Third of all students take online classes. There are several benefits to learning virtually, including increased flexibility and lower cost.
But not all people are suited for online courses. Some people want to meet face-to-face with faculty or have in-person contact points to keep them on track.
When considering whether to enroll in an online class, you need to consider your career goals and preferred learning method. These are the advantages and disadvantages of online learning.
Pros Of Online Classes
1. You Can Learn on Your Time
Online courses are a great option for students looking to expand their skillset or for working professionals who already have full-time jobs. It doesn’t matter if you’re working or at lunch, you can still complete your coursework.
You can also arrange your learning to take place at the time you are most likely to retain new information. No matter if you are an early bird or a night owl you can log on whenever it is convenient for you.
2. You Can Learn at your Speed
Some students feel uncomfortable raising their hand to the professor and asking him to clarify a topic that their peers seem to understand. You can pause videos, or go back to topics covered in previous modules. Instead of just reading about a topic, you can dig deeper.
3. It’s possible to save money
Even though there are many courses online that are free, they still tend to be less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Learning online eliminates the need to pay room and board fees as well as travel expenses. Because you have greater flexibility, you can simultaneously earn a wage and an education.
4. Geographic Barriers can be broken
Online programs are available from anywhere. Online registrations are possible without the need to fly.
You don’t have to be geographically close to your peers. You can interact with fellow learners all over the world through online courses. This interaction allows you to gain a global view and learn how people from different countries and backgrounds can work together. Skills employers are looking for in candidates.
5. Tech Skills are Possible
Online courses can prove that you’re proficient with technology. This can positively impact your resume, as more companies are moving to remote work. Employers are looking for people who can use digital tools effectively and communicate well. These are traits you’ll learn in an online class.
6. You Can Achieve Similar Career Outcomes
There are several misconceptions about online learning–particularly that you won’t achieve the same outcomes or respect from employers that you would by attending an on-campus program. However, this is often not true.
According to a recent survey from City Square Associates 50 percent of learners said that they got more attention from recruiters after taking the Harvard Business School Online course. A quarter of them also claimed that they were offered a promotion or a title change. A certificate issued by a respected institution online can have the exact same or even greater impact on your resume than a traditional degree.
Cons Of Online Classes
1. Your interaction with faculty might be limited, if at all
Depending on what type of online program, you may only have limited interaction with the professors. Although your peers may be able to answer your questions and fill the void, it is important to consider how much faculty engagement you require to feel that you are making progress.
2. You Can’t Be Disorganized
It takes time management and self-discipline to complete an online course. Online courses aren’t a requirement. However, you can make sure that you have enough time to complete assignments and study. You can succeed in online environments if you are highly organized and can follow a schedule.
3. Possibilities for networking may be smaller
You may have fewer opportunities to meet peers depending on what course you choose. If social interaction is important to you, consider an online learning platform that is peer interaction and active participation. Or perhaps offers events.
Harvard Business School Online has more than 60 percent of its past participants who feel they are part of a community that shares similar aspirations.
4. Research is essential in Online Classes
There are more than 11,400 massive open online courses, so the choices can be overwhelming.
When you are compiling your research, write down the qualities that you desire in online education. This will help you narrow down your options. Are credentialing important to you? Do you prefer an immersive, interactive experience to just watching videos? Knowing your preferences will make it easier to find and remove the programs that don’t suit you.
5. You won’t always find industry-specific online education
There are not many opportunities to learn in more niche industries, despite the abundance of online courses. There are skills that will help you in any industry, and online courses that can fill in the gaps in your skills.
6. You might need to fight against misconceptions
While online learning is becoming more popular, there is still some skepticism. This is changing though. 83 percent stated that an online degree is as credible as one from a traditional college-based program. Employers deem an online program more credible if it is from a well-respected institution that has high-quality learners.
Evaluating The Pros And Cons Of Online Classes
You can decide whether online classes are right for you, based on your individual and professional goals. Many working professionals are interested in developing their careers through online courses. This allows them the flexibility and convenience to combine their existing job responsibilities with learning new skills.
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