A new report from the U.S Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education goes a long way silence those who’ve called e-learning not beneficial. According to the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement, learning needs and adult distance learners are served very well through online degree courses – perhaps even better than they are through traditional classroom learning. It finds that online students, most of whom are adults, are more engaged and more satisfied than students in brick and mortar classrooms.
Amazingly, the study found that a key e-learning benefit is a higher degree of interaction with professors. NSSE’s research into learning needs and adult distance learners concludes that students taking online courses today communicate more with teachers more than classroom students. Karen Miller, a professor of education at the University of Louisville who studies online learning, explained to Inside Higher Ed that in a traditional classroom, students can easily pretend to be engaged. “You can nod and make contact; your mind can be a million miles away.” In an undergraduate or adult education program online, however, she said “you’ve got to respond. You’ve got to key in your comments on the discussion board, you’ve got to take part in the group activities.”
Several commentators said that previous studies have underestimated e-learning benefits by not looking closely enough at the relationship between learning needs and adult distance learners. Up until now, they argue, most researchers have looked at how typical college-age students perform online, when they should be looking more closely at more focused and harder-working adult learners, who make up about 75% of those studying online currently.
Finding your most appropriate online computer college.