Education has always been about gaining knowledge. However, the methods that people use to gain knowledge have been changing dramatically over the years, mainly thanks to the emergence of online learning. Brick-and-mortar campuses obviously still exist, but the way people choose to earn their degree looks very different to the traditional models. More and more, students are adopting a self-paced approach. Here’s a look back at how technology has changed the way students learn…
The Rise of the Online University
The nineties was a big decade for businesses adopting the newly accessible technology of the internet, and marked the emergence of the first online universities. Higher education institutions had been using personal computers and local networks for some time, but the emergence of online universities finally gave people the flexibility to earn a degree without having to sit in a physical lecture hall. The freedom this opened up was exceedingly popular. Through the noughties, the number of students who were taking online degrees almost doubled, and today hundreds of accredited institutions offer online degrees.
Blending the Digital and the Physical
The success of the first online degrees which ran through the nineties inspired a lot of existing colleges to fuse digital learning resources with their own courses. The result was a blended form of learning, which was characterised by a balance of face-to-face and computer-oriented education. Over time, this has given rise to more advanced products and educational structures, offered by emerging companies like HighPoint. Today, online portals are a common tool in pretty much all university courses in the US. Entirely online and hybrid learning opportunities are offered by many reputable colleges.
MOOC: Knowledge to the Masses
The internet has given rise to various new types of online education, and aside from its considerable impact on traditional higher education institutions, it’s also formed completely new ways for students to develop their knowledge and skills. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offer all the great accessibility of online learning, and are free to absolutely anyone with internet access. The first one of these was launched in Canada in 2008, and since then the platforms have been used to supplement in-school learning, and offer entire courses up to anyone. The platform really came into its own in 2012, and now there are countless millennial graduates who owe their degrees to an MOOC.
Ultimate Flexibility with New Online Degrees
One of the most recent ways in which higher education has been influenced by tech is the emergence of new, super-flexible online degrees. These new models have offered greater flexibility and accessibility to countless students, adding self-paced learning and real-world experience into the mix. Go looking for an online degree today, and you’re likely to find institutions that will allow you to earn an advanced qualification on your own schedule, setting your own due dates and deadlines. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve mastered the given material, you can then determine when you demonstrate your competency and move onto the next stage.