Educational institutes have used the same method of teaching for hundreds of years. A group of students sit in class whilst a teacher stands at the front of the room and explains the day’s topics to them. However, whilst this method is effective in some ways, there are far more options for students in the 21st century than ever before.
In recent years, online learning has become a popular alternative to in-person classes. Following on from the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to e-learning has rapidly increased as more and more institutes and students realise the many benefits of learning remotely on their own devices.
Online learning, also referred to as e-learning, takes place over the internet which means that many students work from home. Tutors create a schedule of live or recorded lectures and work materials that students can watch and interact with at their own pace. They often are often accompanied by live chat options between the tutor and student, along with virtual quizzes and exams.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the many benefits of online learning, from the decrease in course costs to the flexibility that comes with working at your own pace in your own time.
Top 10 benefits of online learning
There are many benefits of online learning. Research has shown that students who study online cover five times more course material than traditional education, without spending any more time on the topics. This is largely due to the flexibility that online learning offers, along with the virtual materials and guidance that is provided.
As an online student, you will also have access to many more courses and academics than if you wanted to attend class in person. Also, you aren’t limited to the geographical location of the university or tutors, which gives you even more choice and flexibility.
Below is a breakdown of the top 10 benefits of taking e-learning courses and how they can help you make the most of your studies.
One of the most obvious advantages of online learning is that you don’t have to attend the class physically. This cuts down on relocation issues, as well as commuting costs and scheduling. You won’t be limited to educational institutions within your local area or country, as many online courses accept international students. Apart from differing time zones causing trouble, there isn’t any reason that you can’t attend a class that is hosted by a school on the other side of the globe.
Working online also means that you can stay at home on days when you don’t feel well or need to stay in for a delivery, or if need to take care of your children. You can also choose to learn in a setting and environment that suits you. Whilst some people prefer to work alongside other people, you may prefer to work in a quiet room on your own without any distractions.
You can still work in a job alongside your online studies because most courses allow you to pick and choose a schedule that suits your personal circumstances. Many online classes offer recorded materials that you can watch in your own time and pause and rewind if you need to go over something again.
Depending on the course, you may be able to study part-time by dedicating a few full days to continuous work and then taking the rest of the week off for other activities. Some students prefer to work in one block, whilst others find it easier to work on and off throughout the day.
You can also spend more time on one topic than another if you find yourself struggling. This is far easier to do online because you aren’t restricted by the schedule that teachers set out for students in a physical classroom. You also don’t have to work at the same pace as your fellow students, which means that you can skip ahead if needs be.
Without the limitations of locations or time, you can choose a course in whatever subject area you like. Online classes give you the freedom to pick a course schedule that works for you and your other commitments so that you don’t have to make too many sacrifices for your education.
Working online means that you can roll out of bed and log onto your computer straight away. You won’t have to factor in commuting times to your day or worry about dressing smartly if you’re feeling unwell. Online learning is a popular choice for those with young families, as you can adjust your timetable around childcare or other duties.
Despite the many benefits of working online, you should remember that your studies are as important as if you were attending class in person. It is very easy to pick up bad habits and procrastinate, but this can be avoided by giving yourself a timetable to follow each day.
Online courses are usually cheaper than in-person classes because the institutes don’t have as many overhead fees. The online course doesn’t have to pay for classroom space, student equipment or the many other costs incurred by physical classrooms. These reduced costs mean that most institutes won’t charge you as much money to take an online course as they would for face-to-face classes.
The freedom of online learning also means that you have a wide selection of courses to choose from, which allows you to factor in the cost when you are deciding where to study.
There are unlimited online learning materials that you can access to help you improve your technical skills. These could be directly related to your course subject or as a personal goal to improve your digital literacy. Rather than sitting behind a desk all day whilst a tutor talks at you, online classes often require interaction as you navigate different software and documents to keep up with the topics in a module.
One important skill that you will certainly develop through online education is communication. You won’t be able to stop by the teacher’s desk on the way out of a lecture, which means that it’s up to you to reach out to a tutor through email, phone calls or video calls. It’s important to keep in regular contact with your peers and tutors, which will improve your written and oral communication skills.
Motivation is also a major factor when it comes to how successful students are in online courses. Learning online is a highly independent form of study, and it will push you to set your own deadlines and be responsible for your own success: skills that employers value highly. However, an online class isn’t necessarily the best option, if you know that you get distracted easily or aren’t very good at self-discipline.
Online learners may be in a class with a whole range of people from different backgrounds and nationalities. It’s the perfect opportunity to interact with your fellow students to help each other with the course material and collaborate on extra-curricular activities. You may find that you make connections that last well after the course has finished.
Student interaction is a crucial part of any course, as you will likely have different strengths and weaknesses from your fellow students. You can also hear different perspectives on subjects, which will help you to broaden your own views. Working and interacting alongside people from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds can enhance your learning outcomes. Your intellectual engagement will improve, as will your critical thinking and writing skills.
A solid network of peers and academics can further your career as you gain insights and experiences that you may not have otherwise had. Online courses are instrumental in connecting people from around the world and expanding their circles. You may be limited to a smaller group of people if you stay in your local area for traditional classes.
Independent learning pace
An important part of your learning journey is your mental health. Some students find that they compare themselves to other students too much, which can develop into feelings of self-doubt and stress.
Students should learn at their own pace. However, being in a class of faster learners can be detrimental to one’s self-confidence. Slower learners might feel extra pressure and develop a sense of inadequacy. On the other hand, faster learners may feel that they are being held back by slower learners, and develop feelings of frustration.
E-learning platforms can tailor your online training materials to suit your speed so that you don’t feel like you are being rushed or held back. You can skim through material that you feel more confident with and spend time going over areas that you find more difficult.
One of the joint benefits and challenges of learning online is independent study. Learning at your own pace can be an advantage because you can speed through or take your time on things, but it also takes an incredible amount of self-discipline. You must be willing to dedicate time to your online course and stick to your schedule. It’s very easy to lose motivation if a topic is difficult, but this is when you need to find other materials or speak with your tutors and peers to find a solution to your queries.
You will need to set your own goals throughout each day and week to help you work through the workload. Along with time management, you will also need to improve your research and critical thinking skills. These are all valuable skills that will appeal to future employers because it shows that you are a self-starter who can tackle projects on your own.
Customised learning environment
Online students are able to create their own learning space wherever they like. This could be in a dedicated study within your home, in the garden or even at a local coffee shop. You can study wherever you feel most comfortable and can get lots of work done.
A physical classroom is very structured and you have to be aware of the people around you. However, studying on your own means that you can use strategies such as reading aloud and putting notes up on the walls without worrying that you are disturbing other people.
Some students like to listen to music whilst they work whereas others need complete silence. It’s not always possible to get ideal working conditions within a classroom, which is why online courses are a good alternative. You use the online learning system to your advantage by choosing visual or audio methods to create the perfect learning environment to fit your tastes.
Everyone has different learning styles, which is why some people find that synchronous online learning or traditional teaching methods work best for them. Online courses can be supplemented by extra-curricular reading and research so that you can gain a better understanding of the topic.
Online programmes often have a faster graduation rate than more traditional methods because you don’t have to rely upon the pace set by your tutors or peers. You can adapt your studying schedule to fit around your other commitments which can help your productivity levels in the long run.
You will encounter a variety of tools in an online programme, such as videos and interactive pages that are designed to keep you engaged. These can help students to get a better understanding of a topic rather than by reading pages and pages of textbooks alone. Online students can also choose to contact their tutors via video calls or emails, which means that you can connect with them in real-time or at your leisure.
Research has found that students who participate in online learning perform better than those that take face-to-face classes. Online learning has lower levels of control than traditional teaching methods but often offers more learning time as students can spend as much time as they need on each topic.