Online learning has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether an individual wants to learn a tech skill, earn an academic degree, or study a new language, there are many options to explore online. A Global Workplace Skill Study by Emeritus in 2023 revealed that 73% of those interviewed believed online education will increase in the future.
Most universities and colleges now offer online courses, which students can enroll in from any location. Pursuing an online course has a lot of benefits. This article will delve into the multiple advantages of online classes.
Advantages of online learning
Some of the benefits of online learning include flexible schedules, career advancements, access to a range of courses, multiple functionalities, and enhanced accessibility. Online learning may also provide a personalized learning experience, self-discipline and technological skills, the opportunity to save time and money, plus networking opportunities. For some students, there may also be the possibility to transfer credits from other courses.
Provides a flexible schedule
A demanding life and work schedule can make it challenging to attend physical classes. Some people often travel for work, while others must balance work with caring for kids. Enrolling in an online course allows students to learn at their own pace without compromising on work demands.
Additionally, it gives students the time to understand the topic in detail instead of spending time traveling to physical lessons. In a traditional class, students’ complete coursework at their tutor’s pace. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult for slow and fast learners to grasp all the concepts taught. Online learning enables students to schedule the lessons with their preferred frequency instead.
Studying online allows students to record, archive, and share lectures through videos and podcasts. Students can review the topic again, do additional research, and process everything at their convenience. There are also other learners that they can interact with and share ideas. With online learning, students can move through the coursework quickly, spend time with family, and do other activities they enjoy.
Offers a chance for career advancement
Most people wish to grow and advance in their careers. Career advancement can include promotion, salary increase, upskilling, or changing careers. However, although years of experience can get workers a promotion, some fields require workers to attain a higher degree. For example, to pursue a fulfilling career as a registered nurse, applicants must have at least a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Enrolling for ABSN programs online from Elmhurst University can help individuals become registered nurses in under two years. There are two intakes annually, and clinical placement support is provided.
Access to a wide range of courses
Enrolling in physical classes limits the number of courses students can pursue, as a typical traditional class will only admit students to the capacity of the faculty. Additionally, some campuses have fewer courses; if students need access to the rest, they may have to move to another campus.
Online learning gives students access to various courses from well-established universities. They can find a program that meets their needs without moving elsewhere. Students can also pursue whichever course they are interested in, no matter their educational background or age.
Students will find that most online courses don’t have strict admission requirements like academic transcripts or SAT scores, which further makes them easily accessible.
Online learning has lots of functionalities
In a traditional classroom, PowerPoint presentations and videos are standard multimedia options. However, online learning offers many options like interactive videos, quizzes, screencasts, and more, making classes more immersive and enjoyable.
Online learning provides accessibility
The traditional school setting is limiting for those unable to attend physical classes. Furthermore, learners in a regular class must take notes and review vast quantities of material to get the needed information.
Online learning has made education accessible to everyone wishing to return to school to gain a new skill or get certified. Studying online also allows learners to access any resources at the press of a button. This is crucial for people with specialized learning requirements and those who can’t attend regular schools due to physical challenges like lack of transportation.
Anyone can pursue a course at any stage without worrying about their location or restricting schedules. Students can learn from their preferred locations without the stress of commuting, finding on-campus housing, or figuring out where to get extra cash to spend on meals at school, for example. Additionally, some educational institutions are offering courses offline, which has made learning all the more accessible.
Online education is also great for anyone wishing to travel and explore the world. Students can easily access coursework anywhere with an internet connection.
Online learning creates a personalized learning experience
Pursuing an online course allows students to study in their preferred environments in their own time, so they can enjoy a more personalized and customized learning experience.
The personalized learning experience also promotes higher student-teacher engagement. Students become more active in their learning, seeking help in areas they don’t understand. They also set learning goals and discuss how to use other resources to further comprehend the topic.
Students also get evaluated immediately, thanks to the online instant scoring mechanism. They don’t need to wait weeks for test or quiz feedback, allowing them to discuss how to improve areas they are not performing well in with the teacher.
Students can cultivate self-discipline skills
A typical classroom has a structured way of delivering the coursework and ensuring the curriculum is covered. However, students are left to determine their own school schedule in an online classroom. This allows them to cultivate self-discipline and self-motivation through learning.
Students get to set short-term and long-term educational goals, assess their daily calendar, and schedule due dates for assignments. Over time, this helps students gain valuable time management skills crucial to succeeding in the workplace.
Online learning costs less
The average graduating student in the US has college debt of over $36,000.
Research by the HTAIA reveals that web-based learning costs less than traditional classroom learning, due to shareable content, multimedia use, and the admission of many more students. Some universities and colleges also offer free courses for students to enroll in and get certified. Online education sites like edX, Coursera, and Skillshare have a range of courses at a fraction of the typical cost.
Students also don’t need to spend money commuting, arranging accommodation, getting on-campus meals, or other activities around college, which translates to substantial savings. This is a major perk for learners with other financial commitments. Students only need a stable internet connection, a computer, and the funds for a course fee to get started.
One misconception about online learning is that it doesn’t provide the opportunity to network. However, this isn’t true, as most online courses are interactive in real-time. Students can join a diverse group of like-minded people with unique skillsets and perspectives through social media tools and video chatting. Students can also use the online chat section to share their opinions on any given topic. This interaction allows students to grow professional relationships, which could lead to job opportunities.
Online learning saves time
Another unique aspect of online learning is that it focuses on the need-to-know content within the training context. Traditional classroom settings involve teaching a lot of content that may not add real value to the learner. However, online lessons have defined learning objectives, eliminating unnecessary content, and saving time. Presenting relevant content also helps the instructor provide a personalized learning experience.
Offers a chance to transfer college credits
Pursuing an online course gives students a chance to transfer college credits. For example, if a student is in a physical college and wishes to attend summer classes in another location, they can take an online course and transfer their credits. Some institutions allow students to take an online course for credits too.
Allows students to gain technical skills
Technical skills are essential in today’s competitive landscape. Online learning allows students to gain beneficial technical skills that they can use in and out of class. They can learn to use different basic software like Google Docs, Zoom, and Dropbox. They will also use digital learning materials such as project management tools, collaboration platforms, discussion boards, and content management systems.
Project management experience and essential technical skills can make a student’s resume stand out. With an online certificate or degree, a future employer will know that they can handle new technologies and tackle tasks independently.
Types of online learning
Some of the common e-learning format types include synchronous online courses, asynchronous online courses, and hybrid learning too.
Synchronous online courses
The synchronous type of learning is the most common among different educational institutions. It resembles the ordinary classroom setting, but it is conducted online, and an instructor joins the classroom through video conference. The instructor teaches their students and shares lecture slides live.
This learning format resembles a live webinar, where students interact via audio/video chat or text. Students in a synchronous learning environment take part in learning a course in real-time.
One impressive benefit of this community-oriented online learning type is that it eliminates social isolation and encourages student-to-student relationships. It also promotes teacher-to-student interaction, which may be uncommon in some typical classrooms.
Synchronous learning works best for students who enjoy the flexibility of remote learning and the ability to schedule their classes. It’s also great for individuals who prefer a structured classroom setting that is also interactive, as students receive a college experience without being physically present. Individuals pursuing programs like nursing, counseling, psychology, and education find this learning type interactive and collaborative.
Asynchronous online learning
Asynchronous online learning is an online education format that doesn’t involve a fixed class time like synchronous learning. Students can schedule classes at their convenience. Although there isn’t real-time instructor interaction, asynchronous online learning provides lectures in the form of audio recordings or pre-recorded video lectures.
Self-paced learning interaction occurs through wikis, online chats, blogs, and discussion boards. Asynchronous learning is best for learners who prefer flexible learning due to their busy schedules. Students pursuing courses like healthcare administration, marketing, and advertising will enjoy the flexibility and convenience of asynchronous online learning.
Hybrid online learning
Hybrid online learning, or blended learning, combines online interaction with in-person lessons. It’s a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning. Educational institutions offering hybrid courses have several in-person class sessions and utilize computer-based communication in between the class sessions.
Students in a hybrid learning environment can ask questions in real-time for a few days and do their research at their convenience during other sessions in the semester.
Individuals who would rather have the flexibility and independence of online learning but still want to interact with other students and instructors virtually will find hybrid online learning an excellent choice. This type of learning is also ideal for anyone studying STEM topics.
Adaptive online learning
Adaptive online learning is one of the latest learning styles. It involves personalizing and redesigning learning materials to suit each learner’s needs. Through customization, adaptive learning focuses more on a single student compared to a traditional classroom setting where the teacher delivers information to multiple students.
The learning style considers students’ skill levels, abilities, goals, and school performance to customize their learning sessions. Most adaptive online learning systems use artificial intelligence to determine areas learners need to improve.
Massive open online courses
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are courses available online to any student. These courses don’t have a student limit and provide a self-paced way of learning. Class sessions include pre-recorded lectures, readings, discussion forums, and computer-graded assignments.
While some MOOCs are free, some have a certification fee. This type of learning is perfect for someone looking to upskill without necessarily enrolling in a college for a degree. Students can find MOOCs from different educational institutions like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Yale, and more on online course platforms like eDX, Udemy, and Coursera.
Although MOOCs may feel impersonal, as there’s no direct teacher-student interaction, most of them are free, and anyone looking to acquire a new skill can access them at their convenience.
Microlearning is a recently developed type of learning where instructors deliver bite-sized chunks of information to learners. There are short learning sessions that make it easier for students to gain the necessary skills without information overload.
Students acquire knowledge through videos, quizzes, infographics, and other materials. Learners who suffer from a short attention span benefit the most from this online learning type. Microlearning also works well for on-the-job training.
Collaborative online learning
Collaborative online learning involves a group of students helping each other to achieve set goals. Through this type of learning, an instructor gives the group a learning objective, and everyone must work together to achieve the desired result.
This allows the group to focus on their strengths to achieve the goal. Collaborative online learning helps learners develop good communication and time-management skills. It also teaches students the importance of teamwork.
Is online learning the right choice?
There are numerous advantages of studying online. Students enjoy convenience, a flexible schedule, interactions with learners worldwide, and save time and money. Most students find that pursuing an online course better balances their life and work schedules. Online learning may be right for some students if they find it easier to adapt to the learning style, have a few tech skills, are self-motivated, and have time management skills too.
While this mode of learning may present some challenges, implementing an action plan can help students to quickly overcome any hurdles and adapt to the learning environment.