What do employers think of online education?


**This is an updated post**

The truth about online study

In recent years, our perceptions about remote working, studying online and what the ‘new normal’ will look like have all shifted a little. It’s no longer uncommon for employees to work from home, if not full time then at least part time. And the same goes for online study.

There’s an idea that ‘work is not a place, but something you do’. This idea is thriving, in part, thanks to more businesses developing an agile working environment. Employers are coming to see the benefit of trust-based systems, rather than ones based on how many hours a day their employees work.

This is assisted by new advancements in technology, combined with recent world events that have forced a dramatic upheaval of the way we see traditional offices and classrooms.


Interested in studying online? Check out our range of online courses.

Outdated stigmas and myths about online study

Studying a course by correspondence isn’t a new phenomenon (in fact, Open Colleges has been specialising in distance education for more than 125 years). But traditionally, online or distance study programs were usually taught to those who were unable to attend a regular classroom – people who lived in remote areas, people who found traveling to and from class difficult, parents with young children or those who were studying while still working a full-time job. But today, you’re just as likely to be a high-school graduate enrolling in an online course as you are a working parent looking to switch careers.

But while distance learning is becoming more normalised, some prospective students are still hesitant to enrol in an online course. Sometimes, this is due to concerns that future employers may not take their online qualification as seriously as they would one that was obtained within the four walls of a classroom.

However, these old stigmas are fading fast and online education is now being accepted as readily as traditional formats.

Myth #1: Online study is easier than studying in a classroom

Some individuals opposed to online education believe that online classes are easier than traditional classes because students can study at their own pace, instead of adhering to a strict schedule.

The truth is, online study is not easier or more difficult than studying in a classroom – it all depends on the learner.

Online learning requires a lot of self-discipline on the part of the student. There’s still a syllabus and assignments that need to be completed. And while you may not be attending regular classes, you’ll still need to make sure you’re dedicating a set amount of time each week to your online studies. In fact, the ability to be successful in online programs shows employers that you’re self-disciplined, motivated and organised.

Online education

Myth #2: Online Educators aren’t as qualified as classroom Teachers

Another misconception is that the Trainers, Assessors and Teachers who are involved in online education are somehow not as qualified as those who teach in traditional classrooms.

Again, this is completely untrue. Because no matter what education environment you teach in – online or otherwise – you need to have the correct qualifications and experience.

The reality is that many online Educators are true experts in their fields, with a vast range of experiences. Online Educators also need to receive special training to ensure they know how to use the technology involved in delivering online lessons and learning content.

Myth #3: Online education is only suited to a small percentage of people

As we mentioned above, online education is especially beneficial for those who, for one reason or another, cannot access a regular classroom during regular hours. But just because online study offers a flexible and convenient option for people with other commitments on their plates, this doesn’t mean it won’t benefit others.

Online study truly is for everyone. Whether you want to study online because you it allows you to fit study around your busy life, or because it just appeals to you more – you can choose to study whenever and wherever you like.

Myth #4: Online qualifications aren’t accredited

Some online courses are not accredited and are not recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). But in the same vein, not all classroom-based courses are accredited, either. And just because a particular course is not accredited (i.e. it’s not a diploma, a certificate or a degree) doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.

OC offers a number of non-accredited short courses. They’re designed to give you an overview of one particular subject to help you expand your skillset. However, we also offer a huge range of accredited certificates and diplomas that are recognised across Australia and meet the strict guidelines of the AQF. It all depends on what you need, what you want to achieve and why you want to study a particular course.

If you’re looking to begin a job in childcare and the minimum requirement to apply for a job is the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, then you need to find a registered training organisation (RTO) that offers this course. It’s no good finding an education provider (online or not) who offers an unaccredited course in childcare, because this won’t help you get the job you want.

online learning

What online education says about you

What kind of traits are employers looking for in prospective employees? Generally speaking, they’re the same traits needed to be a successful in an online study program.

As online learning is mostly self-directed, completing a course online shows prospective employers that you’re driven, have initiative, can manage your time well and are tech-savvy. This is a great way to promote proven skills to future employers.

On top of this, studying an online course can help you develop key competencies needed to succeed in the 21st century.

How employers really view online learning

When including your online course information in your resume, you should include the same information you would if you’d studied on campus. You should also be prepared to talk about your course in your interview.

Your interviewer may ask you specific question like, ‘What was your experience with studying online?’ But more than likely they’ll just want to know what your grades were, why you decided to undertake a course in the first place, and about your major coursework – just like a campus-based course.

Back in 2010, CNN reported on an international survey which had predominantly positive results.

Of the CEOs and business owners polled, 61 percent were familiar with online programs and 83 percent of the executives polled agreed that online programs were just as high quality and credible as traditional programs.

While the report is more than a few years old now, it only goes to show that employers see online courses in the same light as on-campus training; and this is not a recent trend, but something that has been growing over the last decade.

In more recent news, Finder published an article that stated clearly that recruiters do not see a difference between campus-based learning and online learning. In fact, online courses are sometimes seen as more valuable than campus-based courses because it proves definitively that applicants can successfully manage their time and their commitments.

The benefits of online study

Online education not only prepares you for a local economy, but you can compete on a more global level. You can access your coursework from any location at any time, unrestricted by your local area’s offerings .

Just because your local TAFE doesn’t offer the course you want to study, doesn’t mean you have to travel hours to a different campus or not pursue the course at all – online learning makes things much more accessible than traditional, campus-based learning. You’re completely unrestricted.

Open Colleges has a wide range of courses available across a number of portfolios, including accounting, businesses and leadership, trades, technology and more.

Our nationally recognised, online qualifications will help teach you in-demand skills employers are looking for today. Whether you’re looking to take the next step up in your current role, switch careers or expand your skillset, you can achieve this with an online course.

Start making things happen today. Enrol in an online course with OC today.



Interested in studying online? Check out our range of courses.


Saga Briggs is an author at InformED. You can follow her on Twitter@sagamilena or read more of her writing here.

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