In a previous blog I outlined six advantages of online learning.
These benefits are time and location flexibility, learning to be a self-starter and finisher, eliminating or vastly reducing travel expenses, safety, particularly in our new Covid world, and the ability to benefit from diverse perspectives and networking.
Are there additional advantages?
Yes! There are many other advantages to online learning, including;
Learning new technical skills.
This will be true for some folks more than others. However, stop and think about the different technical skills and tools you either learned or gained proficiency in since Covid dropped on us in March of 2020. Sure, I used Zoom and Skype before that, but like most people, I found myself using it far more often over this last year and with a larger pool of people. Had anyone told me two years ago that my 89-year-old father and I would be communicating via Skype, I would have laughed but that is what happened. This illustrates a more significant point. Technology that was less common across all age groups and businesses several years ago has become far more normal. This is likely to accelerate as more companies use virtual teams and remain remote. Students and graduates of online programs are likely to be better versed in various tools they need to know when in the workforce.
This includes but is not limited too;
GLIP. An instant messaging (IM) platform allows you to collaborate with groups or individuals, share documents, and edit in real-time. Please note that GLIP is just one of many IM platforms.
Trello: A project management tool that allows users and their teams to create, track, and prioritize to-dos.
Basecamp: A different project management tool users can use to share messages and upload files.
Learning remotely helps you work remotely.
Students will be engaging in the same types of communication found in remote workplaces in many online educational programs. This communication encompasses everything from taking part in discussion boards, working with virtual teams, learning or honing written communication and presentation skills, and attaining mastery of various technical skills and applying them in real-world scenarios.
Build your own learning environment.
In the past, going to school meant physically attending classes or lectures. Further study might involve walking to a campus library. All of this involved having to deal with crowded facilities, noise, and lots of distractions. Online learning programs give students the ability to customize their learning environment. This will require some reflection. What is the place and way for you to concentrate? Use the answer to help achieve and create the best study environment possible.
As a general rule online programs are less expensive than traditional classroom programs. This is due to the overhead cost a brick and mortar school incurs to operate compared to lower operating costs to run/offer online programs. While some schools are fighting this and trying to charge similar amounts for online programs that they used to get for traditional classrooms, it is probably a losing proposition. Online schools are able to offer their programs for less, but in general, the accessibility equation has changed. In the not so distant past, if you wanted to learn anything beyond reading a book or watching a video, it typically involved taking a class to do so. Today that is not the case, and there are thousands of free online classes and tutorials on a vast variety of topics. This means larger numbers of students gravitate to online learning and bring with them an expectation of not automatically having to pay a tremendous amount for instruction, particularly if this instruction is online. What something is worth is frequently based on what people are willing to pay for it.
Watch for prices on many kinds of education to come down as more and more of it migrates online.
It is green!
Think of it this way. What if 100,000 students did not have to drive their vehicles or take any transportation to school? What if these same learners were not using millions of pages of paper every year? What if schools did not have to use energy to heat or cool buildings or water to keep campuses looking pretty? While we are not there yet, as an online student, you reduce your footprint on the environment, which is a very high priority for some learners.