Variety of programs and courses
Almost every college offers a variety of online courses for varying degrees. From career certificate programs to doctoral programs, and everything in between. Higher education today offers more options to students than ever before.
Lower total costs
In some cases, online programs can prove to be a more affordable option. Although tuition expenses may not always be lower, the other expenses associated with higher education might be. For instance, there are no commuting costs, and very often instructors might offer an online text or learning materials so that students do not have to purchase textbooks.
More comfortable learning environment
Have you ever seen images of students in an online class while in their pajamas? Well, that’s often a highlight of learning online. As, someone who has taken online classes, I much prefer to take a 3-hour course from the comfort of my own couch rather than a hard, uncomfortable chair in a classroom. It’s also more comfortable when I can take a needed bathroom break, get up to stretch my legs, or even grab something to eat, whereas, in a classroom environment, that may not be possible. The best part about it is that after a long day, and a long class, there’s not much of a commute from the couch to the bed.
Convenience and flexibility
Most higher education students are juggling a work/life balance in addition to their academic responsibilities. The appeal of online learning for some is the fact that they have the flexibility to learn on their own time. For many online learners, earning a degree would not be possible if they did not have the option of online education. Most online learners appreciate the fact that they can log on after they put the kids to bed, or on weekends, or on the commute home. For many, flexibility is key.
More interaction and greater ability to concentrate
While many might argue that online learning does not provide enough opportunity for student interaction, online learning actually invites in a variety of collaborative social opportunities. From my own personal experience, I’ve had more meaningful interaction through my online learning experience than I ever did in face-to-face classroom settings. I knew all of my classmates by name, we talked on several occasions and provided support to one another when it was needed. Online learning provides a community atmosphere that adds a key social element to the learning experience
Online courses are accessible to anyone, especially those who are looking to switch careers, get a degree to advance their career, or to increase their salary. Students can take courses while working, in-between jobs, and even while raising their families. Earning a degree while juggling other responsibilities can show prospective employers’ ambitiousness and the desire for continued professional development.
Continue in your profession:
The advantage of taking online classes while you are working is that you do not have to choose between leaving your job and taking classes. You can continue to work your normal hours while simultaneously furthering your education. Many companies also offer education incentives, and some companies will even pay tuition costs.
Whether you live in a big city or a rural suburb, commuting can not only be frustrating, but costly. Many online students report saving money on gas, tolls, or public transportation when taking classes online. They also appreciate the time it saves them. As someone who has had to commute to class, it often took two hours out of my day in commuting as well as up to $30 per week in commuting costs.
Improve your technical skills
Even a basic online course requires the development of new computer skills. Taking online classes exposes the student to learn how to use different LMSs (learning management systems) to incorporate audio/video into assignments, sharing documents, and even to take some online training workshops.
The ability to attend class no matter the circumstances
This by far was one of the biggest appeals to online learning for me. If I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t forced to miss class and fall behind on assignments. I was still able to attend class from my bed and to stay on top of my work. In addition, this can be helpful for parents with sick children. If they are forced to stay home and take care of their sick children, they can still log on to class, and do not have to deal with the added stress of falling behind on their coursework.