Last updated: 25.08.14

Online learning 'has a huge future'

Online learning has a huge future and has developed vastly in the last few years, according to the dean of Imperial College Business School.

Professor G Anandalingam stated that online education used to be considered "second rate", but this is no longer the case due to the advancements that have been made in recent times.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the dean argued that some of the world's best business schools are now offering MBAs online. This is part of a growing shift towards online education and it is likely this is going to become much more common in the next few years.

Prof Anandalingam explained the way universities and students use technology is "always evolving" and this has opened the door for e-learning to become a lot more prominent. Benefits of online learning include that it is ideal for those who have a lot of existing commitments, as they can fit in their classes around their schedule. Working at their own pace is also suitable for people who may not comfortably with more of a set approach to teaching.

The dean said: "For a significant and growing segment of the student population - working professionals that can’t afford to quit their jobs and come into campus for a long period - online learning has been a revelation."

He added that another advantage of online courses is that they open up UK institutions to people who live abroad and cannot afford to move to the country, but still want to be able to access the top education on offer in the UK.

Debate is still raging about the future of online education, with one of the big name proponents of using technology more in education being Clayton Christensen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He sees a future where almost all learning could take place, but others such as Professor Michael Porter, also from Harvard Business School, feel e-learning will always be better as a complementary aid to in-class teaching methods.