Thirds of all have taken online courses. While there are many reasons for this, there are several key advantages to learning virtually.
Online courses are not for everyone. Some individuals prefer to speak with faculty face-to-face or require the support of an instructor in person to stay on track and motivated.
You should weigh the pros against the cons when considering taking an online class. This will help you to make a decision about your career goals as well as your preferred learning style. Below are some pros and cons of learning online.
Pros Of Online Learning
1. You Can Learn on Your Time
For undergraduate students, who want to learn a new skill or working professionals with a full-time jobs, the flexibility of online courses is unparalleled. You can do your coursework at any time that suits you best, including after work and during lunch.
It's also possible to schedule your learning so that you retain the most information. You can log into your account at whatever time suits you best, no matter whether you're an evening or morning person.
2. You Can Learn at Your Own Speed
Some students may not feel comfortable asking professors questions in class. You can pause videos or jump to earlier modules in an online learning environment. Instead of skimming over a topic, you can dive into it deeper.
3. You can save money
Although there are many free online courses available, those that aren’t usually cost less than those offered on campus are still more affordable. Online learning allows you to eliminate the cost of the room, board, and travel fees. The flexibility of virtual learning allows you to simultaneously earn a living and an education.
4. Geographic Barriers Can be Broken
There are no geographical restrictions when you choose an online program. It is possible to register for an international program without having to board a plane.
Your peers are also free from geographical limitations. Online courses give you the chance to connect with other learners from all over the globe. That interaction will give you a global perspective, and allow you to learn how to collaborate with people from other countries. Skills that employers want in candidates.
5. Tech Skills Can Be Learned
You can demonstrate your technology proficiency by completing an online course. This will positively impact your resume since more companies accept remote work. Employers want to see that you are comfortable with technology, can communicate effectively, and are organized. These are all traits that employers will look for in online classes.
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. But this isn't always true.
A recent survey done by City Square Associates showed that 50 percent of learners received more attention from recruiters when they completed a Harvard Business School Online program. Another four percent reported getting a promotion, or title change. An online certificate from a trusted institution can have the same impact as or even more on your resume than a traditional degree.
Cons of Online Learning
1. You might have very limited interaction with the faculty
Depending on which type of online program is chosen, you might have little to no interaction with the professors. You may find your peers able to answer your questions or fill in for the professors, but it's important to think about how much faculty engagement you need in order to feel like progress.
2. You Can't Be Disorganized
You will need to be able to manage your time and keep track of your time when taking an online course. While you aren't required to be present in class every week, it is up to you to schedule time for studying and working through assignments. An online environment is best for those who are organized and can keep to a timetable.
3. You might have fewer networking opportunities
It is possible that there are fewer opportunities for peer networking depending on which course you choose. If you value the social aspect of learning, an online platform that encourages peer interaction and active participation or offers events is the best choice.
Harvard Business School Online's past participants have a higher than 60 percent satisfaction rating, with more than 60% saying they feel part of a community that shares their aspirations.
4. Research is a must
Over 11,400 free massive online courses can be overwhelming.
While you're researching, make a list of the qualities you would like to see in an online course. Do you feel a credential is important? Do you desire an interactive, immersive experience? It's easier to recognize and reject programs if you know your preferences.
5. You can't always find industry-specific training online
There are only a few opportunities available for those in more specific industries despite the abundance and availability of online education. However, if you're serious about your career advancement, you will find business skills to help you regardless of your field and courses that can fill in the gaps in what you know.
6. You may need to fight misconceptions
There is still some doubt about online education, despite its popularity. But that's slowly changing. 83 percent believed an online degree was as credible and trustworthy as a traditional program on campus. Employers stated that online programs are more credible if they come from well-respected institutions with top-quality students.
Reviewing Online Learning: The Pros And Cons
You decide if online courses are right for your needs based on what you want and how you learn best. Online courses can be a convenient way for professionals to learn new skills while still maintaining their job duties and life stages.