Online education is spreading across the globe like a wildfire fueled by textbooks and periodic tables. Millions who previously thought that a college degree was firmly out of their reach to have discovered that all it takes to attend college in today’s world are the combination of a few free hours each day and access to the Internet. Perhaps because of the ease of taking classes at one’s leisure, online education continues to be a growing trend in the United States and around the world.
Online Education Equals Big Business
Originally conceived as a way for adults to earn a GED or college degree later in life than usual, online education or “distance learning” has spread to the point that people of all ages are now involved. Children as young as the fourth-grade level now have access to online education in many areas, using it as a supplement to or in place of traditional classes. This translates into dollars and sense for the business community and, according to a November 2004 report on CNN’s website; it was predicted as early as 2001 that online education would become a $23 billion industry by the end of 2004.
With Online Education Everybody Wins
Part of the appeal to online education is that it is literally good for everyone. Educators can enter a new job market in writing and implementing an online curriculum and can use this income to supplement the earnings that receive from classroom education. Students of all ages have an alternative to traditional classes in which they can learn without the interference of other students’ behavioral interruptions. Adults who may have missed out on their high school diplomas or college degrees now have the opportunity, through online education, to complete or further their studies without the scheduling problems that may have made this impossible in the past. The public benefits from saved tax dollars; every student that participates in an online educational program represents a reduced burden on the taxpayer-funded public education system. Finally, online education offers businesses the chance to educate their workforce at a lower cost and the benefit of a generation of computer literate and more highly educated prospective employees entering the job market.
Online education saves time, money, and offers the opportunity to those who may have never had it in the past. It may truly be the wave of the future.
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