Virtual Learning
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Online Education
A Review of the Literature
Online education has become a widely accepted alternative to learning in the classroom. Distance education has helped students across the country educate themselves in a world were technology rules and fast paced lifestyles are a part of life. The main advantages of distance learning are: Convenience eliminates travel to a traditional classroom and the freedom to learn at any time are some of the main reasons why so many people opt to learn online. However along with the many perks of an online education there are some disadvantages that follow. Some educators believe that although online education is changing the way that people learn and how many people do learn, that the learning experiences from a the classroom are irreplaceable and are much more valuable to the student. Educators have drawn quite different conclusions in addressing the following questions:

How to accommodate different learning styles online?
What is the quality of instruction online instruction?
Should students forsake the classroom and learn online?
This review of the literature on online education focuses on these three questions.
How to accommodate different learning styles online?
Millions of people worldwide are using the Internet to share information, make new associations and communicate. Individuals and businesses, from students and journalists, to consultants, programmers and corporate giants are all harnessing the power of the Internet. Even though the internet is so successful at connecting students worldwide many teachers feel that online learning reduces students intellectual skills. To help cope with this problem different learning styles must be taken into consideration. Student learners are either visual, verbal, physical; logical, aural, social; solitary or a combination of each. Knowledge of student learning preferences can aid in class preparation, designing class delivery methods, choosing appropriate technologies, and developing sensitivity to differing student learning preferences within the distance education environment.

Dr. Roderick A. Munro is and Dr.Elizabeth J. Rich-Munro wrote an article called Learning styles, Teaching Approaches and Technology. They conducted research of the pro and cons of e-learning along with some feedback obtained from students and teachers beliefs about distance education. The article explains that depending on what approaches your teacher chooses to take towards how the material is organized and presented decides how much a student will actually learn. They discuss behavioral, cognitive, constructivist; humanist theories of teaching. The article explains that behavioral teachers determine what objectives the learner should achieve and monitors the learners behaviors however constructivist believe that learners engage, grapple, and seek to make sense by becoming involved in the learning process not just by responding to stimuli as behaviorist would suggest (Roderick &Elizabeth Munro, p.28 pg. 6-7).While cognitive teachers give learners control by introducing conceptual frameworks and relying on the learner to build connections and humanist instruction involves learners in all stages, including planning to ensure that we understand the relevance of the topics (Roderick &Elizabeth Munro, p.28 pg. 9-10). Educators believe that taking account for many learning styles in an online course would be impossible but not making an active attempt could devastate the students learning.

The author believes that teachers need to give students reasonable opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills. Instructors must realize that students need more organization, clear tasks, interactivity, and some sort of visual aide to make learning online enjoyable. Roderick & Elizabeth Munro believes that too much content is transferred directly from classroom courses to e-learning courses. Most courses offer only brief outlines on the topic and links from the book to partner sites that only include more useless outlines and daunting reading. Instructors are not even taking care in developing tests that require the student to use the knowledge acquired. Students have commented that some tests refer to information that seemed so insignificant that the cheated in order to pass. Many students admitted to cheating because the instructor would just quote cited authors or writers in the book and take information from 4 or 5 pages when they had to read 30 page chapters full of information. Roderick & Elizabeth Munro argued that to avoid this problem teachers should provide useful links to expert websites not just sites provided by the book. Websites that should contain audio and video segments, simulations, games etc (Roderick & Elizabeth Munro, p.30 pg.7).

What is the quality of instruction online instruction?
It is known that some students expect that online courses be taught similar to the traditional classroom. This expectancy provides a problem for educators trying to make learning online promising for all. An article called Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction by Dr. Yi Yang and Dr. Linda F. Cornelious from the Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership, and Workforce Development Mississippi State University wrote an interesting article concerning online instruction. They stated that in online courses students tend to work together more often collaborately while the instructors acts as a facilitator. So the role of the teacher becomes equally important in the learning but not as nearly as important as the students are in their own learning. The students are learning to teach themselves concepts without verbal cues or face to face interaction. Therefore it is important for the teacher to make sure that instructions for any assignment are clear and concise and that as much information can be given without giving all the answers. With a growing number of students entering online courses instruction quality becomes an important issue. An excerpt from the article reads:

The U.S. Department of Education, revealed that more than 54,000 online courses were being offered in 1998, with over 1.6 million students enrolled (Lewis, et al., 1999). Moreover, Allen and Seaman (2003) in their study on online education reported that: (a) over 1.6 million students took at least one online course during the Fall of 2002, (b) over one-third of these students (578,000) took all of their courses online, (c) among all U.S. higher education students in Fall 2002, 11 percent took at least one online course,

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Online Education And Dr. Roderick A. Munro. (July 3, 2021). Retrieved from