Written By Adrianna LoChirco
The virtual classroom is here, but are online courses right for you? Thanks to modern technology, students can now attend class from the comfort of their homes. While online courses were once deemed inferior to lecture halls, the stigma has seemed to fade as technology advances and becomes a greater and greater part of a standard academic curriculum. Students now have the choice to pursue online learning, but are there benefits to online learning? Or is something lost in translation when education becomes virtual? Personally, I believe online learning is beneficial to all students and teachers, here’s why.
A flexible schedule is one of the main benefits of taking online courses. Online learning allows individuals to study at their own pace and on their own schedule. Digital “classrooms” can be accessed anywhere, at any time. I believe this is a prime benefit to online learning in a world chock-full of so many hectic schedules.
Online courses do not require classroom attendance that can be disruptive to family and work obligations. The basic requirements in the virtual course room are clearly delineated and meeting deadlines can be scheduled into the student’s routine.
Online courses give students the opportunity to plan study time around the rest of their day, instead of the other way around. Students can study and work at their convenience. Course material is always accessible online, making special library trips unnecessary. All of these benefits help students balance work and family commitments with their education.
Commercials that feature online students studying in their pajamas only skims the surface of one of the benefits of online education: no physical class sessions. Students listen to lectures and complete assignments sent to them electronically, with no need to fight traffic, leave work early for class, or miss important family time.
Students taking online courses can learn in a way that benefits them, this is ultimately conducive to learning. When students are doing independent work they have more opportunity to adjust how they study based on their learning preferences and proclivities. Online learning can help students harness their strengths and minimize weaknesses.
Shy students do not have to worry about being penalized for not speaking up. Taking an online class alleviates the intimidation that individuals may experience when speaking up in class about material they are unfamiliar with. Students aren’t boxed into a one-size-fits-all approach.
Improve your technical skills
Even the most basic online course requires the development of new computer skills, as students learn to navigate different learning management systems (LMS) and programs. The participation skills students learn within their online courses translate to many professions, including creating and sharing documents, incorporating audio/video materials into assignments, most schools even offer students free laptops or iPads.
Online learning is beneficial because there are no travel costs or time spent commuting to and from classes. Students enjoy great flexibility and can schedule classes and assignments around work and family responsibilities. Students are no longer limited by geographical location when selecting a school and degree program. Students who are disabled or have other reasons why they cannot attend classes regularly can get the same benefit at home. Material is delivered via the Internet, ensuring information is updated regularly. Students can work at their own pace, rather than trying to keep up with a group.