What Are The Myths Surrounding Online Learning?

As more and more universities offer fully accredited psychology degrees online, this leaves many people wondering is an online psychology degree as respectable as a traditional on campus degree? Despite the growing trend of online learning, there are still a number of myths surrounding online education. An article written by John Ebersole and published by the New York Times, The Myths of Online Learning, outlined and disputed the top six negative opinions surrounding an online education.

Myth #1 – Online Learning Decreases the Need for Faculty Members

The reality is that an equal amount of faculty, if not more, is required for the smooth operation of online learning. Courses cannot just be “set up” and allowed to run autonomously. In order for an online psychology program to have achieved accreditation, the school must prove that students are receiving direct interaction from qualified faculty. In addition, class sizes are typically much smaller in an online learning setting. This means that more faculty members are required to lead these courses.

Myth #2 – All Online Courses Are the Same

This myth includes not only all online courses are the same, but the opinion that all online courses are equally boring and simplistic. This is simply not the case. With the addition of things like Whiteboard capability, video instruction, online research tools, video conferencing and advanced graphics, some professors claim that online learning gives them more flexibility to be creative in their lesson plans.

Myth #3 – The Quality Of Outcomes Is Less For Online Students

Extensive research has been conducted over the course of the past twenty years to compare learning outcomes online versus in the classroom. This research has shown that, throughout the country, the level of success for online learning is on par with traditional classroom learning. Some studies have even shown a slight edge in favor of online programs.

Myth #4 – Online Degree Programs Are Offered Mainly By For-Profit Organizations

There was a time when for-profit businesses, not accredited colleges and universities, offered the bulk of online degree programs. This is no longer true. Across the United States, the majority of universities (including nationally ranked, highly respected institutions) are offering online learning.

Myth #5 – Online Degrees Are Not Accepted by Employers

Nationwide surveys asking potential employers their feelings about hiring applicants with online degrees, have overwhelming agreed that they feel positively about hiring these individuals. In many cases potential employers are not even aware that a degree was earned online. What employers are most concerned with is whether or not the degree comes from an accredited college or university. This factor was by far more important than the setting in which the degree was earned.

Myth #6 – You Do Not Know If The Person Doing The Work Is The Person Receiving Credit

Unfortunately, this myth is true of both online and on campus learning. Technological advances have made it easier than ever for students to pass off work that is not their own. Most colleges and universities are now taking measures to minimize plagiarism and hold individuals students accountable for completing their own work.

Because online learning continues to grow, fewer and fewer people hold these negative and largely un-true opinions. In the early years of online learning there were definite limitations and problems. As the idea of ELearning has continued to grow, most of these issues have been solved and the practice of an online college education has grown tremendously. As the myths of online learning become dispelled, more individuals can feel comfortable seeking an online psychology degree.