6 Top Benefits of Online Learning

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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It may sound cliched, but it’s a fact that online learning genuinely does represent a world of educational opportunities at your fingertips. Choose when and where you want to study, have a secure internet connection and that’s about all you need on a practical level. However, like any educational or professional development undertaking, to reap the benefits of online learning, requires research, motivation, dedication and a knowledge of what it is you want to achieve from your online studies.

Online learning has developed and progressed significantly and, embracing technology, it continues to bridge the gap for students around the world, and provide a welcome stream of students and revenue for institutions. Online learning is particularly appealing to busy professionals, who can find it understandably difficult to find time for continuous professional development through learning when they are also engaged in their busy careers. For those seeking to re-enter the workforce, return to study or simply learn something new, online learning is a broad and exciting horizon to explore.

Let’s have a look at some of the core benefits of this convenient, cost-effective and highly accessible method of study.

Benefits of Online Learning

1. Instant Access

Online learning gives you instant access to course materials, pre-recorded lectures and other resources, giving you the ability to study and research at your own time, safe in the knowledge that you have the material you need at your fingertips. One of the greatest challenges for professionals considering further study is finding the time to study between work and life’s other commitments. Online learning allows you to create the time for yourself, as and when it suits you. But there are deadlines of course, so bear these in mind, in terms of coursework and assignments. 

2. Cost Effective 

Depending on the course you take, you can expect to make significant savings when it comes to online learning when compared to its physical equivalent. Even if you are undertaking a course from a very prestigious university, the online option will net you considerable savings. At the lower end of the market, sites such as coursera, udemy and many more provide a host of courses at extremely affordable rates, though in some cases you get exactly what you pay for so make sure you do your research and pick a course for the right reasons, and what you will get from it, not because it is cheap. Conversely, some courses can be overpriced, so check on reviews of courses from other students so you can gain as many insights as possible. 

3. User Friendly

Online learning is an environment that is constantly changing and evolving and it has come a long way since it was first pioneered in the 90’s. It now accounts for a sizeable percentage of university cohort and revenue globally, with delivery ranging from solely online institutions to the top universities from around the world. At the heart of successful online learning is a positive user-experience. This is most commonly based on consistency of content and how it is delivered, so that students quickly and clearly know how to expect the learning to be delivered and make the best of it. This is particularly useful when there are a large number of students on a particular course, as lecturers will have limited time for one-to-one interaction. Make sure you do your research in terms of whether your course has a cap on the number of students and if there are any particularities in terms of how the coursework is delivered. Another aspect, and particular benefit of online learning, is that it can be tailored to cater for disabled students or to take note of particular cultural differences. Also, online learning is much less intimidating for many students, who may find physical classrooms difficult and find it difficult to perform and to reach their academic standards.  

4. Professional Development

More and more companies are developing their employees to retain them and are very open to sponsoring individuals on their educational journey, so if you are employed your first port of call should be your training manager who may be amenable to footing the bill for relevant online learning. Looking to upskill demonstrates that you want to improve your skills, expand your knowledge on best practice or common industry standards  and show that you are ready to move up to the next level. Many online learning programmes have cost and value based modules included as part of the syllabus and this is a great incentive for your company to support your studies.

5. Apply What you Learn Faster

Online learning is commonly closely linked to performance and practical application. Since you can access training materials and resources at any time, you can access, and revise, on any elements you need, even after the course has been completed. That way you can leverage the benefits of the course for a significant period of time and use them to your benefit for your own professional development and that of your employer. In an online environment, students can spend more time thinking about their studies and honing their own ideas about their coursework. 

6. Networking Opportunities

The benefits of online learning also include the chance to network and engage with both lecturers and fellow students to expand your professional and academic network. This can broaden professional and learning opportunities and can greatly enhance your collaborative skills. It can also provide you with valuable, and enjoyable, cultural exposure to your broader student network which may well be a global one, from a variety of different backgrounds.

Are you looking to book on to an online course? Here are a few things to consider first!

 


Gemma Creagh

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