Are Online Courses Worth It?

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Are Online Courses Worth It?

Online classes are actually becoming increasingly popular so it comes as no surprise to me that you are considering enrolling.

In fact, around a third of all students are online students so you are certainly not alone in your consideration.

So now you are still thinking that are online courses worth it?

There are loads of great reasons to learn online, firstly it can make education an actual viable option for those that just cannot commit to attending a school or college, it’s much more flexible and is generally a much cheaper option.

With that being said, online learning comes with its own set of difficulties, such as having to be very disciplined and organized and having limited faculty interaction.

How you choose to learn is such a personal preference, that it’s hard to answer the question directly. Online courses work really well for some while for others they are not as effective.

This is why throughout this article, we’ll go through the main benefits and drawbacks of learning online so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

The Pros

Flexibility – Learn On Your Own Time

For those of you with very busy and hectic lives, online learning may be a much better option because you are not tied down to specific class schedules. You can choose to learn and complete your assignments as and when it is convenient for you.

If you are a working mum, you can choose to start your class once the kids have been put to bed, for example.

More Comfortable – Learn On Your Own Time

Do you despise having to raise your hand during class? Do you need more time than most to process information and end up falling behind? Then online learning may be perfect for you.

You can pause your lectures at any point and come back to points if you haven’t quite wrapped your head around them. There’s a lot less pressure and you won’t be frantically scribbling notes trying to keep up.

Generally Cheaper (And Sometimes Free)

There are tons of online courses that are completely free, and if your course isn’t, it still tends to be significantly cheaper than on-campus classes are.

Not only will you save on the course, but there are also no commuting costs or room and board fees.

No Location Limitation

Sometimes, if you want to do specific on-campus courses, you will have to travel to particular campuses, since not every school and college will offer your course.

This problem is completely eliminated with online learning, and instead, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

You Can Achieve Similar Career Outcomes

Many people are under the assumption that online courses are disregarded by employers but this really isn’t the case in most scenarios.

City Square Associates surveyed several online learners and found that 50% of academics received much more attention from employers once they had completed their online course and at least one in four were promoted or were given higher job titles.

Are Online Courses Worth It

The Cons

Limited Faculty Interaction

If you benefit from interaction with professors and lecturers, you may be slightly disappointed with an online course. This is because there is very little if any at all, interaction between students and teachers through online learning.

You will have peers and classmates that you may be able to talk to about any questions or advice you may need, but the course is notably based on independent learning. So you will need to consider this before enrolling.

Organization and Discipline Are Essential

While picking your own hours of learning can seem like a real advantage, its difficulty can definitely be underestimated.

We all know how busy life can get, and it can be tempting to push your learning back since you don’t have attendance and classes to be worried about.

This makes falling behind quite easy. You’ll have to really commit to the course and be strict with yourself about ensuring you do the work since there won’t be able to rely on others to keep you disciplined.

Fewer Social Interactions/Networking Opportunities

If you are a social butterfly and being around others is important to you, you may struggle with an online course.

There are courses more geared towards interaction and participation of peers, so you could look into those options.

However, since online learning is so independent that organic feeling of a community you can achieve with campus-learning is quite difficult to recreate.

Fighting Misconceptions

Online learning is becoming increasingly popular, and while the opinions of these courses are definitely improving, there is still some skepticism.

You may find that there are some cases where campus-learning candidates may seem more desirable.

However, as I mentioned, this assumption is being challenged more and more. In a survey of executives, over 83% agreed that online learning courses are just as credible as on-campus courses.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to online learning. So whether or not you deem it as ‘worth it’ really comes down to how those advantages and disadvantages work for you.

It will all depend on the goals you have set, whether the course is available online, and what your learning style is.

If you are disciplined and work well independently, then these kind of courses can be perfect for you. You’ll be able to work around your own schedule and can take the time to learn at your own pace.

However, if you really appreciate social and faculty interaction, and struggle with organization and time management, then you may find online learning a bit of a struggle.

Overall, I would say that online courses are worth doing, if you can learn in that kind of environment, they’re a great way to boost your resume and learn a new topic or skill.

As long as you are hard working and dedicated they can really improve your career.

Martin Barrett

Martin is the editor in chief as Edwize.org. He has taken more courses than cares to remember. If he’s not watching back to back documentaries he is geeking out in the E-Learning space.