Online Learning in 2024 - What is it & What are the benefits?

Many students were first introduced to online learning for the first time because of Covid-19-related school closures. As the closures extended, students and parents alike began to have stronger opinions on the learning style.

On one hand, some strongly disliked learning through a monitor — understandably so! On the other hand, some students enjoyed how flexible online learning was, and thrived with their individual learning styles.

So, is online learning just a weaker, less effective version of in-person class? How does it compare, and what unique advantages does it have over face-to-face school?

What is Online Learning?

Online learning is when students learn in a completely virtual environment with a computer or a smart device, and it’s more common than you might think! 

Think if you or your child has: 

  • Learnt from educational websites (for example: Khan Academy)
  • Done research and written assignments online
  • Handed in work to online learning portals (such as eclass, schoology)
  • Watched an educational video or webinar on Youtube

Surprise! These are all different forms of online learning!

Working with others on shared google docs, and discussing learning topics through zoom are also part of the online learning experience — online collaboration is how students can communicate and learn from different perspectives, fostering important teamwork skills.

Source: AnyDesk

The Advantages of Online Learning

Now that in-person school has resumed for most people, will online learning go away? The answer is: probably not!

Online learning has many advantages that simply cannot be overlooked, such as

1. It’s very interactive!

Boring, one-sided lectures don’t only exist on zoom, they also exist in the classroom! The only way for students to interact with the teacher is to raise their hand and ask a question, which happens rarely both online and offline.

Low interaction level decreases students’ learning motivation, which is something we all don’t want

With the help of online learning tools, there are so many more ways that students and teachers can interact with each other. Teachers can engage students through

  1. Online whiteboards — A shared canvas where students can share their thoughts and questions freely on a topic or subject
  2. Quizzes — Fun and slightly competitive Q&A sessions that tests students’ understanding in an exciting way (think: Kahoot, Quizlet)
  3. Polls — A live, anonymous way to ask for students’ opinion on a subject or response to a prompting question

kid learning with online video experiment
Teachers can even guide students online to do hands-on experiment!

2. Increases learning motivation

Aside from increased interaction, online learning can also increase learning motivation by allowing students to have control over their learning.

In an education system where teachers are the centrepiece of learning, many students adopt the mindset of if the teacher doesn’t teach it, I won’t learn it.”

Online learning gives students access to a wide range of resources on the web and channels to discover new knowledge. With the help of online resources and search engines, students can research and gain a deeper understanding of topics that interest them. 

With this learning style, students are rewarded by satiating their curiosity rather than merely a grade on their report cards, fostering a mindset of continuous learning.

3. Monitor, improve, and repeat!

Most online learning platforms have advanced data systems that track students’ progress and performance. It helps teachers to know what a student needs help with, so the appropriate resources can be allocated to help them.

On the other hand, students can monitor their progress easily and strive to improve. While they shouldn’t obsess over grades, having guidance on what to look out for (eg. careless mistakes) definitely helps students become more responsible and more prepared

4. Easy to look back and recap

Kids are messy, forgetful and easily distracted. Online learning helps with that.

  1. Instead of searching every inch of the house to look for handwritten notes from a semester ago, notes taken via computer are all stored in one place and synced online.
  2. Shared drives and folders allow students to revisit worksheets and powerpoints shown in class. 
  3. Students will never miss the most important part of a lecture with recorded and replayable webinars!

All in all, online learning allows students to access previous resources easily.

Related: Approaches & Development of STEM Education in Hong Kong

5. Flexibility

Deadlines make learning stressful, and many students lose the sense of enjoyment in the learning process from battling with time.

Many students enjoyed online learning because they could learn anytime and anywhere they wanted, at their own pace. 

Motivated students are free to learn and complete assignments the teacher had planned ahead, while others can have more time studying the material with the time they saved from having to travel back and forth from school.

And of course, not having to commute frequently makes learning a more comfortable experience.

6. Improves technological literacy

Last but not least, regular interaction with technology through online learning equips students with adequate technological literacy to maneuver the 21st century.

Much of the work comes from online learning elements of graphic design, video editing or even coding, which are the ways that the world communicates nowadays. This gives students a huge advantage.

Online learning does cause increased screen time, but teachers can use this opportunity to teach about the importance of a balanced lifestyle from an earlier age, preparing them well for the future.

Source: keyschinese, AnyDesk, AhaSlides

Ways You Can Learn Online

1. Online Classes / Videos

A recent study shows that up to 88% of teachers incorporate video into classes at least once a week. Video classes could be in the form of a video live stream, recorded lectures or educational videos

The benefits of online videos include

  1. A deeper understanding of materials
  2. Fits different learning styles
  3. Better retention of knowledge

Example of online learning videos: Big Bang STEAM

2. Online Readers and Textbooks

Online readers are modern alternatives to heavy encyclopedias you can only find in the library! With online readers and textbooks, kids can learn at home or even on vacation!

Benefits of online readers include

  1. Convenient access to a wide range of books 
  2. Relatively cheaper than physical copies
  3. Can include interactive elements such as built-in minigames

Examples of online readers: Khan Academy Kids 

Related: Authoritative and popular science magazines for kids & adults in 2021

3. Interactive games and activities

Kids love interactive online learning games! These types of games and activities could range from online simulation games to video-guided experiment crafts!

Benefits of online learning games include

  1. Exciting learning experiences
  2. Learn problem-solving through trial and error
  3. Using knowledge in real-life scenarios

Examples of online learning games: PBS Kids Games, National Geographic Kids

girl online learning science game
Fun minigames make learning more effective!

How Effective is Online Learning?

Not only can online learning boast effective learning, it also teaches students many valuable skills.

A study found that 60% of students feel that online learning increased learning motivation as well as decreased learning-related stress. Being able to discover new knowledge on their own under a relatively flexible schedule allows students to enjoy the learning process more.

Beyond that, 65% of students found that online learning opened doors to greater and more exciting learning experiences. 

From teachers’ perspective, 80% of schools found that online learning was able to increase learning motivation. 59% of them also believed the medium was able to provide more learning opportunities to students.

With students and teachers both appreciating the benefit, the advantages of online learning are clear!

To sum it up, the benefits of online learning are

  1. Increase learning motivation
  2. Decrease learning-related stress
  3. Provide new learning opportunities


Prepare for the future - Learn STEM online with Big Bang Lab!

Even though in-person school has started again, it doesn’t mean online learning is going to disappear any time soon! 

In fact, educators in Hong Kong have been pushing for online learning for the past 15 years! With new research and innovation, kids will be learning even more online than ever before.

A key advantage of online learning is how accessible it is! Nowadays, people from all walks of life are learning online without having to enrol in school, especially those in the workforce who learn to improve their skill set!

Growing up in an ever-changing world, children will have to constantly learn, adapt and improve in order to succeed. That’s why it’s so important for them to fall in love with learning early on in life and gain learning motivation

Combining Cambridge educator-directed video lessons with interactive hands-on experiments, Big Bang Lab has everything your kids will need to fall in love with STEM! Equip your child with the STEM knowledge and motivated mindset to succeed in the future through

  1. 500+ interactive online science adventures
  2. Two experiment kits shipped to you monthly
  3. Science workbooks and vocabulary books shipped to you monthly


Join Project Alpha to enjoy 1-year access to Big Bang Lab. Fill in the form below to learn more.

📚 Related articles:
1. How to learn science? The best science class for kids in Hong Kong
2.What’s Blended Learning? 3 Advantages It Has On Your Child’s Learning
3. How Do Children Learn Science? 4 Must-read Ways & 4 Useful Tips

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Written By

Maison Li

Maison is a content writer at Big Bang Academy. Inspired by innovation, Maison strives to showcase the latest science learning solutions to the world.

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