Online courses have been steadily increasing in popularity over the last decade, largely due to cost effectiveness as well as the greater flexibility they offer students.
Research shows that at least a third of all students are now enrolled in at least one online course. In Australia, the online education industry has expanded rapidly over the last five years, and the trend towards re-skilling and lifelong learning, along with continued advancements in educational technology, are expected to contribute to the growth of online education.
So what exactly is it that makes online learning so attractive? The cost factor is an obvious advantage, of course, but here are some other important advantages of enrolling in online courses.
Whether you’re a parent returning to the workforce after an extended period away, a working professional looking to enhance your resume, or a young person looking to study while travelling abroad or working, enrolling in an online course will give you a lot more flexibility than most traditional face-to-face courses would.
The fact that online courses allow students to fit coursework around their existing schedule and don’t hold them to rigid deadlines make them ideal for non-traditional students who would otherwise be unable to commit to a learning program.
Greater variety of courses
When enrolling in a traditional learning program, you are generally bound to whatever courses are available in your local area, unless you can afford to relocate or commute to a university in another city or area. When you enrol in an online course, however, the location is no longer an issue, and you’ll have access to a much broader range of courses.
This allows you to enrol in a course that truly suits your interests and career objectives, which in the long run, can make it a much better investment of your time and money.
Can be more effective than traditional classes
For certain types of learners, online learning can be more effective than traditional face-to-face classes. One study led by the U.S. Department of Education examined the results of 99 studies on traditional learning vs. online learning to determine which was more effective.
The research showed that while combining online learning with face-to-face instruction was the most effective way for students to learn, students who learned solely online actually performed modestly better on average than students who learned solely through face-to-face instruction.
Increased interaction and personalized feedback
In some cases, online learning can lead to increased interaction, because students who might normally be too shy to participate in classroom discussions may feel more comfortable sharing their views with educators and peers in an online setting.
Additionally, even though course leaders and mentors aren’t physically present, online students often receive more personalised attention and feedback on their work. This is because online students tend to be more closely monitored by support teams who assess their progress and understanding of the material, which means issues can often be identified earlier on.
Opportunity to develop self-discipline and time-management skills
Because of their flexible nature and lack of rigid deadlines, completing an online learning program requires commitment and self-discipline. With this in mind, enrolling in an online course can also be a great opportunity to develop important skills like time-management and self-discipline, which are highly valued by employers across all industries.
Want to know more about the accredited courses and nationally recognised qualifications offered by Open Colleges? Visit our course page to find an online course related to your area of interest and request a free course guide today.