Seems like everybody is doing online learning these days… hardly surprising given how the power of digital technology. Online learning is good because it allows you to study on your terms. Here are 7 benefits to explain why more and more students are choosing online study.
1. You can save time… and do other things
Personally, I like to sleep in, not shower — as long as I’m not itchy — and work from the couch. Already, in one sentence, there are three excellent reasons why online learning is good for students.
A big advantage of online learning is that there are no classes that you have to attend in person. So, you don’t need to shower or get dressed, and there’s no driving and parking or trying to catch buses. As an added bonus, you’re right by the kitchen if you need a snack.
But you don’t have to be a slobbish student to get time benefits from online learning. In fact, according to Australian Government Statistics, 42 percent of online university students are doing postgraduate courses. Presumably, most of these online learners are studying while doing things like working full-time and raising a family.
That’s a great benefit from online study. Instead of wasting time getting to and from the classroom, you can get on with the real business of building knowledge and acquiring skills.
2. Study fits into your life, not the other way round
Another reason why online learning is popular among mature-age students is the tremendous flexibility offered. For most programs, there are few, if any, times when you have to be online.
Online learning allows you to study at whatever time of the day or night suits you. If the best time to review a presentation is first thing in the morning before everyone wakes up, go for it. You can also catch up on study during your lunch break or on the evening commute. Do it in bed if you like… whatever works for you.
3. You can save money
Generally speaking, online learning is cheaper than doing courses where you have to turn up to classes. As already mentioned, you don’t have travel costs. You can potentially keep working as well, which might make a huge difference to your bank balance.
And you can save on tuition fees. Normally, the fees for the online version of a course are as high as the fees if you turn up in person. That’s not where the savings come from.
You can save money because you are able to choose which university, college or school you study with. While you might choose am expensive, prestigious institution, you also have the option of going for a cheaper, high-value course that might be across the country or even on the other side of the world.
4. You lose no prestige from doing it
Some people seem to think that an online degree or diploma somehow doesn’t carry the same weight as a qualification you get by attending classes in person. They’re wrong.
For the record, there is no difference in the actual degree or diploma document you receive. You don’t see “ONLINE” stamped on certificates for online programs. For example, universities that run courses both online and at a campus award all graduates the same qualification, with the exact same words on the parchment.
Anyway, completing a qualification online deserves just as much respect, if not more, than doing an on-campus program. The requirements to pass are just as rigorous. And it is generally recognised that studying online successfully requires good amounts of determination and self-motivation.
5. Choose whatever type of course you want
If you’re a keen shopper and like to have options to choose from, online learning is for you. You can literally choose from programs anywhere in your city, region and state.
And it doesn’t stop there. As Online Study Australia shows, across Australia, multiple good courses are available in every subject. You can also study with foreign universities and colleges, though you won’t be eligible for Australian Government loans and subsidies.
Choice means you can study the specific field that you are interested in pursuing a career in. But, you should know, some courses are unavailable 100% online because they are very hands-on. These include medicine and nursing, professional engineering and fine arts for example.
As an online learner, you can go for a traditional study format, with 2-3 semesters per year and a final exam. Or, you can do something different, such as a degree where you study year-round and never have to cram / swot for long exams.
6. Avoid horrible, long exams
I know I just mentioned this but it’s definitely worth exploring further. By studying online, you may be able to complete a diploma or degree without ever having to face a long exam.
With a traditional university unit, your final score is normally determined by a 3-hour exam at the end of the semester. The exam can make up 60, 80 or even 100 percent of your final grade.
That emphasis on the final exam creates all sorts of pressure. You also end up wondering what the point of it was anyway. All those facts and figures you spent hours cramming into your head seem to be forgotten as soon as you walk out of the exam hall.
Online courses tend to not put students through swot week and exam stress. Because big exams are harder to organise for online students, assessment tends to focus more on assignments, projects and short quizzes.
You’re expected to study hard, but as you go along — rather than at the end. The online style makes for reduced failure risks, less stress and, importantly, more consistent learning effort.
7. You can make (online) friends
Yet another benefit of online learning is that you make friends. By participating in forums, email-based study groups and social media groups, you can make connections. Online students often report making friends and gaining study support by connecting to fellow students.
Online friendships may seem a little shallow compared to face-to-face relations, but at least they’re likely to happen.
Many college and university students attend class after class on campus without ever making friends that way. It’s not that easy with busy timetables, huge lecture theatres and little room for chat. Ironically, students are more likely to reach out to others when everyone is online.