With all of the news about the global pandemic going around these days, I'm sure many of you are having to adjust to experiencing all of your education and training 100% online. So, in light of these changes, I wanted to go over some of the benefits of online learning, and some ways that College of Hope is working to become part of that solution.
1. More flexibility
Studying online gives you the ability to fit your learning into your busy work and family life. Whether watching recorded presentations, or participating in online discussion boards, there are many ways that this flexible schedule can be beneficial to you.
An interesting report published by bestcolleges.com states that 68% of online students are experienced professionals. More specifically, 36% consider themselves “industry switchers” hoping to move from one career field to another, while the remaining 34% are “career accelerators,” or working professionals who want to advance their current career. This kind of personal growth and professional development can take place through taking advantage of the many free life skills courses available at organizations like College of Hope.
Not only does online education make your schedule more flexible, it also gives you the opportunity to decide the "where" part, when it comes to your personal learning. Though currently there are not a lot of places open outside of the home, you still have the option to take your coffee outside and study in the sunlight, or to stay all cozy in a comfy chair/couch under a fuzzy blanket on a rainy day.
2. You get to pick the topics you want to learn about
Unlike with traditional schooling, where you have to travel away from home in order to get into the program you really want, online learning is the exact opposite. You now have the opportunity to look around at all of these accredited universities and find which one has the program that you desire to take, all from the comfort of your own home.
There are also options to take classes online just because you want to learn something new, or you want to build on a current skill set. Whether that's "how to manage your stress better", "how to cook healthy meals for your family", or "how to apply soft-skills in the workplace", there are many opportunities available for most anything you would ever want to learn about. Some programs even offer these classes for free!
3. Become more self-motivated
This one can be seen as both a positive and a negative trait to e-learning. While traditional classes require you to go and attend at a physical location, online classes don't have that same commitment. In one way or another, you become forced to learn valuable self-discipline skills in order to most effectively manage your time. The great thing about this though is that a good sense of self-discipline will make you stand out in the workplace, and the self-directed learning looks great on your resume.
In a survey conducted by The Learning House, 44% of online students reported improvements in their employment standing, and 45% reported a salary increase.
Self-discipline is an immensely powerful skill to have, and with online courses you can take a significant step in improving yours.
4. No more struggling to getting ready for class
This one is pretty self-explanatory. With online learning there's no longer the hassle of getting ready for class. Instead of having to make sure you're dressed and ready to be seen in public, you can just open up your tablet, laptop, or sit at your computer and log on wearing your jammies! This helps your productivity because you can log on whenever you're ready to.
This also applies to the struggle to get your kids ready for the day before you start your learning. With online classes, it becomes less of a race-to-the-door, giving you and your kids the opportunity to keep doing what you're doing and be more productive throughout the day.
According to a Brandon-Hall Study, learning through e-learning typically requires 40% to 60% less time than learning the same material in a traditional classroom setting. This is because it can be performed asynchronously and whenever the student needs it; not interrupting workflow. It is important to note that saving time doesn’t affect learning quality; it's actually quite the opposite.
5. Increased networking opportunities
Though traditional college courses have this to a degree, a really great thing about online classes is the opportunity to work and collaborate with students from around the country, and the globe. Not only can this increase your ability to work well with a wide range of people and personalities, but it also boosts cultural sensitivity and your ability to fit into other environments with ease.
6. It's good for the environment
At the surface, this is an obvious point because taking online courses definitely saves money on gas/bus fares and vehicle maintenance, but it goes deeper than that. You're saving on paper and energy because of the nature of the courses, all because you're not going into a large lecture hall to take notes and partake in physical tests and quizzes. In fact, here is a really interesting statistic I found about the benefits for the environment:
A study by the Open University found that producing and providing e-learning courses consumes 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per person than face-to-face training.
In the ever-growing concern about our affect on the environment, this is a small, but effective way to reduce your own carbon footprint.
7. You can learn at your own pace
With the face to face environment removed, the pressure to "compete" with your peers dissolves as well. This gives you the opportunity to knock some topics out quickly as you might grasp them better, while giving you more time on more difficult concepts. With many online courses, you control the speed at which you work through them.
After implementing an eLearning program in their company, IBM found that participants learned nearly five times more material without increasing time spent in training. By teaching more material in a shorter amount of time, companies are able to reduce the time employees spend on training, thus allowing them to get back to work faster, which in return translates into reduced costs.
When given the ability to work at your own pace, your time spent learning is more beneficial because you get to use that time more effectively to tackle the topics that you might not have grasped in a traditional learning setting.
This brings me to my last point:
The number of online students has risen every year for the past few years—and the most recent figures indicate that more than a quarter of all college students are taking an online class. This rapid expansion has prompted schools to increase the number of online classes and topics that they offer, making an online degree easier to obtain.
Over 6 million Americans are pursuing an online education. So whether you're looking to just take a few classes here and there to bolster your resume, or if you're trying to pursue a 4-year degree with an online university, take a look at your e-learning options. They might be even better than you think!
With current social distancing recommendations, and the fact that all in-person classes with College of Hope are cancelled through April 24th, we are working on offering some of our classes online. This way we can increase access and ensure that more people have the opportunity to continue learning and growing. We'll make sure to let you know when those free classes are available!
Please share in the comments below some of your favorite ways to learn online!