Online learning – pros and cons

What is online learning?Online learning refers to courses and qualifications offered by colleges, universities and other providers that do not require you to physically visit the classroom. You work your way through the course using either resources that have been sent to you or resources that are available online.Who are online-learning courses for?Online courses are really for anybody, but they are especially useful if you:
work full or part time and want to study without giving up your job
you live in a remote area, which makes it difficult for you to get to a college or university
your lifestyle or personal circumstances make it difficult for you to commit to a traditional course of study.
What are the benefits of online learning?The greatest benefit may be the flexibility that online learning offers; you can study from home, on the train, on the beach if you like and you can study at a time that suits you – so if you’re a night owl or an early riser then you can knuckle down to some study at the time that best suits you as a learner.There are financial benefits to online learning too and most home study courses have lower costs than traditional classroom based courses and because you are studying from home, there are no accommodation or travel costs involved.What are the drawbacks?Generally the amount of interaction that you will have with other students and with tutors will be less than on a traditional course. For some people this can make them feel isolated and they miss the social element of traditional study; for others, this is perfect and frankly, social media means thatonline learning doesn’t have to be so ‘distant’at all.The other drawback is related to one of the greatest benefits of online learning – if you are not very organised or self-disciplined then the flexibility that you have can be a drawback. Less interaction and day to day monitoring mean more opportunity to put off study and fall behind. Far from being a soft option, online learning requires commitment and determination and it’s a very good idea to draw up a study timetable for yourself to make sure that you complete all the work that you need to.Some people worry that employers won’t hold a qualification gained via online learning in such high regard as a traditionally acquired qualification. However, the independent learning and time-management skills that you can gain from self-directed study can be good evidence for your CV.

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