Online Learning MythOnline degree programs – as well as online schools, online colleges and online education in general – have been around for years now; decades, in fact. And yet, despite the fact that more than 5.8 million students take classes online in the United States alone, an online learning myth pops up every now and then. I especially hate ...

Myth #3: Online learning is for people who can't succeed in a "real" school.

Really? This myth is irritating on a number of levels. I especially dislike the snobbish attitude of superiority implicit in the words used. It denigrates the real effort, real accomplishment and real education of those who chose to attend a real school online.

When I see a comment like this, that online education is only for those who can't make the grade ... well, I know it's a myth-take.

Dear reader, I know you saw what I did there. Simply by reading this post, you've already proven you're intelligent enough to do some research on the matter. For you, spotting a simple pun on an electronic page is as effortless as recognizing it on a printed page or in a face-to-face conversation – which, by the way, are learning methods that seem to "make the grade."

Enough. I'm off my virtual soapbox. Instead of ranting, let's take a look at why someone might believe this online learning myth. Here are a few, admittedly, lame reasons:

It's easier to cheat online – false!

And insulting. Contrary to what many believe, you can't just "Google" your way to test answers ... or a degree. There is just as much oversight in the virtual classroom as in a regular one. Rigorous standards, such as proctored exams, ensure you'll earn your grade through hard-earned knowledge and skill. In addition, there are a number of technologies online universities employ, such as plagiarism detection tools, to ensure academic integrity. (Now, did I include that note on plagiarism detection because of the amount of information I "borrowed" for this paragraph from this informative blog on The Truth About Online Degrees? Maybe.)

The closest "real" school is too far away – false!

Well, mostly false. Let's face it, if your nearest campus educator is 100 miles away, an online degree program just makes sense. But according to a study of Online College Students for 2015, half of all current online students live within 50 miles of a traditional on-ground campus. So, they have a nearby campus. They could attend in person. They still take classes online.

It's for the anti-social ... or lazy ... or young ... or old ... or take your pick – false!

Just false. Online learners come from all walks of life. Many are adults who have already earned an undergraduate degree or credits through classroom learning and attend classes online to upgrade a skill set or earn a graduate degree. The reasons for pursuing a degree online are as numerous as the reasons for pursuing a degree at all. Period.

Have you let an online learning myth stop you from pursuing your degree dream?

Don't let Myth #3 affect your future any more. Download The Adult Learner's Guide to Online Education to read up on the other seven online learning myths. You'll also get insight into the differences between online and on-ground schools ... how to tell you're ready to pursue an online degree ... questions you should ask any online program ... how to use an Online Learning System (OLS) ... and more. Good luck!