Obtaining education and degrees online has grown in popularity in the past few years, with more and more schools offering online education programs. If you are considering online learning as a means of getting your desired education, however, you should be aware that, although it may be more convenient, online learning isn’t necessarily easier, and will still require you to apply yourself and invest time and effort into completing the course of your choice. So is this option right for you? Below are some pros and cons of online learning which will help you answer that question:
Flexibility: Online courses are far more flexible than traditional education. It is entirely up to you when you are going to listen to lectures, or do your coursework, as long as you meet certain set deadlines since the courses are available 24/7. This is great for people who have a busy life or a demanding job, as long as they are good at time management since you will have to organize your time well in order to be able to keep up with additional obligations.
No travelling: You can take online courses from your home, regardless of where the school is, which allows you to choose any school offering the education of your choice, even if it is in another country. This can save you the time and money you would otherwise spend travelling.
You set the pace: Being able to learn at the pace that suits you is another benefit of online learning. Whether you want to take your time to understand the material completely, especially if you are new to the subjects covered by the course, or you want to speed up the process if you have already completed some coursework before, online learning can accommodate your needs.
Diverse options: Online education providers offer a lot of course options, without some of the limitations of traditional schools, such as the number of classrooms or teachers. This means you can enroll in virtually any program in any school that offers it and get the education you want, through a personalized learning process.
Different learning materials: Schools which offer online courses use technology to provide you with education through a variety of rto materials and other resources. Online education providers also offer a variety of learning methods, including webcams, virtual classrooms, or CDs, and learning materials in all formats, such as text, graphics or videos. The different methods, flexibility, and personalized approach make online learning an entirely different experience, compared to traditional classrooms.
Limitations: Certain skills and knowledge simply can’t be acquired just through online learning, such as different trades which require practising skills under the guidance of a teacher. Although you may learn the principles and theory, practice is an essential part for some courses, which require you to learn by doing, and such programs can’t be offered online.
Social interaction: People taking courses online don’t have the opportunity to interact with other students, form relationships and potentially help each other. The interaction with teachers and instructors is also limited since it mainly consists of written communication or occasional webcam chats if you have some questions. Thus, you may find yourself on your own when trying to grasp some more complex subjects. The lack of face-to-face contact with teachers, which can be considered as the main disadvantage of online learning, can be overcome to a certain degree by taking blended courses, which combine the benefits of distance learning with classroom teaching.
Requires self-motivation: All the flexibility upsides of online learning and being able to set your own pace may make it easier for the student to procrastinate. If you struggle to motivate yourself to complete assignments and take classes, online education may not be right for you. Since there is no one to push you or remind you about your deadlines and obligations you need to have a good dose of self-motivation and discipline in order to succeed.
Questionable quality: There is still some prejudice present regarding the quality and validity of distance learning courses. This is mainly due to the fact that not all online schools provide education of high quality, nor diplomas which are recognized universally. When choosing an education provider, make sure they are a properly accredited institution.
Financial aid may not be available: If you don’t have the funds to pay for all the costs of the course, you probably want to find a course which has scholarships available. While financial aid is available for some online courses, others may require you to pay for them entirely on your own, which can be a deal-breaker for some students.
Taking courses and acquiring knowledge online can be a very convenient way to start or advance your career. However, as you probably realize, it isn’t the right way to go for everyone. While it might be the only viable option for people with a full-time job, others may benefit more from traditional classroom education and a more hands-on approach they offer. Some of the pros and cons of online learning mentioned above should give you some idea on whether taking courses online is in your best interest, depending on your situation and personality.
With a wide variety of courses and different education providers available, selecting the right ones for your needs and future plans will require a good amount of research. However, it is important for you to be diligent since you want to select an accredited institution which will provide you with quality learning materials and a degree which will help you realize your ambitions and career plans.