5 Essential Benefits to Choosing Online Learning

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By Cynthia Dalton
Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing. – Donna J. Abernathy

The Benefits of Online Learning are Many!

The Internet has become an essential tool for millions. We bank, shop, converse, and research online. Learning online has become a readily accessible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions of learning. And why not? Compared to the traditional school experience, there are many benefits to online learning. Online learning:

  • Is geared toward working adults with schedules that require self-paced instruction.
  • Allows students to complete coursework from any location.
  • Provides 24/7 access to coursework and student resources.
  • Has none of the hassles associated with brick-and-mortar schools (e.g., a long commute, parking fees, or waiting time between classes).
  • Provides year-round enrollment.
  • Offers lower tuition cost.
  • Facilitates earning a degree faster than in a traditional school setting because the courses you need to graduate are always available.

5 Essential Benefits to Online Learning

In addition to those previously mentioned, here are 5 essential benefits to choosing online learning:

  1. Online programs are relevant and up-to-date
  2. Online programs are typically in direct response to changing needs in the job market. Therefore, they are constantly updated and refined to meet the needs of adult learners.

  3. You can "try on" a subject matter area
  4. Certificate programs online allow you to explore subject matter areas without a long-term commitment. This allows you to continually enhance your résumé while refining your goals. An additional benefit is, that in many cases, you can also "stack" certificate programs toward a full degree.

  5. Online programs enhance your résumé
  6. This goes beyond proof that you have acquired a knowledge base or that you have a practical understanding of computer work and technology.

  7. You retain more of what you learn
  8. Picture yourself in a classroom setting. You’re parked in an uncomfortable seat for an hour, listening to a professor deliver a lecture. Do you really stay focused on all the material presented? Truthfully, students usually retain only a small amount of the content of a lecture.

  9. You develop a "muscle" for lifelong learning
  10. This provides you with a tremendous strategic advantage in the job market. Just as companies are well advised to be "agile" in adapting quickly to market and environmental changes, individuals should be equally agile in adapting rapidly to new trends and changes in the job market.

Completing educational work online also demonstrates that you possess a personality skill set much sought after by employers. This skill set includes the ability to: function independently, handle new challenges, solve problems, learn new things, have a stick-to-it mentality, be self-motivated, and be disciplined.

As Alf Rehn notes in his article, The 20-Minute Rule for Great Public Speaking – On Attention Spans and Keeping Focus, for medium.com:

As just sitting and listening isn't particularly natural, we often feel fidgety and unfocused when in an audience, further limiting the number of points we can remember. So, we listen and hook our attention onto just a few key points – hopefully the same ones the speaker intended.

This old-style approach to teaching requires a certain degree of passivity on the part of the student. This in turn "distances" the student from the material being presented. In contrast, with online learning, you decide how much material you conquer at one time, and you decide the time increments you find most comfortable. This proactive approach to learning creates a sense of "ownership" of the material that in turn, creates a closer "relationship" with the material. In a very real sense, a "bond" forms between the student and the material that guarantees greater retention.

Online learners are lifelong learners. Lifelong learners don't abandon ongoing education once they throw their cap in the air on graduation day. They don't vow to ever set foot on campus again. On the contrary, they carry their campus with them wherever they go – their laptop!

Lifelong learners have developed a hunger for adding to the knowledge they've already attained. Therefore, they stay continually primed for change and growth. Thus, lifelong learners are automatically and continually ahead of the employment curve.

Capture the Benefits of Online Learning

There is one more benefit that's worth noting. It’s fun to learn online. It's a great adventure, a way of staying connected to the larger world, and a means of self-expression.

In so many ways, online learning enables you to master your own fate and control your own destiny.

Those who capture the benefits of online learning are automatically positioned to take full advantage of every new opportunity. Really, they own the future!

What do you think?

  • How have you used online learning to stay ahead of the curve?
  • How do you view the future of learning online?
  • What plans do you have to benefit from online learning in the near future?


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