By DeVry University
Attending online classes can offer people of all ages, careers and ambitions the flexibility they need while also managing their busy lives.
The concept of distance learning has been around for far longer than you might think. When the Postal Service was created in the mid-19th century, the idea came to be. Students and professors would correspond and handle assignments through mail. In the late 1990s, the first online classes took root and have been blossoming ever since. It is no surprise, therefore, that the worldwide market for distance or “e-learning” continues to be a popular option for adult students. Especially in uncertain times, online learning is something anybody can take advantage of, from anywhere, as an opportunity to better themselves.
Many students are making the choice to invest in an education they can get on their terms. It’s easy to understand the appeal of distance learning: even with a full workload and family responsibilities, you can simply open your laptop, expand your mind and focus on your future. Students no longer have to pause their work and life responsibilities to advance their education.
Fully online courses give students pathways to success where there may have been roadblocks before. Remote learning is an excellent compromise for many professionals and learners who have little time but plenty of motivation.
There are many reasons why students chose to take online classes. Below, read about eight benefits unique to online learning:
1. Online Classes Mean You Can Study Anywhere
Wherever you go, your classroom is only a few clicks away. With your laptop in hand, you can set up your virtual classroom anywhere you need to – connect and share from your home, the library or a coffee shop.
And with today’s versatile devices, you can study through means other than a laptop or desktop computer. For example, some universities offer mobile apps so that you can take your education wherever you go.
Anywhere you have an internet connection, you can access your coursework, get help from professors and communicate with classmates. Materials are often downloadable, which adds another layer of versatility to your studies.
2. Your Study Schedule Fits Your Life
You may be an early bird – or you may be the polar opposite. Whatever way you work best, your ability to learn and grow does not have to be tied to the same place and time every day. When learning online, you can create a schedule that best suits your own personal learning style. If you learn best in the evening hours, you can schedule study sessions then. Or, if you have free time mid-day, it’s easy to sign in and continue with your education. You can schedule study sessions between work and family commitments, even breaking them down into smaller increments to accomplish tasks whenever you’re available.
3. Pace and Personalize Your Learning to Suit Your Needs
Whether you want to accelerate your experience by taking on more courses at a time or you want to follow the course path and timing suggested by your university, your day-to-day online learning can be molded to your needs. You are able to work through coursework at your own pace and personalize your experience based on your life and learning style.
Whether you’re a visual learner who likes to follow a professor’s engaging content and video lectures or you prefer to learn through reading and contributing to online discussions, online learning gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll have the opportunity to lean into what you do best while also growing in new and different areas.
4. Network with Professional Connections Around the Globe
You may not be able to fly across the country to meet people in your industry, but remote collaboration can increase your professional network around the globe. Enrolling in online courses can expose you to new experiences, perspectives, industries and people.
Forming connections with your peers supports your education and your professional path. You may even find yourself networking with people across a range of industries and business niches. Such exposure can be priceless for both your academic and professional growth, and you may form connections that last beyond graduation.
5. Engage in Diverse Digital Classroom Experiences
You may also learn from professors with diverse backgrounds, thanks to the location independence of online teaching and learning. Professors from around the country offer their students robust instruction and a quality education—no physical classroom necessary. Students have access to knowledge that they might not otherwise have when attending classes in specific locations.
Professors may come from a variety of industries, backgrounds and levels of expertise and therefore have a diverse set of perspectives to offer to students.
6. Gain Skills You Can Apply at Work
Most students continue working while attending online classes. And although they may be managing a full schedule, their hard work can definitely pay off.
When you’re pursuing your degree while working you have the opportunity to apply your learnings almost immediately. Whether you’re perfecting a hard skill like working with hands-on IoT tools or gaining soft skills such as improved communication or team leadership abilities, these are things that you can put into action at work while they’re still fresh in your mind. With each class you take, be sure to think about the skills that can impact your career in the short-term and speak to your professors and advisors about ways to build on them throughout your studies.
7. Learn How to Work and Collaborate Remotely With Relevant Technology
Many companies have gone digital and workers have, too. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on an average day 22.7 percent of full-time workers completed their work remotely. Plus, employees with higher levels of education had greater odds of working remotely; 36.8 percent of full-time workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher worked remotely on any given workday. Recent events have increased these numbers significantly, and only time will tell if this will have a long term impact on remote work trends as a whole. Online learning can help prepare students to adapt to new situations and leverage a unique set of skills that can be applied in a variety of working situations.
When you work toward your degree online, you can build on skills that are applicable to today’s workplaces. Learning time management and self-motivation is essential in the modern workforce – no matter whether you end up working from an office or from your home.
8. Boost Your Digital Literacy—and Become More Adaptable
Technology changes quickly—which means digital literacy is always evolving, too. One of the most crucial benefits of online learning is that you learn to become more adaptable while navigating online classes.
Learning new programs and interfaces, troubleshooting digital problems and learning how to communicate online may all be vital parts of your digital education. Adaptability is a desirable trait in any potential employee. What you learn about pursuing an education online may prove just as valuable as the subject matter in your program. Digital literacy is part of every professional’s life and becoming fluent in the online world can support your career experience.
Explore Online Classes
Studying online can provide an engaging and innovative experience for students with different learning styles. If you’re looking to advance your education and crave flexibility around work, family and other commitments, an online program could be the versatile option that meets your needs.