How the Internet Changed Education

EssayExpository Essay

The Internet has become a basic necessity in the modern world. Almost every aspect of society utilizes the Internet for communication, disseminating and storing information, entertainment, e-commerce, banking, education, and more. Of all these aspects, education is a topic worthy of discussion as it links to the next generation and the future of society. The Internet has changed education through better information access, enhanced communication, and e-learning opportunities; however, it has also created a financial barrier that puts some students at a disadvantage.

Education Before the Internet

Today, students and other Internet users can use their smartphones, laptops, and other devices to seek information and learn. Before the creation of the Internet, students had to utilize offline research methods that required footwork and some financial investments. Some offline research methods include magazine and journal subscriptions, talking with experts, watching television programs, listening to radio broadcasts, conducting polls within a community, and traveling to libraries (Offline research methods, 2014). These methods were time-consuming and had many limitations that could lead to students missing important information. For instance, television programs were only available at specific times. A student’s schedule may not allow them to watch a relevant program, missing an educational opportunity.

Access to Information

The creation of the Internet made educational research more efficient and less time-consuming. The offline research methods required a lot of time and some financial investments from students that could have lessened their time for themselves. One can also refer to the education system in medieval times when only the elite could access books (How Has Technology Changed Education, n.d.). Today, students can use their smart devices to gather information for their assignments and projects. The Internet increased the public’s access to information and made it easier to access materials available in specific places (Dogruer et al., 2011). They do not have to travel to other cities to find specific resources or contact different experts that can provide them with the exact information they need.

Furthermore, modern students found that improved access to information allows them to learn better and tackle tasks effectively. In Apuke & Iyendo (2018), students reported that the use of the Internet and online resources improved their academic research, learning, handling of difficult assignments, the scope of interpretation of assignments, and self-directed learning. Since young individuals find it easy to use the Internet, they can maximize its potential in education. They can find resources that discuss the topics of their assignments, allowing them to acquire a better understanding of the topic. Self-learning is also an essential factor since it promotes continuous learning outside of school. Self-learning can benefit students, from improving their academic performance to developing healthy learning habits.

Enhanced Distance Communication

Another way that the Internet changed education is through enhanced distance communication. Before, students had to meet in person for group activities and projects. In some cases, they may use a telephone, along with a fax machine, to share paper works remotely. While meeting in person is an effective way to accomplish a group project, having it as the only option puts limitations on student productivity. With the Internet, students can communicate with their peers on social media and share any type of material online (Dogruer et al., 2011). For instance, social media platforms allow users to share online documents, pictures, videos, and other files. Students can use this feature to share information and continue working on their projects remotely.


This beneficial change became prominent during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when most schools adapted online learning models. The lockdowns forced educational institutions to offer courses and classes online. This highlighted the benefits of the Internet as an effective communication tool for educators to reach their students. Furthermore, other e-learning products, such as seminars and discussion forums, allow educators and students to communicate without the restriction of time and place (Friesen, 2012, cited in Affum, 2022). This is beneficial for students who may be working a part-time job and can only attend classes at specific times. Instead of looking for a job that fits the standard academic schedule, they can instead attend online courses that are available 24/7.

Academic Performance, the Internet, and the Problem of Access

Since the Internet improved access to information and provided better communication, students who use the Internet can expect improved academic performance. According to various studies, students who use the Internet for educational purposes, whether in school, at home, or both, tend to excel in their academics compared to those who use the Internet less (Ngoumandjoka, 2012; Torres, 2016; cited in Affum, 2022). Alternatively, students who use the Internet for social networking and casual communication can experience adverse psychological effects, such as mood swings (Singh, 2013, cited in Affum, 2022). Still, Turel & Toraman (2015) learned that as students improve their academic performance, they are less likely to develop Internet addiction and its detrimental effects (cited in Affum, 2022). This suggests that Internet usage for educational purposes has a positive effect on students' health and is beneficial in improving academic performance.

Since studies have shown that Internet use is advantageous in improving academic performance, it has become a factor in academic excellency. Students with access to the Internet are likely to experience improved academic performance while those with limited resources will be at a disadvantage. For instance, a study involving Nigerian institutions learned that 86% of students have limited access to the Internet since their universities cannot provide Internet facilities (Apuke & Iyendo, 2018). They have to depend on slow mobile data plans which is a hindrance when working on assignments and projects that require Internet access. There are also paywalls for accessing reliable academic sources from scientific journals and papers (Apuke & Iyendo, 2018). The limited access prevents them from conducting thorough research which can adversely affect the quality of their work. Alternatively, students with access to fast Internet will have no problem skimming through different web pages until they find reliable information for their work. This highlights the problem of Internet access, especially in poorer areas, and how financial capability becomes a factor in receiving a quality education.


The Internet provides open access to information and enhanced distance communication which are beneficial in education. The increased access to information allows students to acquire information about any topic for their class without the need for tedious offline research methods. Enhanced distant communication grants students and educators the ability to communicate regardless of place and time. This leads to more educational opportunities, especially for working students and those who do not have the means to move residencies. However, the challenge of Internet access proves to be a detriment to the effects of the Internet on education. Financial limitations put wealthier students at an advantage while placing poorer ones at a disadvantageous position. Finding a way to solve the issue of access is an important step forward for education and allows every student to reap the benefits of the Internet.

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Affum, M. (2022). The Effects of the Internet on Students Studies: A Review. Library Philosophy and Practice. Available at . Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Apuke, O. & Iyendo, T. (2018). University Students’ Usage of the Internet Resources for Research and Learning: Forms of Access and Perceptions of Utility. Heliyon, vol. 4(12). Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Dogruer, N., Eyyam, R., & Menevis, I. (2011). The Use of the Internet for Educational Purposes. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 28. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

How Has Technology Changed Education? (n.d.). Purdue University Online. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Offline Research Methods. (2014). Skillmaker. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

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