Online education has opened doors to non-traditional students in many ways. Those that have families, a full-time job, or simply a fast-paced lifestyle, typically use online degree programs to “obtain or upgrade their degree”. However, online education is not the same as traditional learning – from the delivery of information to classroom interaction. To that end, many students fail or drop out before completion. Below are some reasons that explain why some students don’t succeed in online education.
1. Not used to an online setting.
If someone is used to face-to-face interaction with other students and the teacher, then they may not be prepared for the lack of face-face-face interaction. Most of the dialogue and discussion will take place in forums and chatrooms, with a rare phone call or two.
2. Professors may assign more work to their online class in order to make up for the lack of face-to-face dialogue.
Online learners may sometimes be surprised at the workload they are given when they enroll in an online degree program. Required participation in weekly chat forums and online discussion groups can be an added demand.
3. Attending classes at home means added distractions.
Students who have children at home or other distractions, may find it hard to complete their course work in a timely manner. Those that work full-time will need to work at night and on the weekends. Using a home computer or laptop will also mean the temptation to surf the web.
4. Software is not up to date or the inability to use software easily.
If a student does not have the right technology to log in to the classes, or if they are not tech-savvy enough to use the software, it can be a huge limitation to completing their course and successfully earning their degree.
5. Poor time-management skills – unable to keep up with deadlines and workload.
Students need to have good time-management skills to be successful in online education programs. Despite the “work at your own pace” attitude, there are deadlines for each assignment and test. The responsibility is left to the student for completing each assignment for all their classes, regardless of constraints professionally or personally.
Despite these potential roadblocks, if students take the proper steps when researching and preparing for the courses, they will succeed in overcoming “these challenges and give [them] a better chance of completing those online courses and [their] degree.”
Experts suggest that the student sign into the online classroom at “least once a day at least six days a week” to keep updated on work and teacher comments. If the student keeps pace in the established time frame, completion of the course is more manageable than when they miss new assignments or deadlines. Just like in a traditional setting, it is hard to catch up to the rest of the class, especially if an online environment is unfamiliar to the student.