Online vs On-Campus education

Online vs On-Campus education

If you are an adult contemplating returning to school to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether to pursue your degree online or actually attend classes on campus. There are many aspects of your current life that must be reflected upon when deciding when and how you should continue or begin your college education, and here is just a brief examination of some personality traits or qualities of life to consider when making the important decision of returning to higher education online or on campus.

Interaction with others

If you are the type of person who enjoys lively discussions and group interaction in a traditional classroom setting, taking courses at campus might be more to your liking than taking classes online. At campus, you will meet students of all ages, ethnicities, social economic backgrounds and cultural experiences. You will have firsthand interaction with others on campus to learn new things and take part in on-campus activities. If you are more introverted and don’t enjoy interacting with others in an academic setting, you will probably enjoy learning online and virtually communicating with your fellow students and instructors.

Flexibility

Online classes offer great flexibility in regards to creating your coursework schedule while being in the comfort of your own home. If you have a family and/or career, you can schedule your coursework conveniently around your schedule so you are able to fulfill your familial and work responsibilities while furthering your education. Attending classes in person will require you to take a block of time out of your schedule to sit be present on campus and sit in on regularly-scheduled classes, and this may not be feasible if you are working full time. On campus education offers convenient classes that can be taken in the evening or weekends with the realization that people have other commitments and may not be available to take classes during the day, but taking online classes does require the commitment of being on campus a certain number of hours each week class is in session.

Learning preference

Are you the type of person who learns better at your own pace, or do you prefer having someone else give you direction? Taking classes online will require you to be self motivated and create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. No one will be there to remind you to finish an assignment or to study for an upcoming exam. You will be accountable for completing your own work on your own schedule, but there are still due dates when taking coursework online. And when taking courses online, you are able to get assistance and ask questions of your instructors when necessary. Taking classes in person is more structured, with the professor handing you a syllabus on the first day outlining the coursework for an entire semester. Some students claim that there is nothing like the in-classroom learning experience while others will tell you they felt that same “in-classroom” experience while working online. Working on your studies at home requires a great deal of self discipline and the ability to work independently. If you know you have had more success with more guidance and working with others, then a classroom setting may be best for you.

Individualized attention

Depending on the courses you take, the amount of students in each class will vary. Some classes have about 30 students, while others will have more and some fewer. In smaller classes, you will have the instant gratification of meeting with your teacher after class and having your questions answered immediately. Taking classes online will also allow you to communicate with your professor via email and ask the questions that you may have. Online professors may be able to provide you with more attention since there are fewer students, and email is accessible all hours of the day. You can even take part in discussions with your classmates online.

Age

Online classes may be the best option if you are more mature and feel apprehensive about being surrounded in by students right out of high school. However, if you are open to new experiences, you may discover that there is much to learn from people of different age groups.

Cost

Aside from paying for tuition, you should consider the additional costs that exist when taking classes on campus. Books, meals, transportation, and if you have children, you may need to add daycare expenses. If you are struggling financially, you might consider taking classes online where you can save on some of these expenses.

Ability to Use Technology

Online classes will require a certain degree of technology savvy. If you have trouble turning on the computer yourself or differentiating between a keyboard and printer, online classes might not be the best option for you. All assignments, exams, and coursework will be transmitted to you via the Internet. Correspondence with your professors will be through the exchange of emails. If you don’t feel comfortable with the Internet, taking traditional classes may be a better option for you.

Thousands of adult students have earned their degrees online and have never stepped foot on campus. Everything you need to successfully complete a degree is accessible through your computer. You can receive and submit assignments, participate in discussions with classmates and ask your instructor questions whenever necessary. Your online program goes wherever you go, and as long as you have Internet access, and the desire to further your education, your online educational experience will be just as rewarding as those who attend classes on campus.

8 Tips To Create Multi-Platform eLearning Courses

8 Tips To Create Multi-Platform eLearning Courses

“Supply and demand” may be a marketing term, but it also pertains to eLearning delivery methods. An increasing number of learners are now demanding multi-platform eLearning courses. In this article, I’ll offer 8 tips for creating smartphone, tablet, and wearable tech-friendly eLearning.

How To Create Multi-Platform eLearning Courses

As technology has evolved, the educational sector has evolved with it. Mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, and laptops are now providing learners with instant access to online learning materials. But how do you design an eLearning course that not only supports these delivery platforms, but also packs the same punch as your desktop eLearning experiences?

Make your mobile learning course a tactile eLearning experience.
One of the most notable benefits of using a tablet or smartphone to access eLearning is interactivity. While most eLearning courses rely on a point-and-click format, mobile learning courses can offer an immersive and fully tactile eLearning experience. There is a caveat to this, however. The “touch” elements within the eLearning course must be the right size, as learners need to be able to tap on them when using a variety of different mobile devices. For example, buttons that are too close together or too small may be “untouchable” for learners on smaller screens. You may also want to consider integrating swiping motions into your eLearning course design to take full advantage of device capabilities.

Research your audience to set minimum requirements.
While researching the educational background and experience levels of your audience is essential, creating multi-platform eLearning courses also calls for device usage statistics. What mobile devices are your learners using to access the eLearning course? The answer to this question will help you determine your minimum eLearning design requirements. If most of your learners are using more advanced phones or tablets, you won’t have to worry about designing for older models. It’s best to select a range that your deliverable will fall into. For example, you may choose to develop mobile learning courses that are targeted to iPhone 6 and Android 5.0 learners and above. Then you won’t have to stretch your resources thin trying to develop multi-platform eLearning courses for every device.

Opt for readability over creativity when choosing fonts.
If you have your eye on a fancy font that you think will boost the visual appeal of your eLearning course, make sure that it’s completely legible before adding it into your eLearning design layout. Keep in mind that your learners are going to be accessing the eLearning course on smaller screen sizes, which means that they need readability over creativity when it comes to fonts. Use larger fonts, if possible, and opt for more “traditional” fonts, and follow the resolution/text rule: lower resolution requires larger text.

Use a responsive eLearning authoring tool.
Many eLearning authoring tools now offer a responsive design feature, which gives you the ability to create just one master eLearning course that can be viewed on all platforms. When your mobile learners access the eLearning course, its elements, such as menu, text boxes, etc., all adjust to offer the best possible eLearning experience. Regardless of whether your learner is on an iPhone or a tablet, they’ll be able to interact and engage with the eLearning content and activities.

Focus on ease of navigation.
There are few things more frustrating than accessing a mobile learning course, only to discover that you cannot use the navigation icons to click through to the next page or activity. Make navigation icons large and clearly visible, and avoid using hyperlinks to supplemental online resources. Tablet or mobile phone learners may find it difficult to click on tiny text links to access useful articles, eLearning videos, and external eLearning content.

Give learners control over audio elements.
Many of your learners are going to be accessing your eLearning course on-the-go. The beauty of using a smartphone, tablet, or even a smaller laptop to access eLearning is that you can participate anytime, anywhere. However, if you include an abundance of audio elements that provide key takeaways, your mobile learners aren’t going to acquire the information they need. Include subtitles and use text to highlight key concepts of the eLearning lesson. If you do have audio, integrate controls your learners can use to lower or mute the volume.

Use one design across the board.
Regardless of what devices your eLearning course supports, make sure that the instructional design is the same for every version, including color scheme, branding, and design elements. Doing so keeps the eLearning course design consistent, professional, and your learners know what to expect when they access the eLearning course on various platforms. This is yet another reason why responsive design authoring tools are ideal. You can create one master eLearning course, and the responsive design feature adapts that eLearning course to fit the resolution and screen size of the device. It’s cohesive and streamlined design at its finest and easiest.

Track user data to improve your multi-platform eLearning course strategy.
Analytics is an important tool in any eLearning strategy, but doubly so for multi-platform eLearning courses. You need to be able to keep track of what devices your learners are using and how they are interacting with the eLearning content. This gives you the opportunity to fine tune your eLearning strategy based upon the device preferences and learning needs of your audience. For example, if your analytics reveal that many of your learners are using an older operating system, you can adapt your eLearning course to that system. You can also pinpoint weak spots in your eLearning strategy, such as interactive elements that are not easy to navigate on smaller screens. In addition to user data, get feedback from your learners via surveys and polls to determine what is working and what needs to be modified.
Multi-platform eLearning courses give every member of your audience convenient access to your eLearning course, no matter what their technology-of-choice may be. Use these 8 tips to transform your eLearning course into an interactive and user-friendly mobile learning experience.