Continuing Education,  Online Learning

Continuing Education: The Controversial Switch to Online Learning

           A variety of professions and industries require continuing education. Through continuing education, individuals can not only learn new skills and improve their marketability, but they also can expand upon their current knowledge with additive knowledge in the field (Cohen, 2015). In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected every industry on some level.  The pandemic’s impact on individuals gathering in crowds forced the area of continuing education to evolve into a predominantly online industry. While distance education has been around since the 1800s, these recent shifts in our society have applied pressure on each industry to rethink current methodologies of delivering continuing education.


Controversy Around Online Learning

        While for many years critics took the stance that online education does not have the same effectiveness as its face-to-face counterpart, recent studies call into question the validity of this assumption (Binmohsen, 2020). Within the continuing education industry, developers in the online learning sector must work to meet the needs of the professional population by addressing student expectations, content, presentation, teaching components, and course delivery (Garrison, 2000)


       With the recent upward trend in online learning, professionals have begun to see the benefits of the online delivery format. In a study conducted by Ngenzi ( (2021), research supports the comparability of carefully designed and structured online continuing education courses to their face-to-face counterparts. Martinsburg College’s Office of Continuing Education strives to create a learning experience that allows professionals to complete continuing education courses while advancing knowledge and skillsets within their profession.  


Why Choose to Transition to Online Learning?

        Women using online learning methodology to study while cooking in kitchen.Many are choosing to navigate online learning courses and programs due to the ease of access. Throughout the pandemic, in-person learning, including seminars for continuing education, were shutting their doors. Taking courses in an online format gives the learner the opportunity to complete their requirements around their work schedules, while also maintaining their health during unforeseen circumstances.


      Additionally, portability is an important factor many are considering when signing up for courses. Within an online delivery format, an individual can take their courses on the go, which is not the reality for in-person courses and seminars. With the controversy put to bay by recent studies disputing online learning effectiveness (Binmohsen, 2020), how an individual takes their courses is all up to the learner’s preference.  


      Is the online delivery method for continuing professional education the way of the future? Do you see yourself enjoying the portability, and ease of access to your continuing professional education? Let Martinsburg College’s Office of Continuing Education help you to explore the future of continuing professional education today. 


Do you need Continuing Professional Education credits/hours to maintain your professional license?

We are here to help! Check out our course catalog catering to a variety of professions and industries today!

Nicole Morin Ed.D. (Candidate), M.C.


Nicole Morin is the Product Manager for Continuing Professional Education at Martinsburg College. She works within the learning management system at the course level and works within blog development. Nicole is in pursuit of her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction and has her master’s in professional counseling. She enjoys writing in her spare time, as well as spending time with her family of 7.



Binmohsen, S. A., & Abrahams, I. (2020). Science teachers’ continuing professional development: Online vs face-to-face. Research in Science & Technological Education, 1–29.  


Cohen, I. (2021, February 9). Benefits of continuing education for everyone. LinkedIn. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from  


Garrison, J. A., Schardt, C., & Kochi, J. K. (2000). Web-based distance continuing education: a new way of thinking for students and instructors. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association88(3), 211–217. 


Ngenzi, J. L., Scott, R. E., & Mars, M. (2021). Information and communication technology to Enhance Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Continuing Medical Education (CME) for Rwanda: A scoping review of reviews. BMC Medical Education21(1).