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Cyberlearning and Traditional Learning Among Adult Students

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Cyberlearning is defined as the use of communication technologies and networked computing to support learning. It has the potential to transform education and enable customized interaction with some diverse learning materials for different topics found on the internet. Cyberlearning supports continuous education at various ages. The controversy behind Cyberlearning as an integral part of learning and teaching process in higher education is growing as fast as technology (Anne, 2000). There are some empirical studies that provide comprehensive tests on the effectiveness of Cyberlearning. Some of the findings show that Cyberlearning is as effective as traditional classroom learning (U.S Department of Education, 2010). Interests in Cyberlearning get fueled by a variety of economic and social pressures including pressures to expand access to higher education. There are concerns about lowering the cost of higher education and providing lifelong learning to college students. Cyberlearning gets fueled by the development of computer technology and the lower prices of internet.  A report compiled by the United States department of education indicated that there has been not enough research conducted on Cyberlearning (Cuban & Peck, 2001). The report indicate that the learning effects of traditional learning setting and those of online have not been fully analyzed. The system has both advantages and disadvantages discussed. In my opinion, colleges dealing with adult students should adopt Cyberlearning but, supervision should be done.

One of the merits of Cyberlearning is that students get provided with a great access to information and a wide variety of educational resources. It is a cost-effective method of providing more individualized instructions and accommodation of different learning styles. Online education offers instructions that are better than those given in the traditional classroom and students like their classes (Christine, 2005). Using technology during teaching and learning promotes greater involvement in the process and individual responsibility for learning. Cyberlearning promotes the constructivist theory of education that encourages students to construct internal representation of knowledge (Anne, 2000). This happens through interacting with mat5erials to be learnt in a collaborative setting.

The review of research literature used in Cyberlearning shows that most of the published literature gets based on case studies. There is a detailed description of personal experiences when instructional technology in used in a classroom. Such studies do not provide quantitative data regarding the effectiveness of Cyberlearning conditions. Students’ especially adult students are able to access detailed information from the internet based on case studies.

There is flexibility and convenience when one chooses to have Cyberlearning instead of traditional classroom setting. This is advantageous for the adult students. They are able to schedule around their work and their families. They are able to take classes when they are free since time is flexible. In this way, one allocates the appropriate time for his or her studies. Cyberlearning is self paced. An adult student can study at his own pace. Different people have different paces of learning. There are those who learn at a fast pace than others. In Cyberlearning, one can learn and absorb at his own pace since it allows for review and reference (Cuban & Peck, 2001). Cyberlearning provides the opportunity to hear a lecture more than once. In a traditional classroom a lecture is not repeated. The other advantage of Cyberlearning is the comprehensiveness of lectures. Printout of slides summarized can be made. The lectures are well prepared and, nothing gets skipped unlike in a live lecture. The lectures contain all necessary materials needed in the course.

Cyberlearning has got various disadvantages to adult students. The first issue is the lack of interaction with the professors and fellow students. The adult student who uses Cyberlearning is unable to ask questions to the professors since there are no chances to hear comments from other students. One of the ideas of a school is to come and share ideas with other students and teachers. A student who uses Cyberlearning feels disconnected from the class. Another issue is the problems associated with equipment. There may be a problem with the technology whereby one becomes doomed. The technology used is manmade and is prone to errors such as systems breakdown or power failure. When this happens, the class gets interfered with unlike in the traditional classroom setup. The other issue is about missing of essential course materials (Dede, Honan & Peters, 2005). Some necessary materials may be missed from the live lectures including real examples. The discussions in the classrooms provided by lecturers may not be available in the online materials. The student lacks some main explanations that may not be presented in the materials. Cyberlearning requires self-direction. One must have self-discipline in order to study through the internet. The problem of procrastination and lack of self discipline exist among various people. This leads to reduced motivation in learning and the student eventually drops from the class.

Cyberlearning among adult students and the other college students should be implemented. Educators are increasingly creating a blended learning environment that is incorporating both traditional and Cyberlearning methods. A blend of the two can work far much better.  Students should learn in an adult-supervised school environment during part of their studies. Online or Cyberlearning is a vital component to promote student learning opportunities. We are likely to see an increased growth rate among students enrolled in computer-based courses. Students studying from home should be supervised. When they get allowed to work without supervision from a qualified teacher, they may create a roadblock towards their success.

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