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University of Maine at Fort Kent • 23 University Drive, Fort Kent, ME 04743

Advantages of Online Learning in Higher Education

July 5, 2017
Posted by: David Sands

photo of a desk containing glasses, a book, a pen, and a note pad. The note pad contains the words distance education and doodling

For those interested in starting or going back to school for an advanced degree, going to a university in-person isn’t always the only option. In fact, some of the most exciting and innovative evolutions in modern learning environments are happening outside of the classroom. While some people might be opposed to the change in learning style, online education offers a number of benefits for students and educators alike.

Learn Anytime, Anywhere

One of the strongest arguments in favor of online learning is the ability for students to connect with teachers regardless of location. Not all young adults and working professionals have the funds or time available to sit in a physical classroom for several hours each day. Online learning, also referred to as distance education/learning, lets students and instructors use technology to interact no matter where they are or what time of day it is. Combined with the prevalence of smartphones and other mobile technology, today’s learners have unparalleled access to materials for any given course whenever they choose. This allows students to learn at their own speed in a comfortable environment.

Versatile Education Tools

No two students are exactly alike; everyone learns the same material differently. Many experts in the education field acknowledge three main styles of learning: visual (learning by watching), audial (learning by listening) and kinesthetic (hands-on approach). Some learn best using one style while others thrive using a variable mixture of the three. Because online education uses a variety of digital tools and technologies, content can be created that falls into each style of learning. Making videos, audio lectures and interactive sections available for any particular topic ensures each student is able to absorb the material in a way that works best for them.

Supplementary Education

For learners that prefer face-to-face interaction with a teacher or aren’t familiar with technology, distance learning doesn’t have to be the sole source of course material. Online learning is just as effective as a delivery method for supplementary material for in-person education courses. The versatility of video programs such as Skype also allow students and teachers to connect for one-on-one study sessions, tutoring or clarification about course content.


On average, tuition for online courses is more affordable than the same course being taught in a physical classroom. In addition to the cost of the class itself, distance education allows students to cut back on a number of other expenses. Online students do not worry about having to pay for housing or overpriced mandatory meal plans. Professional adults taking distance course don’t have to pay for transportation or childcare while they complete their coursework. In addition to their lower pricing, most online programs accept the same financial aid that a physical college would. After scholarships and grants, you’ll likely end up paying much less than you expected.

Distance Education in Maine

Distance education can play a significant role in helping you realize your educational goals. Whether you’re taking a few online courses to increase your job skills or combining on-campus courses with distance education options to better fit your schedule, let the University of Maine at Fort Kent help you find educational opportunities outside the classroom. Consistently rated as one of the top four online schools in Maine, UMFK excels in offering a variety of distance education coursework. Contact us today for more information.