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Online education: is it the future of learning or an essential part of today’s studies?

Digitalization simplifies our lives. You can find articles and how-to instructions for everything, connect with people or watch hours of content for free. Studying online is not new, but it is becoming increasingly popular as we get used to using technology for everything.

Big corporations already use online education as a part of learning and development HR processes. The corporate e-learning market is predicted to grow to $37 billion by 2026, compared to $17 billion in 2019. Although more and more professionals choose to study online, some still remain skeptical about the efficiency of e-learning.

There are courses for everything these days. The choice is so big that people find it hard to decide what exactly they want to study. Imagine walking along infinite supermarket aisles: the Internet provides access to so much knowledge that it is easy to get lost.

Today, we will discuss the main advantages and challenges of online learning. You will understand what learning style is better for you and how to optimize your studies.

Types of Online Education

All these studying options can provide decent knowledge if you put effort into it. You can find the most comfortable form of online learning depending on your goals, schedule, and other preferences.

Asynchronous Online Courses

Such sources give you access to pre-recorded lessons, readings, recordings, and other materials. Depending on the course, you can have deadlines or study at your own pace. Asynchronous courses are the most flexible in terms of schedule. However, not all of them have instructors and can provide you with assistance if needed.

Massive open online courses (or MOOCs) are typically asynchronous. These are free online courses universities or other organizations offer, with no prerequisites or admission requirements.

Synchronous Online Courses

These are live online classes. Using such platforms as Zoom or Google Meet is popular for classroom interaction. The main benefits of such courses are networking and the ability to work in a team. You can also ask questions during your classes and get answers immediately. Synchronous online courses usually have homework deadlines and a fixed schedule.

Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses combine synchronous and asynchronous features. They can exist in various forms, but the most popular is when you can access materials and homework and only meet your instructor to ask questions and receive feedback.

Some study institutions provide a certificate or even a degree when you finish a course. If you want to receive proof of the successful completion of your studies, better ensure that the institutions can provide it before paying for your classes.

The Main Online Training Benefits

Here are 14 main benefits of online classes you can use to your advantage:

  1. Wide range of courses. When you choose offline learning, you are limited to the options offered close to your location. Online learning provides you with a wider choice of courses with different types of classes, price ranges, and learning goals. Finding online education that fits your schedule and financial resources is much easier.
  2. Flexibility. You can plan your studies around your work commitments. Some online courses don’t have a particular schedule, allowing you to practice anytime. Many e-learning platforms have pre-recorded classes or offer recordings of classes you could not attend.
  3. Accessibility. You can continue studying even if you are on vacation, business trip, or decided to move to another place. No matter where you live, online education is equal for everyone. Internet access is the only factor that matters in this case. In most cases, you don’t even need additional printed materials. Learners with disabilities can use assistive technologies and accommodations that may not be available in traditional in-person settings.
  4. Metrics. Various learning platforms track your progress and even visualize it. In most cases, you will see how much you’ve accomplished, your test scores and their average, class attendance, etc. This allows you to estimate your productivity and comfortable studying pace. Metrics also help you stay more motivated as you have a full picture of your achievements.
  5. Convenience. Online learning allows you to educate yourself at home without commuting to the venue. Additionally, you can listen to lectures as podcasts when you are on a treadmill or while driving. Some learning platforms also have mobile apps, making attending classes and doing homework easier. You don’t have to worry about traffic jams or long commutes after work.
  6. Affordability. Arranging and managing online classes is much cheaper for educational institutions, which makes them more affordable. It eliminates specific costly components of traditional education, such as physical facilities, classroom materials, and transportation. You also save money on commuting. At the same time, it doesn’t affect the studying program’s content and the amount of knowledge you gain.
  7. Career advancement. Online learning can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to advance your career and take on new roles and responsibilities. As online courses often come with homework and practical tasks, you can develop your portfolio using your instructor’s feedback.
  8. Improved job performance. Online learning can give you insights into your current career and fill in the knowledge gaps you didn’t know about. Studying with qualified instructors and networking in class can give you a different perspective on the tasks you perform every day.
  9. More job opportunities. You can qualify for new job opportunities you wouldn't have considered previously. It applies to both upskilling and reskilling, as many employees look for people with cross-disciplinary knowledge. Don’t be shy to add your instructor and peers to your LinkedIn network: your new knowledge might interest their connections. If you start corporate online progress, your employer or the HR department can instantly see your progress.
  10. Personalized learning. Online education creates more opportunities to optimize time and focus. You might skip the classes that are not interesting to you or the ones that feature already familiar knowledge. You can postpone your deadlines in case of an emergency or take a break from courses any time you want.
  11. Self-paced learning. With online learning, you can learn at your own pace, ensuring you fully understand the material before moving on. You can read or listen to something multiple times and pause whenever you need to take notes. If you want to save time, you can speed up pre-recorded classes.
  12. Networking opportunities. Expanding your network and opening up new job opportunities is another benefit you can gain from courses. Online learning allows you to connect with other professionals in your field from all over the world. If you don’t like speaking in public or want to avoid big crowds, online learning can be a good solution for you.
  13. Time savings. Online learning saves time by eliminating the need for commuting to and from a physical classroom. Therefore, the chances of being late or missing a class are much lower. You also don’t need to wait for the next class if you have questions, as online learning often incorporates the ability to interact with your instructor using an educational platform or other communication tools. Fast learners can self-pace themselves to complete a course within a few weeks instead of attending offline classes for months.
  14. Improved technology skills. The classroom format or type of tasks might be new to you. For some students, e-learning is an entirely new experience. It allows you to develop valuable digital literacy skills that are increasingly important in today's workforce.

The challenges of online learning

Online learning also comes with some challenges along with its benefits:

  1. You need discipline. Self-paced learning requires more dedication and control from your side. You might postpone your tasks when no one supervises or gives you feedback. Setting deadlines is a reasonable decision if you find it hard to concentrate on your studies.
  2. Lack of human interaction. Online learning might seem lonely if you are used to working and studying in a team. We recommend attending live group classes for those who enjoy interaction and networking.
  3. There are more distractions. Scrolling your feed or distracting yourself with other activities during an online class is much easier. If you want to receive maximum knowledge, don’t try to multitask or combine your classes with other activities that require your focus.
  4. Technical problems. In most cases, technical problems are rare. However, it can be the main source of discomfort for online learners. Technical difficulties can range from a slow internet connection to a complete system crash. This can lead to frustration and loss of class time.

Why do working professionals need additional education?

Additional education and upskilling are useful if you want to get a promotion, switch your career, or learn something applicable to your job. Becoming more skilled and educated always means having more career opportunities, even if you don’t see it coming now.

Online learning is best for professionals who want to save money and time. ELVTR works to ensure that everyone’s studying experience will count. That is why we constantly research the job market to create courses relevant to our students.

We care about results and studying outcomes, so we work only with the best practicing experts already successful in their sphere. At ELVTR, you can join live online classes or watch their recordings whenever you want.