Online learning has become popular due to the convenience and flexibility it offers. Students can study at their own pace and at their own time, without the hassle of commuting to classes.
The many benefits of online classes include saving time and money, having more control over your learning, being able to choose from a wider range of courses, and the opportunity to make online friends. And there are more advantages on our list.
We can also debunk the myth that online degrees are less valuable than traditional degrees. Employers respect candidates with online degrees. Graduates have demonstrated strong time-management skills, self-discipline, and the ability to work independently.
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 study 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, 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 gain time benefits from online courses. In fact, according to Australian Government Statistics, 42 percent of online university students are doing postgraduate courses. Presumably, most of these people 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 study 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 available.
Remote 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 an 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 example, universities that run courses both externally and at a campus award all graduates the same qualification, with the exact same words on the parchment.
Anyway, completing a qualification virtually 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, distance study is for you. You can literally choose from programs anywhere in your city, region, and state.
And it doesn’t stop there. As Lerna 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 not to put students through swot week and exam stress. Because big exams are harder to organise for virtual 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 programs 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.
Virtual 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.