newly-born education form.

Hybrid courses utilize advantages of both online and on-campus courses and meanwhile avoid drawbacks of them. So it has a great growth potential, as well as a potential to lower students’ attrition rates and promote their study.

3. Degree from online universities will be valued higher by employers.

Degrees authorized by online universities now obtain a much more acceptance, although these degrees have been misunderstood for a period of time in the previous years. Those online degrees will be valued higher by the potential employers in the future and the gap between degrees from online universities and on-campus universities is narrowing.

In the near future, it is more than just normal to see people with online degrees enjoy the same position with those with traditional ones.

4. Education costs will decrease.

A traditional university charges much higher tuitions since the costs of the university are higher than that of a online university. They need to purchase large amount of bricks, cement and other things to construct the teaching buildings, as well as libraries, dormitories, playground, etc. They have to pay the fees of the faculty, the cleaning staff and some other employees.

However, it is totally different in an online university. The facility costs are largely reduced, as well as tuitions. Everything from having courses to submitting assignments appear on the internet and all you need is a computer with fast network connection.

According to relevant surveys, a traditional university may cost a student over $1,200 of per credit hour, while online courses take a person only $750 per credit hour. Usually, a student needs to attend courses of 15 hours in total during a semester, which means spending 18,000 on on-campus courses or 1, 1250 online.

With the flourish of online education, education will surely decrease in the next years, which may be good news to both students and education institutions.

5. A variety of programs will be invented and adopted.

With the development of online education, a variety of new programs and apps will be invented by technology merchants and adopted by online universities and other institutions like governments and companies.

Now the main e-learning platforms include Moodle Hosting Provides, IBM E-Learning Systems, and KnowledgeAnywhere Corporate Solutions. In the near future, more advanced programs will spring up like mushrooms. Then there will be more and better choices for e-learning system users.

6. Learning management systems as well as online education quality are becoming perfect.

E-learning management systems are becoming super intelligent and able to meet all levels of students’ need, from all aspects including their learning preferences, interests, personalities and background knowledge.

It will be wonderful to see these management systems not only accommodate these individual differences but also precisely predict their knowledge level and give advisory individual learning path.

You may think that traditional face-to-face teaching has a higher education quality. Actually, online education does promote the quality of education. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, “students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction”.

With this kind of systems and more advanced technology, online education quality will get much better. Learners’ study will be largely promoted by following those personalized advises.

7. More institutions will introduce online learning into their infrastructure.

Today, more organizations including governments, companies and education institutions are adopting online learning systems in their infrastructure to increase their working efficiency or productivity. Since e-learning systems can promote interpersonal communication, encourage their employees to learn more professional knowledge and skills, consult influential experts by asking questions about your strategy and know about the industrial latest trends.

In companies, those professional development directors tend integrate e-learning tools into staff communications, while human resources managers utilize similar tools to complete online payroll systems and benefits systems. Partners use e-learning systems to get each other on the same page immediately. Strong e-learning systems enable business partners to understand shared objectives and cooperate in a more effective way.

8. Federal and state regulation will lead its development.

As online education is enlarging, federal and state will one day make out some regulation and legislation to lead its development, aiming at building highly standardized online learning structure with a universal core of management system. Since we hope for a better developed online education system, the governments will fund more research in this field, provide more and better online teaching opportunities to those highly qualified professors and employ more developers to invent adaptive systems.

9. Cheating in online education is increasingly prevalent.

As a detrimental trend, cheating in online education is increasingly prevalent. With all information available from the internet, the possibility of plagiarism or cheating online is on the rise. As is suggested by a 2005 study, 40% of the 50,000 undergraduates admitted that they had plagiarized from the internet, which is more terrible compared with the 10% in 1999. And now the trend still exists and will last for a period of time.

The possibility of students cheating on assessments online is much higher than in classroom exams, since it is easier to cheat in online education. The major issues of this aspect include: getting answers before the test begins, purchasing unauthorized materials related to the test, using hacker software or program to obtain passwords to exam answers databases, unfairly retaking the exam, and even hiring another person to replace you in the exam.

Similar cheating problems cannot be solved in years and will still trouble the education institutions. Meanwhile, these behaviors will decrease the credibility of online degrees to a certain extent. Thus the programs designed to shield cheating may also be invented accordingly.

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