The top 5 benefits of online education
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If 2020 taught us anything, it's that the world CAN keep turning despite physical distance between people. Businesses of all sizes had to pivot and figure out how to migrate their operations to the virtual world. Employees everywhere took to their kitchen benches to use Zoom to do what they would normally do face-to-face. And students logged on from their bedrooms to learn, connect and research like never before.
With millions of workers proving they can operate just as effectively in virtual teams, more and more businesses are permanently integrating remote workforces into their structures. It makes sense then that online education is on the rise, as it offers great preparation for professionals who will be faced with this shift toward online work. But is it as good an experience as learning in a real live classroom? What are the pros and cons? Below we take a look at some of the key benefits of online education.
Top 5 benefits of online education
1. Flexibility and Pace
Everyone is busy. We have families, work, hobbies and pets to juggle which can make attending a physical classroom almost impossible for some. Not many people have the luxury of taking time off work to study either. An online course offers individuals the opportunity to learn at a time and in a place that suits them. You'll be able to learn when it's convenient for you, providing greater balance between life, work and study.
Additionally, you'll be able to consume the learning materials at a pace that suits you. Ever felt frustrated in a classroom because there are students who want every detail repeated and dissected? Alternatively, ever felt lost because the speed of content was too rapid? Everyone hears information differently and learns new things at different rates. Some students aren't comfortable asking lecturers to repeat something they've said, or to question them for more detail on a specific topic, while others do this too often and labour the point. When learning online you can better manage the way you digest the material - you can pause the lecture to revisit past material, conduct additional research or organise your notes. Working through modules and lessons at your own speed gives you the opportunity to really understand something before you move on.
2. Improved Time Management
Time management is an essential skill for professionals. Juggling multiple clients, projects and expectations - doing more with less time - is commonplace these days. Studying for a professional qualification online will certainly assist with your time management skills as you'll be required to regularly check in, check off tasks and meet deadlines. Staying productive and on track week-to-week will be key to your success. Employers look favourably upon those who have been able to dedicate time to complete an online program, particularly whilst working, and view this time management skill as a valuable asset in future employees.
3. Proof of Self-Motivation
It's not easy to keep doing the work required to earn a qualification, especially when you don't even have to turn up to class! So by successfully completing a course online, you’re demonstrating to potential employers that you are not only good at managing your time but that you are self-motivated.
The expectation is that you will engage with the materials provided, interpret these and independently seek more information or advice so that you can provide answers to questions and implement the learnings in your own way. The same process applies to the workforce. The more motivated you are to learn and seek answers, the more you’ll succeed.
4. Enhanced Critical-thinking Skills
Critical thinking is required in any type of education, however in the online space it is heightened. Without the impact of the group chatter and the immediacy of feedback that's available in an in-person classroom, online learning students are forced to sharpen their critical thinking skills.
5. Refined Virtual Communication and Collaboration Skills
In an online program you'll not only need to learn to communicate effectively via electronic means with your teachers, but also with other students. There will be discussion boards to participate in and collaboration required through various programs and project management tools. Making decisions about how, when and with what tool you discuss certain matters will be vital.
Learning to work well with others in a virtual environment is not always easy but it will certainly sharpen your communication and organisation skills, not to mention your empathy! You'll need to communicate your ideas in a clear and succinct manner so that you elicit the response you desire, and you'll learn to respond to different perspectives and provide thoughtful and polite feedback. These are all skills required in the workplace which you'll learn quickly whilst completing an online program.
Is an online course right for you?
If you are trying to decide whether studying for your accounting or business qualification online is the right thing to do, be sure to weigh up all the benefits that online learning has to offer. If you are aiming to balance education with work and family commitments, then an online course is the perfect solution. And apart from the actual qualification you'll also learn a range of technical and communication skills which will be invaluable in your new workplace.