Generally speaking, online education is now seen as the future of modern education. It is hard to argue with this because of the fact that there are huge advantages associated with online education. The problem is that some of the advantages can quickly become disadvantages for some people. S R Buzzi highlights that online learning is not actually for everyone.
All this brings us to the topic of technology. Most people think that technology is a huge advantage of online education but if we look at things with a different lens, we do see that there can be some disadvantages associated with the technology that is mandatory in online education. This is what we are going to discuss.
Accessibility And Equity
Before online programs can succeed, students have to be able to access them. A lack of access, given by logistics or economical reasons, can easily lead to lack of eligibility. When taking a closer look at rural areas and neighborhoods that have lower socioeconomic strength, people do not actually have access to the technology that is needed.
Remember that when students cannot actually afford the technology that is required by the education institution, they are lost. Internet accessibility is not at all universal. There are even parts of the US where internet access simply does not exist. Also, it is sometimes possible that internet access is a high cost for the user.
Required New Technologies And Skills
When you are not computer-savvy or you have difficulties in learning new technologies, online education is not really going to be a good option. Online students need to learn brand new skills, like reviewing and researching the internet. People that have been using the internet for a long time will not see this as a problem but those that never used a computer will surely find it difficult. Technical support and training are normally available for both instructors and learners but the hard truth is not all people can get all the new skills and technologies needed for online learning.
Both facilitators and students need to possess a minimum computer knowledge level in order to successfully function in online learning environments. For instance, it is important to be able to properly use search engines, all with complete comfort while navigating the internet. In some cases the students also have to be familiar with FTP or newsgroups. Email access is something that is quite obviously needed. When such technology tools are not possessed, it is close to impossible to succeed in online programs. Faculty members or students that cannot properly function on a given system can easily drag the program down.
Last but not least, if the online program wants to be successful, there is a need to use reliable and user-friendly technology. The problem is that even highly sophisticated technology does not stand out as being 100 percent reliable. Equipment used in all online programs eventually fails. The most common example of failure is having a server that goes down.