Learning online for 2020 and maybe for foreseeable future has been something that millions have needed to do, from Ph.D. students to kindergartners. Learning online for many was something that helped them fit a whole degree into their life while raising a family and holding down a full-time job.
Yet, now online learning is something that has revolutionized the learning process for millions of eager students. With Zoom, Teams, and other online video platforms, it has been more accessible than ever.
While there have been reports of Zoom fatigue and how you can handle it, there has also been an uptick in people upskilling themselves online.
The fact that you can take an MBA program or nursing programs online has made it even easier.
There are some amazing perks that you get by choosing to learn online too. So even though the zoom classes can feel like a nightmare, learning online itself is actually brilliant.
We have such a wide variation of courses that we can take now, from learning how to create lettering on Procreate, game design using Unity, and even how to look after your fish. You can choose a course that comes with a qualification that is recognized in multiple establishments. Not only those things, but you can also choose to get recognized within the membership community of your industry too.
Many prominent institutions also have a range of free smaller courses as a preview onto the full courses too.
One of the interesting things is that you can take courses that lean into your specialty but will help in other areas. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you might choose to learn accounting, website design, and marketing. These are skills and courses that can help you take your graphic design career in a new direction but also give you more control too.
You can also choose to learn slowly at your own pace and train in something completely different from your current industry.
Learning online wasn’t always viewed with the same high esteem. However, now it is more common, and there are more prestigious establishments hosting courses than ever before.
Free courses from MIT and MBA programs look fantastic on a CV. There are no limits and so many options. If you feel like your resume needs a helping hand from a particular skill, then Udemy and SkillShare are quick and simple to use.
The time that you might usually be watching the latest Netflix series or idle scrolling through your phone could be time well spent learning.
Any type of self-started and self-directed study is always a good thing. It shows that you have the dedication to what you are doing.
There is a certain pleasure in traveling to a learning establishment. Meeting new people face to face, soaking in the environment, and the coffee that you clutch on the colder days. But the true comfort for many is at home.
The hustle and bustle of an early morning commuter train can be fun, but usually only for those who don’t do it often. The elbows are fighting for space, the musical chairs of trying to get a seat and the awful moment of - who made that smell.
Depending on your living arrangement, you might be learning in a dedicated office space, or you may be in a shared space. Making the most of the latter can be difficult. However, a laptop, a notebook, and some headphones are usually idea for getting your through your zoom classes, and the read work can be done on the books, or in extra research.
For around 95% of online courses never require any face to face interaction. For many introverts and those with anxiety, this can be a big bonus to their learning process.
Another added comfort is being able to choose how and when you learn. If you work night shifts and you have the day times free, you can make the most of those hours. If you are a night owl and find yourself twiddling your thumbs in the early hours, you can make sure of those hours and add to your learning process.
If you know how you learn best, then you can choose how and when you learn. Being on a self-paced course, those without a deadline can be great for many students who want to learn for fun, rather than for qualifications.
Although it is worth noting that often if something doesn’t come with a deadline, many people won’t feel any pressure at all to make sure they finish it.
The financial aspect of learning online is possibly one of the most significant rules. Learning online cuts a lot of costs out that we associate with learning in person. One of the first examples is that you don’t need to catch any trains all planes to get to where you need to be. Well, that’s just the tip of the saving financially iceberg.
Tradition courses, where you travel and learn in the building, always have a higher cost attached. The cost of the course, however, is just the starting point when it comes to the actual costs that are attached.
Lunches, those quick coffees between classes, commuting, buying extra materials, all of those smaller costs all add up pretty quickly. Most students will find that in a short amount of time, those incidentals will eat into the bursaries and student loans, and it is time to take on a job to help. There isn’t anything wrong with working and learning, but it is essential that you have a balance.
As mentioned earlier, it can be a more comfortable learning experience because you can make sure that it fits you. But you can go further than that. When you study in a class, they are designed for a lot of students to come through. The desk and chair usually have graffiti on it and aren’t the most comfortable. You have the ability to create a space that fits exactly what you need.
If you need candles, Himalayan salt lamps, and crystals on your desk to feel your best while studying, it is possible. If you prefer to have some heavy metal in the background while you get deep into coding, you can do that too.
A huge perk is that you can have all of your best tools on the table too. There is no one who is going to tap your shoulder and ask to borrow a pen, and you never see it again.
Technically speaking, even if it is great for most people in terms of productivity, you can work from your bed!
Have you ever been in awe at people who just seem to have everything ‘together’? Of course, they don’t, not everything, but they have a degree of self-discipline that takes work and time to cultivate. When you choose to learn online, you are committing to yourself that you will complete your course on time.
That you will dedicate a selected amount of time to your learning each day. While the pressure of seeing a tutor and getting scolded for not completing work on time, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself.
There are many benefits to learning online instead of a brick and mortar establishment. Now more than ever, it is time to lean into those exciting benefits. Welcome the changes that come and enjoy gaining those life long skills that you are working towards.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.