Online Learning Growing for Traditional and Non-Traditional Students

Whether you’re a student taking the traditional path to getting your degree, or you’re an adult learner going back to school, you may have already been exposed to online learning. Online learning, or E-learning, is the use of electronic media and information technology in education.

Traditionally online learning has been used in companies and business to train their employees. However, online learning isn’t limited to businesses. More and more traditional students and adult learners are seeing the value in taking online college courses through e-learning.

In 2012 there were 4.6 million college students taking at least one of their classes online. Throughout 2014, this number is expected to increase to 18.6 million. By 2019, it’s estimated that half of all classes will be online. The reasons for the dramatic increase become apparent when we look at the major benefits. These include increased efficiency, lower cost, and increased knowledge.

  • Efficiency – Online learning classes are completed 25-60% faster than classroom training on the same subjects.
  • Savings – It’s estimated that 85% of every dollar spent on classroom learning goes toward the delivery of it (instructors, physical classrooms and materials). By connecting learners with material through virtual environments and digital approaches, these convert to large savings for students, often hundreds or thousands of dollars less for the same courses in a traditional environment.
  • Increased Knowledge – e-learning and online approaches to classes have proven to increase knowledge retention by 25-60%.  By presenting information via visual and verbal channels, removing non-essential content and giving the learner control of the pace and amount of information they learn at one time, online learning allows the student to retain more information.

On average, the adult learner is 34 years old, with 82% being undergraduates. More than 80% of learners are currently employed part-time or full-time. It’s easy to understand why online learning is perfect for this group. These are busy working adults that are trying to balance their education with their career, family and life responsibilities – and  online learning provides the flexibility they need.

To further save on time and money spent on education expenses, adult learners can test out of college courses with credit-by-exam programs. Credit-by-exam programs – also referred to as Prior Learning Assessment – allows students to receive college credit by passing a standardized exam on a given subject. Over 3,800 colleges and universities across the country accept transfer credit from these exams, providing distance learners an even more flexible route to their degree and education goals.

DSST is one of the leaders of credit by exam. DSST offers an extensive series of more than 30 exams in college subject areas that are similar to the final exam given in undergraduate courses. These exams are frequently used in conjunction with CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests by students pursuing college degrees in non-traditional formats. Whereas CLEP tests are almost exclusively used for lower level credit at regionally accredited institutions, DSST exams are available for both upper and lower level credit. Subject areas include Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences and Humanities.

There are numerous ways to prepare for these exams and begin earning college credit. One of the best ways to get ready for a DSST exam is with a study guide. The DSST Official Test Preparation Guide, published by Innovative Academic Solutions, was created to help students prepare for the Top 10 DSST Subject Titles – that is, the exams students are more interested in taking (as of the 2012 publishing date). The DSST Official Test Preparation Guide includes sample test questions, study resources, exam content outlines and reviews of the subjects. These 10 subjects include:

  • Introduction to World Religions
  • Here’s to Your Health
  • Principles of Statistics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Personal Finance
  • Management Information Systems
  • Ethics in America
  • Principles of Supervision
  • Introduction to Business
  • Principles of Finance

To learn more about the DSST Official Test Preparation Guide, visit


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