Tooele County School District

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Digital Education Center » Myths and Realities of Online Learning

Myths and Realities of Online Learning

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Myth #1  Online learning is a breeze (easy).
Reality:  Online learning is different than a traditional, "sit and get" method.  For some, online learning may be easier based on pacing (time it takes to understand presented information), for others online learning is more difficult as it requires substantial self-motivation to be successful.
Myth #2  Online learning can be done quickly.
Reality:  Every content delivery system (CDS), content management system (CMS) and information repository takes time for learners to view video, listen to lectures/speeches and read information that has been carefully organized for each learner.  While some sites allow content to be fast-forwarded, the truth is, authentic learning takes time and effort.  
Myth #3  Anyone can be successful as a full-time online learner.
Reality:  Most students don't start out as full-time online learners, generally they take a single online course and then evaluate their successes/challenges before signing up for additional courses.  Courses that are typically difficult for students in a traditional setting may actually be more difficult online, as access to the instructor may be limited due to distance, time and/or method of communication (e.g. face-to-face, email, telephone, video conferencing etc.)  
Myth #4  Online schools lack rigor.
Reality: Not every online school is created equal. Successful online schools endure, attract students that are well suited to online learning and retain staff that are exceptional at communicating in both traditional and non-traditional methods (e.g. email, blogs, wiki's, video conferencing, websites, instant messaging).  Successful online schools have rigor when they provide instruction that is thorough, curriculum that is robust and teachers that are subject matter experts which have substantial experience and advanced degrees.
Myth #5 Cheating is more common in online schools.
Reality:  Cheating can occur in both traditional and in online courses; however, experts indicate that there is not an elevated instance of cheating in online schools as compared to traditional schools.  Students can find sites write papers for them or that provide answers to quizzes and tests but successful schools often use software suites that identifies plagiarism and requires students to take cumulative exams in a proctored environment that greatly reduces the instances of cheating.
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