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We shop online, bank online, date online and we even make friends online. So it is no surprise perhaps that many of us are now considering the benefits of online education.
Online classes vs traditional classes are very different in nature. Inevitability they are more about independent learning, with much more of the work done by the student who needs to be motivated.
However, the tradeoff is being able to study from anywhere in the world.
Online education is in its infancy compared to many other digital disruptive technologies but increasingly it will become the default mode of learning. Harvard Business School recently saw a 70% rise in enrollment to their online courses. Here are the top five advantages of online learning.
1. Work From Anywhere
From a pristine beach in Florida, like Palm Beach, to the snowy mountaintops of Switzerland, wherever there is an internet connection you can work. No longer do you have to be tied down to one place for months at-a-time, even years.
With the cost of living a lot cheaper in many parts of the world, you can even complement your online study alongside an online job, reducing the hours you work, without reducing the quality of your life as you spend less on clothes, food, and drink in a different country.
The extra time you have you can use to study ensuring you get the most out of your course rather than studying in the evenings when you get home from the end of a 9-5 day job.
One option is a work and study program designed to turn you into a digital entrepreneurial success, like Nomad Academy.
2. Wider Selection of Teachers/Experts
If you decide to learn online then you also get a wider selection of teachers and experts to choose from. If you were studying at a traditional university or college then you are limited to the teachers who are employed by that institution. They might not be the perfect fit for you, both in terms of their expertise, their personality and teaching style.
You might also sign up to a course in the expectation of being taught by a particular teacher or professor only to find you have been placed with someone else because they have left, have gone on a sabbatical, research leave or maternity leave.
With an online course the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your teacher or expert. Moreover, if your teacher suddenly becomes unavailable you can simply cancel and get a refund. In a university situation that is not an option and you are forced to be taught by whoever has been appointed as a replacement.
Artificial intelligence is also helping teachers make their lessons smarter.
3. Fit Online Lessons Around Your Life
What commitments do you have in your life? Many people have a social life, a family and a job as well as bills and a mortgage to play. Putting all of these on hold can be stressful and counter-productive.
Whilst there is a lot to be said about being part of a learning community, you can still find this online. There is nothing to stop you arranging meet-ups with other people from the course every few months in a city or town that is a relative distance from each of you.
4. Study Alongside a Job More Easily
There are many part-time courses at colleges and universities that supposedly allow you to study alongside a full or part-time job. But these can require you to drive to the university or college and physically spend time in a building.
This can be time-consuming as you get stuck in rush-hour traffic after work and struggle to find a car parking space.
In reality, studying from home and not having this hassle is much more productive. Often you can decide when you want to have the lessons so you can choose a day you know you have no other business. You could also have your lesson at the start of the week when you know you will be less burned out.
If you work in a pressurized job that requires you to be on call, such as an emergency service worker or an electrician, online work can be a Godsend whereas a part-time course at a physical college or university would not be able to offer you this flexibility.
5. Fewer Distractions
You’d be surprised by how many distractions there are in your average lecture theatre or classroom. These relate to your environment, which you have no control over. Maybe there is someone next to you talking, perhaps the lecturer or teacher is late or perhaps the room is too cold.
If you’re studying at home from a computer you have control over all of these factors and you even have the freedom to make yourself a cup of your favorite tea or coffee to put you in the mood for concentrating.
The Benefits of Online Education Outweigh the Disadvantages
Whether you sign up to an online education course depends on what you want from your education. If you want a social community then attending a course in person might be for you.
However, the advantages of online education far outweigh the potential disadvantages of not having a community to interact with, which you can resolve anyway by creating a chat for your course mates or seeking out others in Facebook groups studying similar subjects.
Imagine being able to learn as you travel around the world? It’s a unique experience that is more rewarding and more enriching than learning in a classroom where you can very easily get stuck in a rut.
If you’re interested in reading more stories about the benefits of online education and traditional education be sure to check out our piece on the dos and don’ts of the first year of medical school by clicking here.