October 9th, 2013 by schoolbound
Online learning, e-learning, distance learning, whatever you call it, can be a great way to advance your education, training, knowledge and paycheck. Taking classes online is a popular way for working professionals to have the time and opportunity to earn a degree at their own pace. People who take online classes usually are looking for career advancement, career changes, or to finish a degree program. There are hundreds of online programs and colleges to choose from, making it easier than ever before for prospective students to find the right fit.
Earning a degree from an online college can possibly lead to a promotion and/or salary increase, or prepare you for a whole new career. Even though classroom learning may be considered more traditional, online education is beneficial in its own right. Some advantages and benefits of online learning are:
- Degree Programs and Courses Offered There are a variety of degree programs and single classes offered through online colleges. Being able to choose from many different programs all over the country and world allows prospective students to find one that will suit their needs. Taking away the limitations of geography allows information on highly specialized subjects taught by experts in their fields, to reach more people. These days, some of the best online programs are available over the Internet, for business management, nursing, computer programming, marketing, communications, and human resources management. Additionally, students can also choose from various types of degrees depending on previous education. Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, MBA, and Ph.D. degrees as well as certifications can all be earned online.
- Lower Costs It is not uncommon for tuition at online schools to be lower than a traditional campus school, although this is certainly not true of all online programs. Take away the costs associated with things like commuting, parking, housing and typical classroom supplies and you lower costs even more. In some cases students might not have to worry about rising textbook prices as some programs may not require them or provide up to date reading materials online where students are able to download everything needed for their classes, including lectures, assignments, additional notes, and other materials. Also see my previous blog post on Tips For Saving Money On College Textbooks.
- Choosing Study Times Students will be able to plan their study time around the rest of their day instead of the other way around. It is your choice whether or not studying at night or in the morning is best for your busy schedule, but it is recommended that you try to develop a study routine if possible. Having to work and attend classes at the same time can be very stressful. Online classes remove the stress by allowing you to learn when it is convenient, hopefully helping you to soak up and retain information better.
- Flexibility in Completing Assignments Depending on the course structure and schedules, deadlines may not be as strict when taking classes online. You may be able to work on and complete assignments when you are ready and at your own pace, as long as you complete the assignments required by the deadline. You also may not be penalized for turning in assignments early if you work ahead to accommodate a business trip or family vacation. Tests and quizzes will likely have to be taken within a week after they are announced, but you will still be able to choose when to take them. Unlike traditional students who have set class times, online students are able to review materials until they feel they are ready to complete assignments or take tests and quizzes.
- Options When Returning to the Workplace For parents who have children, but plan on returning to the workplace in the future, earning a degree while taking care of children will help to stay informed about changes in their career or prepare for a new one. Many times, parents who choose to stay home with their children until they are old enough to attend school lose touch with the workplace or advancements. Earning a degree can show prospective employers that the parent wants to remain viable and be prepared for the new challenges that may await them once they return to their career.
- Balance a Job and Class Even though you may want to go back to school, it may not mean you want to leave your current job. Online degree programs make it so that you don’t have to. Many people go to night school after work to participate in evening classes and are exhausted by the time they get home each night. Online classes provide the same instruction without the exhaustion, commute, or unnecessary hassle. You can come home from work, unwind, eat dinner and then sit down to study or a lecture without leaving the house.
- Specialized Degree Programs In many online degree programs, you do not have to take elective classes unless required by your major. This allows you to focus on and study specifically what you need to learn for your job. For many students who want to just learn information relevant to their major, online degree programs work best, as this approach will save time and help you earn your degree faster.
- Transfer Credits You can also choose to earn some of your college credits online and some in a traditional college setting. For college students who want to attend summer classes, but who live too far from your college or have to work summer jobs, taking online classes from an accredited college and transferring the credits to your primary college is a good idea. Or you can choose to take all the base prerequisites for a degree and transfer to a campus to finish up, essentially getting that degree from a bigger name college like Harvard or Princeton!
These are just a few of the many advantages of taking online classes. You will be able to manage your time, learn the materials that are presented, and complete assignments on your own schedule. While it might not be for everyone, this type of learning helps many people learn faster, retain more information, and earn a degree which otherwise would not be possible.