Boston.com has announced that Ithaka S+R, a non-profit think tank, has indicated that online education is as effective as face to face instruction. The study run by Ithaka S+R compared two introductory statistics courses, one taught in the traditional classroom setting and one based on the Internet. Richard Smith of Almeda University is happy to see many large educational facilities, including Tufts, Harvard, and MIT, acknowledge the value that online education presents. Furthermore, Smith reinforces the benefits that this learning process provides to students.
The previously cited article asserts that two important ideas are taken from this new study. First, that online education does work as well as a classroom curriculum, even if it is working in a different way. Second, that all students-not just those considered to be “elite”-can benefit from this learning model.
“Almeda University is pleased to see Tufts University finally admitting that online learning is a valuable and significant form of education delivery,” commented Smith, Almeda University Executive. “Although they draw the line at admitting that online education bests traditional education, Almeda University thinks differently. While online instruction clearly does not provide the social aspect of traditional instruction, it has additional values that are not immediately evident and apparent. Online delivery of instruction is a learning curve that involves not just learning the subject matter, but learning to process it online. Once a student has mastered the art of learning online, the knowledge gained is invaluable.”
Smith knows that the benefits of Internet-based education rest in more than the flexibility that it provides to students. By taking courses online, students have new technology at their disposal. Additionally, their educations can continue to evolve, while classroom-based degrees, in some fields, tend to become obsolete.
“Students find they have a higher retention rate than they do in classroom settings,” Smith explains. “Additionally, the online learning model usually allows repeat and playback for missed words or reinforcement. Finally, and most importantly, the ability to learn online does not expire. Oftentimes a traditional university degree based on classroom learning will have no value ten years after education is completed. There is no value in a computer programming degree from 1975. However, with online learning, this same computer programmer may have continued his or her education, studying the latest innovations in technology.”