Online education is becoming increasingly popular today, with dozens of online courses being held on a regular basis all over the globe. So why does online learning attract millions of people around the world? How does it enhance your professional skills and advance your career, and what is the future of this education trend?
Nowadays, studying on the Internet is not only popular, but it is also very convenient. Starting from choosing an educational course, picking the right tutor, planning the time for the classes, and carrying out payments—everything can be easily done online.
What Is Special About Online Learning?
In recent years, due to the global growth of the influence of the Internet, the role of online learning has increased significantly. People like the simplicity, financial attractiveness, and fun of this way of learning in comparison with the traditional education. Indeed, by studying online, you get easy and quick access to any material on your subject.
You can also choose any convenient time and place for an online class to take part in.
The strategic goal of distance learning is to provide people of any professional activity and at any place of residence with equal educational opportunities through the use of new information and communication technologies. Based on the use of distance learning solutions, the education system creates additional opportunities for updating training content, teaching methods, and knowledge dissemination.
It contributes to all levels of education. Thus, a large number of people who cannot afford studying in higher educational institutions due to the lack of financial or physical capabilities, or professional employment can sign up for an online course.
Online learning is also focused on the organization of corporate training. It is difficult for corporate workers to make a training schedule to complete traditional full-time study. Being able to independently study when they are comfortable is key for this category of students. With distance learning, every employer has a chance to plan his/her workload and schedule.
Benefits of Learning Online
You may have perhaps thought about the opportunities that online learning can offer compared to traditional full-time education. Although the classic, well-established way of education and online learning do not exclude but rather complement each other, the advantages of online learning are quite extensive.
Some of these benefits include:
- There is no need to pay rent or incur other costs associated with studying in the classroom.
- You can choose a training program and study while being away from the city.
- You can choose any educational institution even if it is located outside of your country.
- You are not connected to the venue of the training courses and have a chance to combine work and education.
- You can organize your time for learning, which contributes to higher motivation, better time management, and the ability to analyze and synthesize the material being studied.
Of course, there are many great things about online learning, which are mostly associated with online learning flexibility, availability, and a high level of customization of the educational process.
What is more, the advantages of e-education compared to the traditional way of learning are also obvious:
- The possibility of lifelong learning
- Students are trained independently in their own way; they choose the time and place that suits them best
- A variety of subjects are at your disposal
- The possibility to follow your own pace—students learn the subject as fast as they can; they can review the material as many times as necessary
- You can choose a place where you want to study (at home, at work, etc.)
- The opportunity to participate in the highest quality or prestigious programs—you can attend courses at the best educational institutions, which are conducted by well-known experts, regardless of where they take place
- Opportunity to choose your own way of studying the subject—active or passive learning and various levels of interaction
- Practical work with various technologies—you not only get information about the material being studied but also obtain additional knowledge and skills about the use of various technologies
Types of Online Learning Programs
Educational institutions providing online learning programs can be divided into three main categories:
For example, in the USA, there are a few of such educational institutions providing Bachelor’s and Master’s programs.
Decent establishments will have the necessary accreditation.
At the same time, there are also non-accredited programs, so it is important to find out what kind of accreditation a particular program has.
Corporate Training and Courses
Such educational organizations provide trainings and programs leading to obtaining a certificate and developing or strengthening any professional skills.
As a general rule, these are non-accredited programs established in accordance with the individual requirements of clients. Therefore, it is highly important to find out information about the course structure, its means and methods of communication, as well as student support provided.
Traditional Universities Providing Online Education
Many traditional universities and colleges have recently launched a part of their programs online, thus, expanding the list of courses offered.
How to Pick a Suitable Online Course
There are three main features defining a quality distance education program. If you want to pick an online course that will contribute to your professional development, then you should pay attention to the following things:
1. Course Structure
A online education program never copies the lecture program of the same/similar course. Instead of simple full-time study program duplication, the course is to be carefully organized in such a way to involve the student in the learning process with interesting topics and themes being discussed.
Besides, the structure of the course is to provide you with more opportunities to organize the online learning process than it would be possible with full-time education.
The main idea of any online course is that it should be focused on the student, allowing them to set the course content based on his/her personal needs and professional objectives.
2. Means and Methods of Communication
An online learning program may involve a wide range of information delivery methods; it could be email, telephone, online platforms, interactive television, newsgroups, audio/video conferencing, etc.
Communication methods need to be as consistent as possible for your learning style, so make sure to check it beforehand so that you stay on the safe side.
Depending on a course type, they can be either synchronous or asynchronous. The former require the simultaneous participation of both tutors and students, which allows for their interaction in real time. In this case, the means of information delivery include interactive television and video conferencing.
In turn, asynchronous methods are very flexible; they allow students to choose the time convenient for them to work on the course material.
3. Support and Contact With Students
Although participating in training courses remotely, students should in no case feel isolated from each other. A truly quality program will involve a variety of methods and techniques for creating an atmosphere of real interaction between students and a tutor.
When choosing a distance education program, clarify how students get help and support from their instructors. Ensure that there is online support, chat rooms, online bulletin boards, and other student counseling and support tools.
How to Use Online Learning to Enhance Professional Skills
Online education is a valuable tool in a fast-paced and highly competitive working environment. Professionals and experienced workers turn to online training or distance tutoring services to advance their career paths and strengthen their knowledge.
After all, online learning improves your skills and helps you acquire new ones without being distracted from work.
Whatever your level of training, area of interest, preferred format or schedule, you will definitely find something that suits you.
Everyone prefers to study in different ways, and online learning can give you as much time and attention as you need. Flexibility and convenience make the process of online learning more relaxed, especially for those who are extremely busy in their everyday life.
The advantages of the online learning method have already been appreciated by many large companies around the world. This type of education attracts many; not only with the opportunity to train a large number of employees at once but also with its affordable price.
Thus, large enterprises reduce the costs of staff development while maintaining high-quality training. Online corporate learning can be done both during work hours and after business hours.
The rapid development of information technologies and the widespread access to the Internet form new requirements and opportunities for modern learning experiences.
Taking into account all its features and benefits, there is absolutely no doubt that online learning helps you grow professionally and will enhance your career.