Online learning has been available for a couple of decades now but the global pandemic really brought it into the spotlight.
With so many schools closed to prevent the spread of the virus, more and more educational institutions started offering online classes.
If you still haven’t tried learning over the internet, here are some benefits and drawbacks you should be aware of.
PRO: Flexible hours
One of the biggest reasons why people decide to take an online course is the flexibility in terms of time. By taking an online class, you get to choose when you will listen to it.
This approach is great as not everyone is productive at the same time. While some people perform best in the morning, others prefer to learn in the evening.
Moreover, you can also go over what you’ve learned whenever it suits you. Additionally, this flexibility also allows people to take care of their various daily obligations, including a full-time job.
CON: Lack of motivation
On the other hand, many people have issues with motivation when learning from home. If you’re not good at self-discipline, you might not feel motivated to pay attention to your classes and you might take every opportunity to distract yourself.
From scrolling your phone while listening to a class to opting for a TV show instead of a class, there are many ways how you can get distracted without supervision. To stay on top of your schoolwork, create a schedule for yourself, set some goals, and remember that you are doing this in order to improve yourself.
PRO: Setting your own pace
If self-motivation is your strong suit, you’ll also love the advantage of setting your own pace while learning online. Your progress will not depend on other students, meaning that you can speed up or skip lessons that are easy and you’re already familiar with.
Conversely, you’ll also be able to go over lessons that are troubling you until you’ve mastered them.
CON: Fewer options
A downside that might be of vital importance is the fact that there are some classes that simply cannot be taught online. While you can learn to speak a language or play an instrument by following an online course, there are some professions that cannot be mastered in this way.
For instance, even though you could learn all the necessary medical theory and watch many experts perform surgery, you cannot become a surgeon through an online class.
PRO: Plenty of learning materials
That being said, there are still many other courses that you can take online to gain new skills and improve the existing ones. Everything from cooking to science to sports is available and the materials you can use for these classes abound.
By finding the best LMS e-learning platform, you will not only get access to various reliable resources but you can also track your progress, use collaborative tools, and receive notifications about deadlines and new assignments. All of this is possible without leaving your home.
CON: Limited scholarship options
Something that can present a real obstacle when signing up for online classes is the lack of scholarship options. While there are universities and organizations that offer students scholarships, most online course providers nowadays are private entities that only have profit in mind, meaning that discounts and scholarships are not a common occurrence.
Check whether you can pay in installments and keep an eye on social media to see when discounts might be available.
PRO: No commuting
Regardless of the pandemic, commuting on a crowded bus for a few hours is no one’s favorite mode of transportation. Fortunately, by opting for online courses, you don’t have to leave your home in order to acquire new knowledge.
Moreover, even if you have your own car to get you to the classroom, you still have to pay for gas and wait in traffic. In addition, online courses allow you to get a good education no matter where you are located, as long as you have a good internet connection. Plus, you’ll be lowering your carbon footprint.
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CON: No social interactions
While learning from the comfort of your own home has plenty of benefits, it should also be said that peer interaction is very limited and can be missed by many online students. There are no study groups, sharing notes, or getting together to discuss assignments as online courses are often structured in such a way that learners simply observe the class with possibly an occasional remark.
What is more, there are also one-on-one classes where you interact only with the teacher as well as pre-recorded lessons that you can listen to in your own time. All of this can make online learning a bit unappealing to students that thrive on social interactions.
As you can see, online learning has its benefits and its drawbacks. If you don’t mind a lack of social interactions and can easily motivate yourself, this is something that you should take into consideration if you’re looking to gain some new skills.
Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several websites.
Image Credit: pros and cons of online learning by twenty20.com
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