Reasons Online Learning May Be Good for You. The number of students taking online courses has grown into the millions over the past few years. The number of institutions, in the US and other parts of the world, offering online courses has also grown significantly. But what has caused the spike in online courses and why are institutions working hard to meet this demand? And, would it be a good idea to study online? This article highlights some of the key reasons why online study may be a good idea for you.
Most Online Courses are Legit
One of the biggest fears that most people have when signing up for online courses is that their degrees may fail to be recognized by employers. This is not true. The person who receives an online degree will get the same recognition as a person who completes their degree in a traditional classroom setting. This is because the two people learn the same things. The only difference is the mode of learning. Therefore, don’t fall for this myth.
However, note that a degree can fail to be recognized if you sign up for a course with an institution that is not accredited to offer that course. This is why the heading says ‘most online courses are legit’ not ‘all online courses are legit’. Employers will only recognize degrees from accredited institutions. Even if you will be going into self-employment after graduation, it’s still advisable to get your degree from an institution that is accredited to guarantee that you are getting quality education. Check the accreditation remarks on the institution’s website and confirm details with the accrediting organizations.
Great Opportunity for Career Advancement While Working
Another reason why online learning may be a good idea is that with the online college you will get an opportunity to grow your career while working a full-time job or running your business. You don’t have to quit your job or lock up your business to gain the degree you need to move to the next level. Online courses are flexible, meaning you can study in your own free time after work and during off days. For instance, a hospital nurse aspiring to work as a family nurse one day can easily sign up for an online family nurse practitioner post grad programs and advance their career while serving patients at the hospital. Whether you want to get a promotion, change your job setting or move to a new career, the flexibility of online courses can make the transition easier for you.
Access to a Wide Range of Courses
Online students have access to a wide range of courses since location is not a restriction. When learning in a traditional classroom, you will be limited to courses that are offered by institutions located close to your residence. As an online student, you get the benefit of taking courses even from colleges that are located far away provided they are open to applicants in your state. This makes learning easy, even for those located in remote areas. As long as you have an internet connection, you can start learning any time.
Online Courses Can Save You Money
Online courses can save you money since you won’t have to commute or rent a place to live away from home. Also, some online degrees are priced lower compared to traditional degrees. This is probably because online students will not require classroom space and other campus resources. Therefore, studying online can actually turn out to be cheaper compared to traditional classroom learning. If you choose online study for the cost saving benefits, don’t forget to compare course costs for different universities. Comparisons will help you to save more money.
You Can Build Soft Skills as You Study Online
With online study, there is no set or mandatory timetable that you have to follow every day. You are in charge of planning when and how you will go through your notes, complete your assignments and read for your exams. Being in charge of your learning can help in growing your soft skills such as time management and self-motivation.
Engage in Other Things While Studying Online
Online learning gives students the freedom to engage in other things while studying. You can study while taking care of your kids at home, traveling the world, playing a sport, engaging in community activities, or even taking another course elsewhere. It comes with the freedom to study in your own time and also travel without worrying about missing a class.
Online Courses Offer Student Support
Learning institutions offer lots of support for online students. You can get help from your lecturers through live chat or email. You will also be provided with all the learning materials you need for your course. You can download the materials and use them when offline. For those that are not downloadable, you simply log in to the learning platform whenever you need access. Some colleges will also have a special support team dedicated to online students only. Therefore, don’t hesitate to sign up for fear you will walk the journey alone. On the other hand, don’t forget to check if a college has a good support system before you sign up.
Online Courses Can Keep You Relevant and Competitive
It’s not a static world; things keep changing every day. In most industries you need to keep learning to remain relevant and competitive. One of the key ways to achieve this is to sign up for online courses that will equip you with either hard or soft skills. As you keep learning, you will gain three benefits. One, when your skills are up-to-date, it becomes easier to accomplish your tasks. This will reduce stress that comes as a result of inability to meet your employer’s expectations or struggling so much to do so. Two, when you grow your skills, it makes it hard for you to lose your job. Three, growing skills increases your chances of getting a promotion. And the good news is that you can grow your skills while working a full time job thanks to online courses. Consider a mix of both long and short courses that are relevant to your job.
Another common myth about online school is that you will never know your classmates and be able to interact with them. This is not true. Most institutions offer platforms or forums where students can chat and share. Students also do form groups by themselves to share online, and even have one on one meet ups. Both online interactions and meet ups are possible for online students. And, since all of you are on the same career path, those student networks may turn out to be very strong professional networks. Through student and professional networking, you can learn new ideas, get notifications for great opportunities and get support when you need it among many other benefits.
Study at Your Own Pace
Does traditional classroom learning sound too fast or too slow for you? Maybe this is a good reason to consider online learning. With most online courses, you get the freedom of learning at your own pace.
Online Courses are Interactive
While you will do most reading by yourself, the lecturers will engage you throughout the course with activities, assignments, group discussions and presentations. The engagement level will depend on the nature of the course you are taking and your lecturer or the institution where you are taking it.
Online Courses Can Save You Time
In addition to saving you money, online courses can save you time as well. There will be no commute to and from the university. This makes it a good option for people who don’t have enough time to commute every day or who have other obligations that would make doing so difficult.
Online Courses Can Be Ideal for Those Who are Physically Challenged or Unwell
If one is unwell or physically challenged, and going to the university every day feels tiring or uncomfortable, online learning can be a good choice. Online learning makes it possible for one to study from the comfort of their home while receiving all the care and rest they may need.
Though online learning has numerous benefits, it should be approached with a lot of caution. Firstly, as stated above, ensure you select your course from a university that is accredited. Otherwise, you may end up spending money on a degree that will not be accepted by your employer. Secondly, note that you need discipline and commitment to finish your degree. Online learning comes with a lot of freedom. The key is to use this freedom to your advantage, but have a reading plan that allows you to complete your coursework on time. If you don’t make a plan and stick to it, you will end up failing your exams and wasting your money.
Lecturers mark all papers the same regardless of whether you studied online or in a classroom. Therefore, work hard as you would in a traditional classroom. Finally, before you sign up for a course, take time to evaluate your finances and availability. Do you have enough money to pay for your course? Do you have enough time to study? Will your employer give you time off when you have exams? Consider such factors.