What is it about online courses that attract so many online learners? Honestly, the list of benefits could go on for pages, but let’s just condense it to some of the top benefits.
While increased Internet availability is definitely one reason why online course popularity has shot up, there’s also a rising need for specific skills. And honestly, who has time or money to get a new degree every time you want to learn a new skill?
With online courses, online learners get everything they need in a format that’s perfect for them. Let’s just say it’s a great time to be a lifelong learner!
1. Increased Flexibility To Fit Any Schedule
Raise your hand if you have a completely free schedule? Nobody? With work, family, friends and dozens of other commitments, finding time to drive to school, sit down in class for several hours and drive back home is difficult at best. Online courses are flexible for online learners. Work 3rd shift, but want to work on learning computer programming when you get home? No problem.
2. Save Gas With Zero Travel
Gas prices fluctuate worse than weather patterns. It might be affordable this week, but soar to $4 a gallon next week (let’s hope that doesn’t happen again). When it’s hard to find money for courses, paying for gas and extra car maintenance is out of the question. With online courses, all that pesky travel is eliminated.
3. Access Anywhere There’s Internet
So, back to crazy schedules. Maybe online learners are so super busy that they can’t just sit down for hours. Instead, they might listen to lectures or take quizzes while they’re on the bus or subway. It’s easy to work on an online course on a tablet during breaks at work. Seriously, it’s anywhere access. What’s not to love?
4. More Easily Digestible Content
Wouldn’t it have been great to have broken K-12 into 10-15 minute segments? Online learners get to do this. These bite- sized chunks of education work well for learning new skills quickly. It’s one of the reasons sites like Udemy have over 10 million users. People love being able to learn a little at a time without feeling overwhelmed.
5. Enjoy A Stronger Community Of Other Learners
Having a community of like-minded learners is a major benefit for online learners. In a typical classroom, you’ve always got those people who couldn’t care any less. Plus, everyone’s busy rushing off to do something else, so you don’t get as much of a community feel as you might think. With online learning, forums and chats stay active and fit any schedule.
6. Added Accountability
That strong online community also helps add an extra bit of accountability. Plus, reminders can be sent to boost student participation. With a standard offline class, you’re on your own. Show or don’t, it’s up to you. With online courses, you have other students pushing you towards success. It’s a major boost that keeps students working hard.
7. Create Their Own Curriculum
Take a look at most curriculums in universities and you might start scratching your head, wondering what all those classes have to do with XYZ major. For instance, are physical education courses really necessary for a cyber security major? Are they suddenly going to run after the cyber criminals?
Sometimes online learners don’t actually need a full curriculum. They just need specific courses to learn skills for a new job or promotion. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands on courses that don’t benefit them, they’re able to put together their own curriculum to learn exactly what they need and putting those skills to use quicker. It’s a win for the student and for their employer.
8. Easy To Take Breaks When Necessary
Research has proven that students taking at least part of their courses online actually outperform their peers in most cases. One of the reasons is because it’s easy to take breaks when necessary. Having problems focusing? Take a quick break. Have a massive headache? Do your coursework later that day when you feel better. Having that flexibility helps boost performance for online learners.
9. No Need For Babysitters
Many online learners are adults who already have families. It’s hard to find the money for a babysitter while you go off to class. With online courses, anyone with children is able to wait until their kids go to bed or are off at school themselves to focus on their courses. This saves students money and allows them to get a more convenient education without sacrificing time with their kids.
10. Focus On Class, Not Getting Ready
While yes, some students do show up in their PJs, most students actually put at least a little effort into combing their hair and putting on adult clothes. Imagine taking that extra half hour on something other than getting ready. Instead of wasted time just to go to class, online learners are already in front of their computers, phones or tablets learning.
11. No Feeling Awkward Among Other Students
Community colleges often have a mix of teens and older adults, but it’s not unusual to hear those older adults say they feel awkward going back to school. Instead of any student worrying about their age or anything else, they can stay in the comfort of their own home and focus on their education. When you’re taking courses online, there isn’t any other student to worry about except yourself.
This makes it more pleasant and makes online learners feel more confident. If they don’t understand something, they won’t hesitate to send in a question to the instructor, whereas they might have held back in a traditional classroom for fear that others might think they’re not smart.
12. More Comfortable Environment
Can you name one classroom that’s actually comfortable? It makes sense because you don’t want students curling up in a nice comfy chair and dozing off halfway through class. But still, do the chairs have to be so incredibly hard? Online learners have the added benefit of actually sitting in comfortable, ergonomic chairs if they want. This is better for their backs and overall posture.
Not only are they learning, but they’re taking better care of themselves too. Plus, they don’t feel stressed having to rush to get to class on time. All they have to do is turn on their device and they’re ready to learn.
Yes, there are dozens of more benefits, but this is a great start to better understanding the benefits online learners enjoy. It’s not just about the education. It’s about all the added perks that come from choosing an online option. And don’t forget all those benefits you’ll get from online teaching as well!
Want to offer all these benefits and more to online students? Talk to me about how to take your knowledge online and reach more students.