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At first, when the team at Ashton discussed doing a blog post about the benefits of online learning, I thought it was going to be a really short post. Without giving it much thought, I only saw online learning as a way for students to avoid travelling to classes. I thought that was the sole benefit. Wow, I was wrong. When I dug into the various benefits of online education I was quite surprised to come up with 17 reasons in addition to not having to travel!
That isn’t to say that online education is for everyone. We are all different. We all learn differently at different paces and in different ways. For those who work best in a traditional classroom setting, online education may never appeal because it’s not the right fit. However, some people are avid online learners while others sit on the fence between the two options. Today’s versions of online education fit the busy, challenging life so many students experience. If you’ve never tried online education or are wondering if online classes might be a fit for you, here are 18 great reasons to take a look.
1. As mentioned, there is no travel involved when taking online courses. No transit costs, no gas or parking, no wondering if the bus goes to the building you’re looking for. If you wish to set up at a coffee shop with your headphones, you can. Sit on your couch at home – no problem.
2. Along with no travel comes comfort. Sitting in a hard-backed school chair may have kept us awake and alert in school, but we were unlikely to do our best learning if we were uncomfortable. With online education, you can wear your pajamas and slippers, sit where it’s best for you and set up your work station to suit your needs.
3. Digital isn’t optional anymore. Everyone and everything is moving to encompass more of an online presence and education is no different. Staying up to speed with the world can include taking courses and programs through an online format.
4. Fill the resume gap. Are you out of work and looking? Sometimes we get anxious about a gap on our resume. Education is a great way to fill it. Plus, with the flexibility of online learning, you can continue to look for work and go to interviews without the time constraints of traditional education.
5. Time is a big reason for online education. As mentioned above, we always have other things on the go. With online classes, you can structure your learning around an existing job, home life or other activities because many courses allow for recorded lectures and other personalized approaches with flexibility.
6. You’ll learn more because you can work at your own pace with many online options. As noted above, when your time is your own, you can spend longer on a section or course that you need to dig deeper into or breeze past something you already know.
7. Many schools allow for credits to be transferred between programs and schools so the online learning you do now will contribute to results later.
8. Retention is higher from online learning. The Research Institute of America found online courses lead to a 25% to 60% increased level of retention.
9. Location is everything and if you are nowhere near a school that offers the type of education you are looking for, online education may be your only option. For most of us, relocating or travelling for hours for our education is not possible. Online classes allow you to stay where you are but receive world-class training from the best schools. In fact, you can be on vacation and take classes or even move to another country and continue your education program.
10. Limit your distractions by setting up your own environment. Sometimes a classroom has a bad odor, mechanical hum or another student who taps their pen. Online learning eliminates all of this. Your concentration goes up and your learning improves.
11. When you’re learning online, you’ll have many other things going on in your life at the same time. Perhaps you’re taking courses in the evening to augment your current job. By having both things happening concurrently in your life, your assignments will integrate with your experience and will enhance both your education and job.
12. Improve your technical skills by making use of electronic platforms. Making use of online video conferencing, cloud-based information sharing and scheduling, submission portals and more will ensure you’re not only better educated from your classes, but savvier with online tools.
13. The range of courses is extensive. As online education platforms have grown, students can take anything from local community-based education all the way to PhD courses. Look for what you want and have the flexibility of taking that class online.
14. Costs are generally lower. Not only will you avoid housing and transportation costs, often by having online materials, the supply and textbook costs are lower as well.
15. Shy students can take part without feeling “put on the spot”. It can be hard for some to raise their hand or speak out in a classroom setting. By moving the interaction online, there is a certain amount of anonymity from the tools that allow for online hand raising or commenting.
16. Greener learning comes from online courses. Less materials are printed, transportation is minimized and there’s no need to keep lights on in buildings.
17. There is a concept of blended-learning that comes from online classes. This is where your online learning is integrated into the personal aspects of your online world. You take the education into all things you do going forward and learn more through the process.
18. I love the smell of a library and touching books, but when you’re in the midst of an assignment a forced trip to the library is far from fun. The benefit of online learning is that libraries aren’t usually required. Everything you need is based in the online environment.
There are probably even more reasons that online education is a great benefit. Keep in mind that all kinds of schools are offering online education – it could even be an association you’re part of, or want to be part of, offering a class. The options are quite limitless. Find your own reasons for online education and the right class to make education work for you!