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Busting the Myths of Online Education

Student learning online on internet

Military education counselors have noticed an increasing number of their students signing up for online distance learning courses. The most recent report by The Babson Survey Research Group confirms the continued rise in the popularity of online education.  The report shows the following substantial increases in online enrollments over the last few years:

  • Over 5.3 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2013 term; a 5.7 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 3.7 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.

 * 2014 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group

Although the number of students enrolling in online education is growing, some servicemembers and veterans still fear going "online" for their education. One possible cause for student wariness may be the number of "urban myths" that circulate about the online education experience. The following is a list of urban myths regarding online education:

Myth: Students are not as satisfied with online education.
At least 97 percent of students surveyed said they were "at least as satisfied." According to the survey- this is true for all types and sizes of institutions.

Myth: Online Education is a flash in the pan - It won't be around for the long term.
According to the number of enrollments noted above the rate of growth has increased. In addition - chief academic officers believe in it.  In addition, 74 percent of U.S. Public Colleges see online as a critical element of their long-term strategies. Simply put, online education isn't going away anytime soon.

Myth: An online degree is not real.
An online degree from an accredited school is just as real as a degree you would earn by traditional means. In fact, many traditional education programs allow students to take online or hybrid courses - courses that combine online and classroom time. In most cases your diploma will not even reflect that it was earned online.

Myth: All online courses require students to log-on at the same time every week.
Most online courses are now offered in an asynchronous format, which allows students to log on when they are able, not all at the same time.

Of the many online education myths at least one has been substantiated:

Myth: Online students need self-discipline.
Confirmed: Online students need to be focused on their goals and need to have self-discipline to do well. Think of online education as a trade-off; what is gained in flexibility must be made up for in personal drive and determination.

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