Online education has grown in popularity over the past few years. It’s here to stay. In our Global Consumer Sentiment Survey 2023 of over 2,100 adults who plan to further their education within the next year, 78% said that they believed the adoption of online learning will increase in the future.
Online learning and online courses are more appealing to working adults due to the increased need for virtual communication in the face of the pandemic and the renewed focus across industries on reskilling.
What to expect in an online course
Online learning comes in all shapes and sizes. What you can expect will vary depending on what type of program or course you choose.
You can find free online courses that will help you gain knowledge on a particular topic. They are often self-paced and therefore less guided by an instructor. There are courses available for virtually every subject, including soft skills and hard skills.
Consider a paid program that offers a credential, if you want to make a dramatic career shift or move up the ladder in your company (or assist members of your staff with new skills or positions). Credentials can be in the form of a degree, a professional certificate or a certificate.
The structure and format of paid online courses also varies. Some classes require that you attend live lectures during a specific time. Some require you to complete coursework at your own pace with weekly deadlines. Even “online” classes may require some in-person or campus requirements. It’s therefore important to check the website of your program for more information before you enroll. Each program offers a unique experience.
You can interact with classmates through a number of different methods in online classes. These include email, videoconferencing and virtual classrooms. Some online classes may require group work.
Online Learning Benefits for Adults
Online education is a good option if you want to fit courses into your busy schedule. What are the advantages of online education? Consider these 14 factors when making your next decision.
Online learning is popular because of its flexibility. Virtually learning from anywhere enables you to complete coursework or work with your team without the need to travel to a campus. Some online courses require students to attend live classes, but you can still fit your coursework around your busy schedule.
Ability to Advance in a Career
According to the Emeritus study, respondents were motivated by career advancement as their main reason for pursuing higher education. The same is true of online education in general. Career advancement can include upskilling and reskilling. It may also involve earning a salary increase or promotion, or changing career fields. Online learning is flexible and appealing to professionals who are looking for career paths.
A Wider Selection of Courses and Programmes
Online learning offers professionals the opportunity to learn from schools all over the world, and choose the program that meets their needs best without having to move their lives. On the other hand, students who study on campus have limited options and must relocate to another city to pursue a full-time degree. Online classes are now offered by many prestigious, established universities. It gives you more options to achieve your goals and train your staff. Our learners at Emeritus are spread across 80 countries. Our partner institutions span the U.S.A., Europe Latin America, Southeast Asia India and China.
You can learn from professionals around the globe, as your online classmates are likely to be located in different countries. You can learn how to operate businesses overseas and prepare yourself for a global workplace. You can also gain valuable insights from adults outside and within your industry, as online learners tend to have diverse goals and backgrounds.
Coursework that is Immediately applicable
Online learning is a great way to upgrade your skills and stay in the same industry. You may find that the lessons you’ve learned from your teacher, your classmates, or your course materials are directly applicable to your work. What you learn in class can be put into practice immediately.
The Emeritus 2023 Global Career Impact Survey found that 78% of respondents said that their online coursework enabled them to become more effective in their job. 7 out 10 respondents also felt completing a program online made them more efficient.
Online program costs can vary greatly, but there are many different price points. You can select an online program to meet your professional requirements and that also fits your budget. You will generally save money on the housing and daily commute to campus. If your employer feels that your chosen program is in line with your present or future duties, they may be willing to cover your tuition or pay for it.
Develop Time Management Skills
In every area of your life, time management is a vital skill. You may juggle family and personal obligations with your professional responsibilities–along with everything else life throws your way. You’re probably juggling your career and your online education as a professional taking an online course. You will need to plan ahead, and possibly break down your assignments. It is important to learn how to manage time.
Virtual Collaboration Opportunities
These skills are taught by completing an online program or course. You will be collaborating on group projects, participating in both live and off-line discussions, and analyzing the viewpoints of classmates located around the world. It is important to have these skills because many companies hire teams that include employees from around the world. Working with people in different time zones could be part of your role.
No Geographical Boundaries for Networking
Emeritus courses take advantage of cohort based learning. This is an educational method where multiple students move through a series of courses or a course together. These courses are often offered in an online format that combines synchronous (live), as well as asynchronous learning (self-paced). You can form relationships with more people in your field of work because your online classmates aren’t limited to local residents. Online learning offers the opportunity to expand your professional network, without regard to geographical boundaries.
You can learn technical skills
Online learning also offers you the opportunity to gain technical skills, which will be useful both in and outside of the classroom. You will be able to learn how to use various hardware and software programs. You will also learn how to navigate digital learning materials and use the learning management system for your course.
Customizable learning environment
Online classes allow you to complete your coursework anywhere. This includes your living room or kitchen, office, coffee shop, etc. Some students learn better in the traditional classroom, while others may prefer to view lectures in their preferred environment. It’s one of the many benefits of online education. You can access your coursework from anywhere, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure. Distance learning has been a viable option for the duration of the pandemic.
The Sustainable Alternative
Online learning is environmentally friendly for several reasons. You don’t use gas to get from and to a campus. You’re also not likely to rely on printed materials for your coursework.
Online learning requires that you communicate with your professors and fellow students through a variety of channels, including email, videoconferencing and the course learning management system. Online education allows you to complete group projects and attend lectures using the format that works for you.
Remote Team Training
Online learning is a great option for team managers or organizational leaders who want to improve the skills of their remote employees. Any form of team training has benefits. These include increased employee engagement and collaboration. Remote and hybrid work is one of the most important workplace trends in the last few years. It makes sense, then, that team training initiatives will also be conducted online.