BUSINESS NEWS - Studying through the internet has become a popular way of building on knowledge and developing new skills. With the opportunity to become a student at your fingertips, it’s easy to see why many are choosing to learn online rather than dedicating time, effort, and money to go to classroom sessions.
What are the advantages of learning online?
Why do so many people opt to learn behind their laptop instead of carting off to class? There are so many reasons why online learning has blossomed into a brand new industry with exciting prospects.
There is no limit to class size
Imagine it was possible for a university to sustainably host a lecture with 20 000 people in the class. It would be either extremely chaotic or very echoey. It might even be both. The lecturer would never get to your important question and you’d probably feel like you’re in a crowd rather than in a learning environment.
Classroom learning has its limits in terms of numbers. The internet does not. And the beauty of this is that you don’t have to forfeit learning engagement for convenience. With online discussions and classroom forums, it’s possible to communicate with many other students, professors, and lecturers without needing to deal with overstuffed venue halls.
Anybody can study anywhere
You might be reading this from your lounge, a coffee shop, the airport, or in a queue waiting to pay for your groceries. You might also be in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubai, or London. You’re on the internet where it’s the Bold and Borderless. With online learning, the convenience is the same - you can study from anywhere and in any country as long as you have access to the internet.
And while we wouldn’t advise focusing on an assignment in the grocery line, we do know that people like to learn in different environments and with online learning, you get to choose yours.
It’s usually cheaper
A student budget is a real concern. Moreover, student loans cannot be fixed by a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Although that would be lovely.
Even if you can afford to pay for the university fees, there is still the price tag of living on or near the campus so there’s rent, water, and electricity bills attached to the class experience. Also, you don’t need to pay for transportation to get to class. More often than not, short courses are priced so that you can affordably get world class knowledge while still getting the support from staff and lecturers that you would from a classroom-based course.
You can take your time
Online studying generally has a loosely laid out time scheme, with learning content or online lectures taking place at set times and deadlines and hand-ins put in place. This doesn’t dictate when you do the work, though. It’s up to you to choose if you want to complete the work far in advance or leave it to give you the drive from the pressure cooker of a very-soon-upcoming deadline.
It gives flexibility
Most online students are studying at the same time as working. Online courses allow freedom to chase other interests at the same time as acquire knowledge through the material. Without time constraints from lecturers, you can gain both the learning experience while enjoying the flexibility of living life outside of the classroom walls.
Although most online course companies offer classes around the same time as a university semester with the intention of freeing up holiday periods to students, some opt to have ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ classes during the vacation period so that students can study throughout the year.
It builds self-discipline
You choose your own schedule. This is both freeing but it also demands that you choose to give your attention to your course. All of the advantages of online studying come with the disclaimer that you need to have the discipline to maintain your work and meet the deadlines presented.
This, although tough to learn, does build a crucial life skill. Learning self-discipline is critical in achieving goals and setting yourself up for success. It’s a challenge, but the benefits are certainly worth the work.
According to Google Trends, the search term for “online learning” has beaten “classroom learning” and “adult classes” since 2004. This means that there are more people looking up online courses which interest them much more than researching classes which require attendance - and that it’s been like this for years.
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