[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on April 17th of this year, was our #4 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]
As online learning continues to grow as an increasingly viable option for postsecondary and continuing education (at least 5.8 million US students are enrolled in at least one online course), especially as non-traditional students are becoming the norm, there still exists a universal unfamiliarity with online learning that has led to the proliferation of several myths or misconceptions about this popular mode of learning.
However, the online learning myths you may be thinking of are not typically the ones in existence today. For example, unlike the myth just a few short years ago that online learning means poor quality, the new myth today is that when a well-regarded institution offers a course online the quality will be good.
The myths listed, compiled by Cypher Learning, are based on research and trends noted in Forbes, the Online Learning Consortium, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and Medium.
8 Online Learning Myths
1. Online does not mean high quality
Though most reputed colleges and universities rigorously try to maintain parity between on-campus and online programs with respect to quality of teaching standards, many institutions are still in their online program infancy and may need to improve this relatively newer mode of education delivery. Also, some institutions may not have rigorous standards for their online learning programs, as developing universal baseline standards for distance education is also in its infancy. It all boils down to the robustness of the infrastructure required for providing online instructions, the experience of the teachers, and their level of competence in handling web-based tools for education via the internet.
2. Earning an online degree is easy
Though students may have the flexibility of studying at theirr own pace, they’ll also have to take into account that there’ll be nobody to remind them about a particular project or assignment with a deadline. Typically, students who are most successful with online programs are self-motivated and dedicate more time to completing a web-oriented course whose syllabus or curriculum may be the same as the brick-and-mortar program.
3. Online courses are unaccredited or unaffiliated
The validity of an online program depends upon the accreditation standing of the academic institution offering the course, just like a traditional study program. Students and educators can login at the website of CHEA, which regularly publishes and updates a list of approved authorities or bodies that offer affiliations to higher education establishments.
4. Online credits are non-transferable
Unfortunately, transferring credits of an on-campus course might be just as harrowing as reassigning credits for an online program. But more often than not, the college or university receiving the application may not be in a position to determine whether the unaccredited program was pursued in a campus or completed online.
(Next page: 4 more online learning myths; infographic)