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online learning

Debunking the Myths of Online Learning

Online learning and distance education sometime gets a bad rap.
It’s understandable that people feel hesitant when they hear the phrase “online university.” But this skepticism often comes from misconceptions about what online classrooms look like on the inside, wariness of new technology, or simply a fear of change. I’d like to go through and debunk some of the myths of online learning that we come across as educators, as well as pros that differentiate online schools from brick-and-mortar institutions.

Flexibility

Distance learning allows students to maintain their lifestyles and keep their full-time jobs while working towards a rigorous degree. Our students don’t have to drive to campus or move to another state. Most online programs allow students to choose when and where they study, and at what pace. Students can access video archives of live lectures and don’t have to fret if their plans change.

It’s not uncommon for our military students might begin their studies in LA, and then next log in from Afghanistan. One student watched a lecture from her son’s baseball game. Other students join in from the beach or a family ski trip. Imagine studying with a view of the ocean. Imagine a classroom with walls of your choice. You choose your learning environment.

Diversity

A large percentage of online learners are approaching higher education after a long time away from the classroom. Now that they’ve settled into a particular lifestyle or have a family to care for, picking up and moving to a new city for school doesn’t fit. But you don’t have to move to a college campus across the country to pursue higher education!

We love that our students are considered “non-traditional.” They’re the ones who bring real-world experiences to our virtual classroom, adding value and depth to our discussions. We hope to be the answer to the worry that so many adult learners have: do I belong in the classroom? ALU wants to answer you now with a resounding, Yes!

More one-on-one attention

One misconception about online classrooms is that they are impersonal, but we don’t forgo connections with students just because we can’t shake hands. Some students say that their connections are even stronger in their online classrooms than in large lecture halls with teachers they’d had in the past. In a large lecture hall, a shy student might refrain from raising their hand. Questions often go unasked because it seems an impossible gap to cross.

But imagine a classroom in which your instructor answers your individual questions without raising your hand. A student can Private Message an instructor during a lecture, and the instructor may answer the question immediately for the whole class. If a student misses a live lecture and views the recording later, they can email the professor their questions instead, and expect a thoughtful response within twenty-fours.

This increased interaction between teacher and student, which the online model invites, means an expanded understanding of what kind of learner each student is. With the online model, an instructor’s pedagogy can evolve and shift based on the needs of the students.

In online classrooms, despite rumor to the contrary, the default is individualized attention. It might take some getting used to, but our platform is welcoming

Affordability

So many students at traditional schools have suffocating student loans that follow them for decades after graduation. But you don’t have to go into debt to earn your degree.

Because there’s no overhead for a well-manicured brick-and-mortar campus, online schools can keep their tuition low. We want our students to graduate debt-free. The average tuition at a traditional school is $85,000. The average tuition at an online school is $30,000.

Every teacher’s wish is for education to be accessible. We believe that the online model is a step in the right direction.

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