Online learning has grown and evolved immensely since its early days, and research shows that one third of students now take at least one online course. In fact, despite a drop in overall postsecondary enrolments over the last couple of years, the number of students taking at least some of their courses online has continued to grow.
There are a number of reasons why a student might opt for an online course over a face-to-face class, and the benefits of online learning for adults and working professionals in particular are numerous. So if you’re wondering whether an online course might be right for you, we’ve lined up some of the most important advantages of online learning to help you make a decision.
1. Cost Savings
Online learning, when compared to on-campus learning, is usually a lot more affordable. Of course, in order to earn a certification or diploma online, you’ll still need to pay tuition fees and in some cases, invest in course materials. But an online course will generally be a lot more affordable than an on-campus course at a traditional college or university.
Studying online also means you won’t have to travel or relocate in order to attend your university of choice, so you’ll end up saving money on housing and transportation costs too.
2. Greater flexibility
Online learning is good for students who can’t afford to study full time due to other responsibilities such as raising a family or working. Studying online allows you to balance your studies with your existing responsibilities and study only when it’s convenient for you.
Of course, having good self-discipline is vital in order to succeed in online learning, because the more flexible the deadlines, the more room there is for procrastination. But in the long run, studying online can actually improve your self-discipline and help you develop valuable time-management skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
3. Customised learning
Online learning, when compared to classroom learning, allows for a more customised learning experience and study environment. Research shows that it is possible to optimise our environment and study routine to learn more efficiently. For instance, some students may feel more focused in the morning, while others prefer to study at night. Similarly, some students may need total silence in order to concentrate, while others might prefer some background noise.
4. Opportunities for career advancement
Online courses can be a particularly good option for working professionals who would like to update their existing skills or develop new ones that will allow them to advance in their career. In fact, one survey found that 44% of online students reported improvements in their employment standing and 45% reported a salary increase after taking an online course.
The best part is that thanks to its flexible nature and affordability, online learning makes it possible for anyone invest in their professional development and open up new career opportunities, or even change careers altogether.
5. Learn from anywhere
Taking an online course means you will not be bound to any one place. For those who live in rural parts of Australia, this is one of the biggest benefits of online learning. Rural students are often at an educational disadvantage, because in order to attend university, they often must commute long distances or relocate entirely, which can be prohibitively expensive.
Online courses can give these students access to a wider range of courses and allow them to earn certifications and diplomas in their field of interest, without the need to travel or relocate.