Is Online Educational Courses really worth it ?
Recently there has been a lot of debate in western countries regarding the benefits of online educational courses. Though the scenario in India is different, keeping these debates in mind might help you make the right decision.
These days it has become easier to log in to any website and avail free or comparatively cheaper online courses. These courses are advertised in a way that students who are pursuing them might think of them as tools to boost their careers, get better jobs and salaries. But is it really happening in reality? A lot of questions are now being raised in western countries about the quality of these courses.These courses are being evaluated under various parameters to find out if they are really beneficial for you as they are portrayed.
Though this debate is going on in other countries, the picture looks starkly different in India. In 2015, a survey to find out the worldwide impact of the online courses was conducted by Coursera and researchers at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Washington. This survey clearly showed that the online courses were received significantly better in India than other countries. The sample size of this survey was around 54, 954 in which the finding clearly indicated that Indians performed better than anyone else. In this survey, 82% Indians have been quoted to have received career advancement while 76% have received educational advancement. The survey has also revealed that 30% more Indians are expected to join the pool of online learners.
Looking at these statistics, one can say that Indian population have responded well to the online courses. And there are various reasons for that such as:
- Lack of Updated Syllabus
- Inaccessibility to good traditional education
- Lack of time for professionals to pursue traditional courses
- Online courses are financially affordable than offline regular courses.
In a country like India, wherein over 50% of population is below 25 years of age, there are many hungry for knowledge minds to cater. That is why we saw University Grants Commission (UGC) giving a nod to universities for providing online degree courses from June 2018.
If we consider these statistics and information, then it’s quite clear that Indian people are looking to pursue online courses for various reasons. The discussion about the these courses being worthwhile may not have reached India yet, but it might arrive soon. So, let’s take a look at what is this conversation about and how it can affect online learners.
Quality Check is Necessary:
Many publications have reported that a certain known company in USA that provides online courses came under scrutiny because it was selling pirated content as it’s course. The course was available for only $15. In USA, wherein going to a university for higher studies is considered as a privilege, such online courses are considered as more affordable alternatives.
But with this piracy issue, the quality of these online courses has been the hot conversation on social media. There is no mechanism in place to check their quality and be certain about their benefits. Lack of such a mechanism might lead to substandard quality of courses that may not suffice the need of the learners. So, if you are planning to take an online course you should deeply research about what other learners are saying and if the material provided by the course is authentic.
Too Many Options are creating confusion
Though India is a large market for all e-learning companies, there are still too many options available for people. Your social media timelines are bombarded with the advertisements of such courses. Also, there are always free and paid options. So, a learner may be confused about which options to choose from as finding a right course is vital for them.
The beauty of these courses is that unlike the traditional offline courses, they don’t have a set time frame. You can take them up anytime and to complete them, you would get ample amount of time.Hence too many options might cause confusion and just delay the process of decision making.
You might end up not completing them
As mentioned above, these courses do not have a set time frame, that also puts pressure off learners. Many online learners end up not completing most of the courses they have paid for. In terms of free courses, there is hardly any pressure of completing them, hence it is easy to find even more reasons to leave the course.
It may sound cliché, but we are used to having pressure of assignments and completing the exams in the certain time frame in the traditional set up of education. These same rules are hardly applied for online courses which is yet another drawback.
Online Courses may not land you a job
This is an important fact that every Indian learner should keep in mind. Short term online courses which are not recognized officially by the Indian government and the UGC may not help you land a job.
Ensure that you are pursuing these courses to upgrade your skills, gain more knowledge about your field of study or profession but don’t be under the impression that these alone could land you a job. These online courses could give you an advantage over other candidates but that’s it. So, when it comes to Indian market, you can think about doing them for additional qualification.
To sum up!
After listing a series of questions and queries that online communities have raised about the courses, there are certain things that we need. We need a mechanism to properly give ratings to these courses and evaluate their course material quality. Also, those pursuing online courses can share their experiences on social media or start a discussion by creating forums or online communities. Such informal structures could really help students from any background to choose the right course for him or her.
So,the conclusion is that research well before taking up a course.Also, consider them as additional qualifications unless you are taking a properly certified course from top institutions under UGC.