The COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually everything from marketing and socializing to entertainment and learning. With people forced to stay at home, industries had to expedite the digitalization of their operations in order to stay afloat. This fast-tracking of the digitalization of businesses meant the proliferation of online services, most crucial among them online courses.
Online courses aren’t new, and they’ve been steadily growing for the past decade. A forecast by Research and Markets saw the online education market growing as large as $350 billion by 2025, and that was before the pandemic. With the demand for online courses skyrocketing amid the lockdowns, these figures are bound to be adjusted.
Adults, who now have more time in their hands, were glad to have access to a vast catalog of courses. Children, who were pushed out of classrooms, were enrolled by their parents into online courses to supplement their online education. Online courses were no longer a niche service only a few people benefited from; it has become an everyday tool that helped society function during the pandemic.
Whether you’re an adult seeking to upskill or learn new skills or a parent seeking to enhance your child’s online education, you’ll want to know what benefits online courses provide.
Arguably its primary selling point, online courses offer a convenience you could never experience from face-to-face classes. The mere fact you don’t have to travel to attend classes is already life-changing. You can access learning materials, participate in discussions, review assignments, and take practice tests anytime you want, without depending on the presence of an instructor.
Online courses offer more than just convenience, but all of it boils down to it. It eliminates much of the effort so students can invest more of their time in actual learning.
One reason why online courses are so convenient is the flexibility they offer. They give you control over your learning, meaning you can study whenever you want and with whomever. Can’t study today because you’re feeling down? No pressure. Do you want to study alongside a friend, a sibling, or a special someone? Go ahead. Do you want to study wearing your pajamas? Maybe you don’t want to wear anything at all? You can do so with online courses.
Having no deadline can be a disadvantage, but as long as you’re determined to learn, you’ll get the most out of the flexibility offered by online courses. You can learn without having to sacrifice time for friends, family, loved ones, and other activities.
As mentioned, having no deadline or an authority compelling you to study can be a disadvantage in online learning. People who are hard to motivate can easily find themselves progressing at a snail’s pace or not progressing at all in an online course. Rather than seeing this as a setback, you can use this as a challenge to build self-discipline. Instead of depending on the pressure of deadlines or the fear of being reprimanded by an instructor, you should learn how to be accountable of your own learning. You might not have dues to meet, but you can set goals or rules for yourself.
Diversity and accessibility
Anyone, at any age, of any culture, can get into an online course. People who are sick or with disabilities will find online courses to be significantly more accessible than traditional learning methods. What’s more, there is a huge roster of course topics available online — there’s an option for everyone. For kids aspiring to be a programmer, there is Python for beginners and kids. For adults who want to understand how to be financially free, there are countless finance courses. Whether your motivation for learning is to increase your market value or just to get better at a hobby, you’re sure to find an online course that suits you.
Not having to travel to class isn’t only convenient, it’s also economical. Studying at home means not having to pay for fares or fuel. You can also save plenty of money by eating home-cooked meals instead of eating out. Parents can save plenty more as they can ditch additional costs for child-care or pet care. Yes, you do have to invest in a computer and good Internet, but it’s likely you already had those already. If you didn’t, rest assured the investment will be worth it in the long run.
Furthermore, online courses are generally cheaper than traditional learning. Considering that on-campus learning entails the use of facilities such as libraries, comfort rooms, laboratories, etc., students have additional costs to pay for. Just look at the cost of Executive MBA courses and compare it with online alternatives, and you’ll see a big difference.
Upskilling yourself the traditional way would be difficult if you’re also working a full-time job. Such is not the case with online courses. Given the flexibility and convenience of online courses, you can get a new certification or even a degree without compromising your work performance. This way, you can increase your value easier and be qualified for a raise or promotion.
A study by Britain’s Open University found that online courses produce 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student and 90% less energy consumed. This makes online courses a greener option than face-to-face learning. People who are environmentally conscious will be able to achieve their personal environmental goals easier by opting for online courses.
Online courses are not without disadvantages, and there are things traditional learning still does better. However, online courses aren’t meant to replace face-to-face learning; it’s meant to provide people with an alternative. If you’ve been wondering if online courses are worth it, this article will help you get an answer.
I’m a London-born lover of technology, obsessed with online business, passive income and the digital economy. I love learning, researching and curating the most valuable resources to save you time, money and help you discover the truth on what it actually takes to achieve your goals.