As our world becomes more and more complex, finding time to advance your education can be hard. Online courses offer a flexible way to fit learning into a hectic schedule. These programs offer many different subjects, presented in various different methods to fit any student and any learning style. While most of us may have a hard time carving an hour or more out of our schedule at the same time each week, online classes allow you to work on assignments as your schedule allows.
Online classes allow you to cut out a lot of time that would be wasted while you attempt to learn such as commuting to school. Cutting this time out allows for more time to actually focus on studying, rather than in traffic. Many online courses also offer virtual libraries or bookstores, so you save even more time not trekking there.
Many people that have not taken an online course have an impression that their education would somehow be of lower quality than an in person class. This is not true, and in some cases, students experience a better student to instructor ratio, so they can ask questions and get answers faster than their “brick and mortar” counterparts. Online communication is also a benefit, because you can ask questions at any time, not just after class or during scheduled office hours.
Another overlooked benefit of online classes is the chance to interact with other students via chat rooms and forums classes provide. While traditional students have the chance to chat after class, these tools allow students to share while they attempt assignments or readings, something that cannot be done by students once they’ve left the campus. Such interaction can help everyone involved, and make the learning process better for everyone involved.
Most online programs allow students to scale their commitment to course load up or down as needed, so a student is able to try an easier schedule and add more classes as they know they can. This also allows for adjustments to course work when life takes a turn, like when you end up busier with a new job thanks to your educational background!
Online schools are well suited for driven students as well. Since the class work is self-paced to a large degree, a student can sit and do a week’s assignments, or work through more sections of the class. Some classes combine reading work with video lectures by professors, completely replicating the classroom experience, without the hassle. Unlike a classroom, however, a video lecture can be paused, rewound, and even watched over if needed. This is a huge benefit to students taking notes or attempting to understand a particularly difficult subject. It is also easy to ask a professor for clarification by giving a page number in a reading assignment or a time point within a video to exactly point to your question. You can also go back to watch previous lectures when you need a review for a test or essay, something students in a classroom cannot do!
For people who travel often, online learning can easily be worked into their routine anywhere they have Internet access. So a week out of town for work does not become a lost week of school, and the assignments can be done in the airport or on the plane, which makes you even more efficient.
Online learning has reached a point where it is a full equal alternative to “traditional” learning. Many schools offer online versions of at least one program, and as they see the successes of their students, add more all the time.