Apr 16, 2018

5 Advantages of Online Learning

by Digital Marketing Institute

Online learning is booming as more universities and businesses recognize the benefits it brings to students, and how it can help employees to maintain their professional edge. In fact, by 2020 eLearning is expected to deliver revenue of over $37 billion dollars.

This trend is not only growing in popularity, but it may also soon be the main way that learners attend school, get trained in their jobs, and participate in ongoing training to keep their knowledge and skills current and relevant in today’s fast-paced business world. Read on to find out why this is such an exciting and accessible option for people in all stages of their careers.

1. Upskilling is Becoming Increasingly Necessary

Upskilling is a term that refers to the need for people to take their existing skills and upgrade them so that they can perform better in current roles or have more of a potential for promotions into higher levels. It also is important for simply staying up-to-date on technological trends in order to stay more competitive in the marketplace.

In today’s technology-driven world, upskilling is becoming increasingly important simply because technology changes so fast. But beyond that, more and more people are also choosing to pivot mid-career as well as diversify their skills later in life. This is a smart move in an uncertain economy and it allows people to merge unusual skills as well to differentiate themselves from the competition.

2. Self-Paced Learning

A key advantage to online learning is that students can complete their training in their own time and according to their own schedules. Recorded lessons, written content, webinars and collaborative online learning software make it easy for anyone with an internet connection to access everything they need.

So now busy caretakers, full-time employees or those who simply don’t have the time to go back to university full-time have plenty of opportunities to find part-time courses where they can complete their schoolwork in the evenings after work, on weekends, or whenever they can spare the time. It also is an excellent option for those who are night owls, have health issues or other reasons why they can’t fit into the traditional “9-5” type of school schedule.

Class Central estimates that over 23 million people took their first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in 2017, bringing the total number of learners who have taken advantage of these new technologies to over 81 million people. Increasingly, major universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT are offering people access to the same instructional material as the students attending the universities, and often for free!

These courses often include recorded lectures from professors teaching in their classrooms at the school to their traditional students, discussion forums where students can post assignments, communicate about the material with each other, ask questions to professors and other students, and much more.

3. Online Learning Helps Us Stay Relevant in a Quickly Changing World

Online learning addresses the challenge of our fast-paced world in a way that traditional classroom settings never could. The rate at which the world is changing makes keeping up a considerable obstacle; textbooks are quickly becoming outdated, which is not only a significant cost to schools, students, and business, but is creating a disadvantage to students who are learning information that may already be obsolete.

In an eLearning course, materials can be updated quickly and easily in real time. When new information and advances in technology become available, rather than having to update and reprint expensive and environmentally unfriendly textbooks, online information can simply be added or updated to keep information continuously fresh and current.

Only the information that needs to be updated requires editing which saves schools and employers the tremendous expense of constantly printing new material. As we know, this expense often leaves children and adult learners studying information that is no longer relevant or current.

4. E-Learning is Resource Efficient

Online learning offers many benefits when it comes to overall efficiency. Firstly, they don't require separate and dedicated buildings, rooms, or equipment. Students have the opportunity to use what they have at home and usually do not have to purchase anything extra that will only end up being thrown away.

And tied in with these savings is an overall reduction in time and resources we use up to physically get to the classroom and back. When we save time and costs involved in travel, we have more of those precious resources to spend doing things we need to do (eg: doctor’s appointments, PTA meetings) and love (eg: travel or leisurely Sunday brunches).

These advantages result in wins for students and education providers. The reduced expense also makes this type of learning much cheaper for both parties as well.

5. Online Learning is More Accessible to All

Traditional learning environments, consciously or not, can pose serious obstacles to many potential learners. The higher costs associated with creating and maintaining in-person lessons prevent many lower income individuals from benefiting from education that may significantly increase the value of their lives.

Those who are physically or psychologically unable to present in a classroom setting can also be disadvantaged. Despite the passing of important legislation to make buildings more accessible to a wider range of people, there are still many who are unable to participate for these reasons.

There are also many people whose life situation prevents them from being able to attend classes or training that is held at a specific time and place. People with young children, or those working demanding jobs, may not be able to attend a classroom in the morning hours, but perhaps would have a couple of hours in the evening to devote to on-demand training materials. For those of us interested in equal access to education, supporting online learning is a no-brainer.

Online Learning is Mutually Beneficial for all Involved

The advantages associated with online learning are vast and varied across all spectrums. Businesses are increasingly looking to online learning to train employees in new products, software applications, or other business innovations that the employee will need to excel in their role.

In today’s business world companies often have numerous locations and offices, and also, at a rapidly growing rate, remote workers or telecommuters. If you’re in charge of providing new training for your employees or you’re an individual looking to acquire new skills for a new or current job, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to learn, engage, and connect with colleagues and other learners online.

Employers looking to train large numbers of employees spread out over large geographical areas would face a considerable expense if they were forced to either bring these people to one centralized location, or, on the other hand, to have corporate trainers travel to various locations. With online learning, users can access training materials, watch live or recorded lectures, take assessments, interact with instructors and other learners, all from their homes or offices wherever they may be located.

From the perspective of the business, the costs saving of this method are obvious. Companies avoid paying the considerable costs in travel, lodging, and office space devoted to training along with the equipment necessary to accommodate these activities.

As a student, the lower costs associated with administering these programs can greatly reduce the expense of tuition that includes consideration of the overhead of offering these programs at a centralized office or school. And with advancements in technology, little is lost or sacrificed in terms of the quality of training that can be offered. In fact, utilizing multimedia technologies can make training much more robust and interactive providing students with a high-quality education.

Final Thoughts

Online learning is, in most instances, a more accessible, flexible and efficient method of training that people of all ages and industries can benefit from. But students and entrepreneurs should ensure that the training that they're receiving is legitimate and leads to a formal certification, especially if they are planning on investing significantly.

With online learning, you can ensure that you stay ahead of your professional competition while adding a valuable certification to your suite of skills.

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