Enrolling for an online degree program is one of the best career decisions you’ll ever make, especially if you’re already working. Online courses enable you to set your time and attend classes at your convenience. Though we will talk about the Pros and Cons of Online Courses throughout, we would recommend you also understand the difference between online and offline courses to be on the same page!
You can choose to take the classes early morning or in the late evening. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or in the office. You can sign in to your distant learning portal at your convenience time and connect with your tutors or complete your assignments. Plus, since online courses are Internet-based, research work is exceedingly easier compared to on-campus learning.
However, before choosing this learning model, you must carefully assess your needs and conduct your due diligence. While everything about online courses appears to be attractive, there are a couple of challenges to contend with.
The following are some of the top benefits and drawbacks of online courses.
Pros of Online Courses
This is arguably the biggest advantage of taking online courses. The courses allow you to study at your convenient hours.
And as we’ve already mentioned, the flexibility you get when you take an online course is especially important if you’re a mature student. You determine when to go to work, when to study, and when to attend to your other equally-pressing businesses.
It’s important to remember that this flexibility doesn’t necessarily imply that online courses come with less workload. It simply means that you can choose when to study, depending on your convenience and mental disposition.
Another notable benefit of online courses is that they’re incredibly accessible. To take a course online, all you require is an internet-enabled computer or tablet, and a stable internet connection.
Everything else, from lectures to assignments, and study resources are either emailed to you or sent via other file-transfer systems, such as Skype.
That’s in sharp contrast to campus-based learning, where you must be physically present in a lecture hall to receive the lectures. And after that, you’ll have to spend more hours in the library looking for supplementary study materials.
Regardless of the standard of measure that you use, online courses are far more affordable than campus-based ones.
Most learning institutions subsidize tuition fees for their online courses after taking into account the fact that the student will not be physically available to utilize other services within the facility. For instance, you’re not charged any library or recreational fee, neither do you have to subscribe to student unions and emergency funds. All of these reflect favorably on the tuition fee.
But that’s not all. Online courses also save you many other expenses, such as transport costs, the cost of eating at the cafeteria, buying books, etc.
4. Individualized Learning
Online courses offer individual attention, making the learning process more student-facing. A student has a direct pipeline with their tutor through email and other platforms.
Therefore, the student can pose their questions and seek clarifications, which are often addressed almost immediately.
Also, since online courses are more individualized, students are not afraid to ask questions for fear of stigma or derision by their classmates. That’s in sharp contrast to campus-based courses where a lecture hall can be so crowded that getting the lecturer’s attention in itself can be a hassle.
5. You Connect To the Global Village
Online courses enable you to meet people from all over the world. And though the interactions are mostly virtual, you can still forge lasting relationships out of those connections.
There are plenty of online events that you can participate in, which allow you to meet with people from different walks of life. Also, as your tutor will likely be from a different geographical location, your interactions can help you to learn a thing or two about their local cultures.
And even when you’re not necessarily studying, the mere fact that online courses take place through the internet allows you to explore different regions, albeit virtually.
6. Promotes Computer Literacy
Online courses offer this least talked about advantage that it offers probably because it all happens on the fly.
Students taking online courses are generally more computer-literate compared to those in regular campus-based learning models. That’s because an online course exposes the learner to computers more often than campus-based courses. As such, the student discovers a lot about computers, way beyond what they could ever learn in a computer class.
Skills like keyboarding and data entry, MS Word and Excel, data management and protection, research, etc., are honed seamlessly by taking an online course.
Cons of Online Courses
This is the greatest drawback of online courses. Learning online adversely impacts your employability.
Many recruiters will readily pass you over for a job if they realize that you took an online course, even if the course was offered by a prestigious learning institution. This trend is inspired by the general perception that online courses aren’t as rigorous and robust as campus-based ones.
2. Absence of Social Interaction
We’ve already highlighted that online courses can enable a learner to connect with people from various walks of life. The interactions though happen in a virtual world.
You may meet charming people or uncover thrilling destinations. But the geographical barriers are still there.
With on-campus courses, you get to make real connections with real friends. These are people you can physically meet and have fun with, not just share wishes and hopes.
3. Fewer Course Options
It’s an indisputable fact that not all courses can be undertaken online. That’s especially true for courses that require practical skills and hands-on experience.
Examples include plumbing and electrical courses, engineering courses, courses in the field of medicine, etc.
This can be a very limiting factor, as it means a student may end up enrolling for a course that they’re not passionate about.
I can bet you didn’t see this coming. We can complete Online courses as per our convenience; that’s a given. But that doesn’t make them time-efficient.
The text-based environment offered in these courses leads to a longer time to type a text message as compared to verbal communications. It could take even longer if there are language barriers.
And the fact that non-verbal communication cannot be effectively implemented in an online environment complicates the situation even further.
Online courses have their pros and cons. Before enrolling for an online diploma or degree program, assess your needs and determine whether the course will benefit you in the long run.
Hey! do you know what employees think about this initiative? If you are an employee who is soon going to undergo online training or an employer who is planning an online training, you should know How do employees view online training?
To get more insights into knowing is online training as useful as doing online courses, we recommend you going through Is online training useful?