Online learning is arguably the most effective tool in career development because it allows you access to knowledge and it also provides you with a unique opportunity to learn and absorb new information at your own pace. An increasing number of professionals have been intrigued by these benefits and are now taking up online courses to expand their skill sets.
Join us as we look at some of the most important benefits of online learning.
1. Wider variety of options
One of the biggest advantages of online learning is that you have a wide variety of options available to you. So, whereas if you were taking up a course at a university in your area, you’d be restricted to what they offer and what your schedule is like. With distance learning, there are no such restrictions as the internet is available whenever you need it to be.
This means that if you want to commit to something long-term, you don’t need to worry about having to get off early once or twice a week, or having to worry that you’re going to be left behind when it’s busy at work and you can’t leave on time.
As there are no time restrictions, you can choose whichever course you feel more inclined to. You can also choose courses based on the tutor or even the syllabus. There are literally no limitations with online learning and this is definitely one of the biggest benefits.
2. Cheaper than conventional programmes
Admittedly, course prices can be the same, especially if you’re pursuing a specialised course like a Master’s degree or a PhD, but what you should take into account is that online courses minimise additional costs such as commute and living expenses. Since you won’t have to be travelling to anywhere but your own living room to attend classes, you can rest assured that the price you see per certificate is the price you’ll end up paying.
Another benefit of online learning is that course materials are also significantly cheaper since, unlike in conventional programmes, you won’t have to bring a hardcopy to class but can instead find most course materials online and some of them even for free.
3. More convenient
Aside from costs, which can be a discouraging factor for most aspiring students, another factor to be taken into account is just how much more convenient online education is. As you get to set the pace of your course, you also get to choose when it’s more convenient for you to study – maybe you like getting up a couple of hours before work to study or maybe you prefer studying after everyone in the house has gone to sleep; whatever the case, you get to make up the rules.
Of course, this doesn’t just make your life easier but it also allows you to better concentrate on study-related tasks when you do get round to it. So, you’ll be better able to understand and absorb new information, while you’ll also be a lot more concentrated.
Another advantage of online learning that you need to take into account is that it can be easily combined with having a job. So, instead of having to take time off, or negotiate with your boss to leave earlier on days you have class, you can instead plan your course around your schedule.
4. Great for career advancement
As you probably already know, lifelong learning can be extremely beneficial to career development. Employers tend to value employees who take active steps towards expanding their knowledge and skill set, and showing such initiative will always make you look good.
Because online courses demand a lot of multitasking, they are always a good addition on your CV as they showcase ambition, initiative and determination. Understanding where your skills may be lacking and taking steps to achieve those goals is always considered an advantage by employers, while the determination that goes hand-in-hand with having juggled work and studies is also greatly admired by most hiring managers and recruiters.
5. Teaches self-discipline
One of the most important soft skills for the workplace is to be self-disciplined. This is true whether you work autonomously or as part of a team. Being able to discipline yourself to carry out your workload efficiently and within deadlines is necessary for any employee, especially for those who are interested in promotions, and there’s literally no better way to become proficient in this skill than through doing an online course.
When doing an online course, there’s no class to go to, no tutor to ask you questions in person, no classmates to make you feel guilty for not doing enough work, etc, so you need to be able to motivate yourself to get the work done. Learning to do that is a skill that will stick with you throughout your career and you should definitely emphasise it when talking to recruiters and employers.
6. Greater access to expertise
No matter how you look at it, location is a constraint when talking about education. Having to choose a course based on its proximity to you does not always mean that you’re getting what you truly deserve and one of the most important benefits of online learning is that it grants you access to expertise available even in different countries.
This can be highly beneficial if you’re doing a specialised course, like a PhD, for example, where having a personal tutor with experience in the particular field you’re studying is priceless.
7. Could learn more
Remaining engaged throughout your course is extremely hard, and this is why you should always choose courses taught by tutors with experience in distance learning. These tutors are more likely to have developed techniques to address this problem.
One of the most common solutions is to assign more reading material to students. This helps make the syllabus more challenging but it also helps keep people more engaged. Aside from that, however, it also allows committed students to learn more as they’ll get exposed to more knowledge.
8. Better performance
Precisely because the student can learn at their own pace and without having to commute or be in an environment that’s uncomfortable for them, it’s often easier to focus on the subject at hand and be a better student and concentrate on learning. As such, online learners generally perform better and they often find it easier to keep and utilise information learned in class.
Of course, in order to actually perform better, you’ll need to be sure that the subject you’re studying is of interest to you and that you can follow the syllabus on your own.
9. Improved technical skills
It may seem obvious but online learning can help you become an expert on computers and using different platforms. And although this might not necessarily be a huge perk for Millennials who grew up with computers, it could be essential for people who are going through a midlife career change and require training in many areas.
Most websites that offer online courses have their own platforms and you’ll need to be able to use their interface to get all of your studying done. You’ll also need to rely on different tools which could at first seem intimidating, but once you get used to them, you’ll realise that you possess the technical skills that are required to use computers on a daily basis.
10. Experience education differently
Most of us have experienced education the traditional way; the one where you have to sit on an uncomfortable chair and be the recipient of the information that the tutor chooses to share. However, research has proven that method to be ineffective as it does little for student engagement and, at the end of the day, does not encourage knowledge retention.
Online learning, on the other hand, allows students to experience contemporary teaching methods, such as gamification, and it allows them to get in charge of the learning experience.
The advantages of online learning are many, but what perhaps is the most important benefit is that it makes it easier for people to continue learning and gaining skills. The next step is to find a website that specialises in online courses and decide which course could help bring you closer to your professional goals.
Do you believe there are any disadvantages to online learning? Let me know in the comments section below.