Special learning needs and time constraints may make online learning attractive

Online learning is attractive to a number of individuals with special needs.
Online learning is attractive to a number of individuals with special needs.

The Southwestern College Sun recently highlighted the types of students who are best served by online education.

Many of these degree seekers balance eight-hour work shifts, hectic personal lives and frequent travel. The learning needs of these students may prepare them for web-based learning. Some may learn visually and are best benefited by video tutorials. Others may be auditory learners, who would be be distracted by the chatter and background noise that often accompanies a busy classroom. A night owl may have trouble focusing during a 7 am sociology class on campus.

Working over the internet allows all these students to work at their own pace. They may also have time for activities that traditional learning settings would impede. For instance, single parents may be able to attend their children's sports activities. Disabled students can participate in classroom discussions over the web, when travel to campus proves difficult or impossible.

Approximately 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall of 2008, according to a 2009 report published by the Sloan Consortium. The number of online enrollments increased by 17 percent from the year before.

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