As technology evolves at an ever-increasing pace, it is now taking education along for the ride. Those who scoffed at online learning back in the 90s and early 2000s are now embracing the trend; more than embracing it, actually – the naysayers who once scoffed are now becoming the biggest proponents of electronic educational opportunities.
DelMarVa Leading the Way
The DelMarVa Penninsula (the mid-Atlantic region that encompasses Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia) is one of the “smartest” areas of the United States. Naturally, this region is embracing online learning and putting to rest the dubious concerns about taking online courses. According to Phil Tran, a Virginia public relations consultant and owner of the Chesapeake Liason, education will look much different come 2025, but there are changes abreast right now that are making it more accessible to students who lead very active lifestyles who do not have time to sit in a traditional classroom.
According to Tran, “We will begin to see more online courses in college and even in high school. People are busier than ever and they will need college and graduate courses that are flexible and tailored to their schedule. High schools will even start to implement online components to many courses and even offer exclusively online courses. It is happening as we speak.”
Right now, Prince William County in Virginia has one online high school. Others in the area are offering online courses to help students catch up with their curricula if they have difficulty keeping up. Tran envisions high school becoming more flexible than the current seven-hour classroom marathon. He cites studies which have shown that students do not stay engaged for such a prolonged period of time; they are in need of other forms of learning that will stimulate their senses, rather than put them to sleep behind their desks.
Older Students and Professionals are Also Taking the Online Learning Plunge
Flexible class scheduling and less time spent in traditional classrooms have also become attractive alternatives to older students and professionals. The old night school grind of working an 8-hour day and then spending another 2-3 hours in a classroom at the local community college has all but become obsolete. Working folk are crying out for alternative methods of receiving necessary training and education that fits into their schedules. Online learning can make that a reality. Many people work flexible schedules which allow them to fit in online coursework; staggered hours and telecommuting are more common now than ever, allowing employees to pick up their education on a more convenient timetable.
Online Education Will Be “Home School” Without the Stigma
Tran believes that by 2025, “everyone will be home-schooled to a certain extent.” This does not mean that school-aged children will be deprived of traditional extra-curricular activities; it means that they will spend less time in classrooms, but still acquiring the education they need to become contributing members of society. He believes teaching will improve as a result of these changes, even though many educators might need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.Teachers themselves will be able to embrace alternative opportunities they would otherwise be cut off from, if they continue to spend long hours in traditional classrooms.
The future is certainly bright for online learning once we call all truly embrace the advantages it has to offer.
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