Are Online Degree Programs as Rigorous as Traditional Ones?

By Susan McGuire posted 9 days ago


Online education provides a more affordable and flexible path to academic and career development. Some people may wonder whether online education is as rigorous as traditional degree programs. The answer is that some certainly are just as rigorous while others may not be. 

Higher education should be rigorous and the flexibility online programs offer does not necessarily translate into smaller or easier workloads. More and more trusted schools are offering online degree programs today and as they do, respect for them continues to grow. 

The amount of support students receive matters

The option to learn online offers more flexibility but it can be challenging for students to keep to a schedule and motivate themselves. They need time management skills and certain technological skills for completing electronic assignments. Students may have even more reading and writing to do than when doing traditional programs. 

However, the amount of support students receive can make a difference. When doing an online degree at Abraham Lincoln University, students receive technological, administrative and academic support. It is important for online educators to use technology in creative ways to offer support and provide the appropriate scaffolding to ensure the success of their students. 

Students must research to find the right online programs

Ensuring that an online program is as rigorous as a traditional one is often largely up to the student. Students need to research a respectable traditional program and then compare online course requirements, textbooks and other learning materials. They need to read student reviews and check the accreditations of online programs. 

It is possible for students to do thorough research and find an online program that offers them the rigor they require and challenges them intellectually or to settle for one that could be inferior. 

With the proper accreditation standards and processes, an online degree can definitely be as good as a traditional degree. Students who require a bachelor’s degree or even master’s programs in a chosen field can find an accredited online college. 

Networking matters

Online degree programs may require more resourcefulness and networking from students. A high-quality online program usually uses similar course material to a traditional program which means it is possible to collaborate with other students and ask questions. 

It is still possible when learning online to connect with professors and peers but students need to proactively seek them out. Professors at many online learning institutions are accessible and actively engage with students. There may not be physical offices or physical libraries to visit but most online programs provide the equivalent in virtual resources for students. 

Students often perform better online

Students often perform better in online conditions than when learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction. This is because online learning caters to different learner types with different content types. 

The use of a great deal of video content, for example, can help visual learners to absorb information better. Those that might not be successful in a traditional setting may find they can succeed in an online setting. 

Employees accept online degrees 

Many employees now accept online degrees, according to the experts, although some still go for traditional graduates. Acceptance is growing as more respected universities begin to offer online programs. It is true that there are some online degree programs that are not widely respected by employers but these are the exceptions to the rule. 

Many online degree programs give students training in the skills they need for their chosen careers. They strive to teach students real-world skills using engaging technology and this may prepare them better for employment than traditional education.