Online Learning is Totally Awesome, or is It? The Top 5 Disadvantages of Online Learning.

Getting an online degree can be convenient, effective and in some ways, easy. However, everything worth doing comes with a price. And certainly there are disadvantages to online learning. Following are five of the most important disadvantages of online learning for you to consider as you decide how to forward your career and education.

1. Private online schools are expensive.

The first schools that entered into the playing field of online learning were private, for profit schools that saw an opening and jumped in. Many of these schools have been working on developing online learning as a whole, and their own programs in particular, for 20 years, and they are doing great. However, due to their private, for-profit nature they are expensive, often much more expensive than state run schools. The cost is one of the biggest disadvantages of online learning.

2. State online schools are inexperienced.

While for-profit schools are expensive, state online schools are relatively inexperienced, having only really started to dabble in online education in the past few years. Some schools have rather well developed programs, others simply post video recordings of their traditional course lectures online, which is not effective and certainly represents one of the greatest disadvantages of online learning.

3. Online learning requires discipline.

When you attend a traditional school you face the pressure of sitting in class with other people who did their homework, looking at a teacher who has their hands open waiting to accept your work. This is something like the concept behind a weigh-in at a weight loss program – the in personal accountability makes you more likely to do what you are supposed to do. However, in an online course you do not have this in-person accountability; it can be easier to not do your work without someone looking right at you. Thus, one of the disadvantages of online learning is that you must be disciplined and self-motivated to truly succeed.

4. Online learning can ignore real world experience or labs.

Another of the disadvantages of online learning is that it can be challenging to get real world experience in certain fields or programs. For example, how can you truly practice nursing in an online environment? You can learn a lot, but you need that real world practice. Online learning most often deals with this by requiring internships and practicums that provide the necessary experience.

5. The validity of online learning is sometimes doubted.

Among the disadvantages of online learning, perhaps the worst – and least deserved – is that the validity of online learning is sometimes doubted. While many educated people are realizing that online learning is extremely rigorous, there are still people who doubt it and think that online students are simply buying a degree. Time should remedy this situation as more people with online degrees venture out successfully into the workplace.

As with anything in life, there definitely are disadvantages of online learning. However, there are also many advantages that for a lot of people outweigh the bad. Be sure to read our article, “The Top 5 Advantages of Online Education” to learn more about the positives of this way of learning.

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