The Benefits Of Online Learning In A COVID-19 World And Beyond

Right now, the Coronavirus pandemic is forcing global experimentation with remote teaching. There are many indicators that this crisis is going to transform many aspects of life. Education could be one of them if remote teaching proves to be a success. No doubt, the transition to online learning due to COVID-19 was sudden and hasty. But when done right, online learning comes with many benefits. Considering that universities may not be going back to in-person classes for at least a couple more months, with some experts estimating it would take up to a year before a coronavirus vaccine becomes commercially available, this should come as welcome news for all those planning to go to university in 2020.

It’s flexible. 

Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there’s the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there’s no need to give anything up. Studying online teaches you vital time management skills, which makes finding a good work-study balance easier. Having a common agenda between the student and teacher can also prompt both parties to accept new responsibilities and have more autonomy. 

Online degrees are more affordable.

You can save a lot of money when undertaking an online program. Not only are your housing and commute expenses eliminated, online programs are generally more affordable. One survey found that, “The most important factor for students choosing a school for their online program continues to be tuition and fees, specified by 34 percent of respondents. That has been the top-ranked choice for the past four years, according to the researchers.”

It’s accessible. 

Online education enables you to study or teach from anywhere in the world. This means there’s no need to commute from one place to another or follow a rigid schedule. On top of that, not only do you save time, but you also save money, which can be spent on other priorities. The virtual classroom is also available anywhere there’s an internet connection, and a good way to take advantage of this is to travel. For example, if you’re studying abroad and want to get a job, online education is a great choice. There’s no reason to give up on working or studying while exploring new and exotic places. 

You develop important skills.

Studying online requires certain skills such as self-discipline, self-motivation and communication. When you’re an online learner, you’ll find that you will quickly hone and develop these skills which are important for the workplace.

For example, you’ll need to communicate – whether verbally or written – with your professors and peers regularly. This will sharpen your communication skills. You will also need to motivate yourself to complete an online course and turn in your online assignments as there is much less handholding in online courses compared to in-person ones. Unlike face-to-face setups, where it can be hard to offer critical comments, an online environment gives one more time to really study the modules and make considered comments.

It allows for a customized learning experience. 

Mentioned previously, flexibility can help you to set your own study pace. But online education is also flexible for each student’s individual requirements and level of ability. Online classes tend to be smaller than conventional class size. Most of the time, online learning platforms only allow one student at a time, and in almost all cases, this allows for greater interaction and more feedback between you and your teacher.

There’s often access to very diverse material such as videos, photos, and eBooks online as well, and teachers can also integrate other formats like forums or discussions to improve their lessons. And this extra content is available at any moment from anywhere, which will offer you a more dynamic and tailor-made education.

Online education is spreading. The coronavirus pandemic simply sped up the adoption of online learning by higher education institutions. In fact, just today the American Higher Education Alliance (AHEA) and the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC) announced a new partnership.

The press release said, “The partnership was established to address the needs of higher education as the world comes to grips with the impact of COVID-19. Colleges and universities are preparing for an extensive and rapid transition to online-only modes of academic interaction. The need to further develop pedagogical methods to ensure student engagement for virtual or hybrid delivery models needs to be addressed now.”

There are more reasons to choose an online education than just those presented here. Ninety percent of students today think that online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience. Every student must assess their unique situation and decide according to their needs and goals, and while this alternative to traditional education is not for everyone, it’s still a convenient option with virtually endless options for international students all over the world.

Drew Neisser