The Internet has given us many opportunities to socialize, explore career opportunities, and, of course, improve our skills. Today, you can learn pretty much anything you need to learn online; and, in some cases, this education will not even cost you a dime. However, people who are looking to improve their skills in certain areas (professional ones, in particular) are often expected to pay for quality information. As you probably know, distance learning is another term for online courses; such classes often run on a commercial basis. And, whenever money is involved, one cannot but wonder —what exactly can I get for my money’s worth?
Besides, everyone knows that traditional, onsite education is still fighting back inevitable social changes online study has bright to surface. Moreover, just like quality online study, it remains commercial. Which option should you choose when money is involved? A realistic answer will mostly depend on the skills you are trying to acquire, as well as your lifestyle. Not to bury the lead: it’s more than possible to learn pretty much anything you need to learn with the help of online study tools. You have to understand the underlying logic of distance learning (as opposed to traditional education) and carefully use all the benefits online study can offer. Let us get started.
Online Study Pros and Cons
To make the most of an online study skills course, you should be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of remote education. Then you will be able to make the most of the first ones and avoid the second ones.
One of the primary advantages of online study skills class — virtually ANY type — is that it allows students to study at their own place. It is a perfect opportunity for adult learners who have to combine education, work, and family life — along with personal development. No wonder that a working mom would sooner search for the best yoga DVD than commit to visiting a gym.
Besides, online study is usually more affordable than traditional classes. Even in a yoga course, it is cheaper to pay for DVD rather than commit to a full-time gym membership. Try to consider the associated costs of visiting a gym – gas and time to get there. You will see that online study saves not only your time but also money. There are many websites where you can teach as well as study online.
Similar logic applies to most online classes —from Photoshop tutorials to computer programming online courses. Also, even though many people claim that online study is not formal education, there are plenty of free online study courses with certificates after completion. And, many reputable online documents can be considered diplomas of sorts. More importantly, many companies will see this online diploma as proof of a candidate’s eligibility.
You can recall that most present-day professional niches (especially new professions in the IT-sphere) are not too interested in the applicant’s diplomas and rewards. What they are looking for is the actual ability to do the job. Therefore, once again — in terms of credentials, some of the best online courses are not inferior to formal education.
Still, even the best online study sites have their limitations. The absence of a regular teacher is one of them. Even though some platforms may assign you a regular tutor, most of them will redirect any questions you have to relevant professionals. Instead of having just one teacher (with just one professional perspective), students get a chance to consult multiple professionals. It is an excellent way of sharpening their skills to utter perfection.
However, the biggest challenge of study at your own pace online education is discipline and organization. While most traditional forms of learning will set rigid deadlines on their courses, online classes do not feature that ‘tough love’ kind of motivation. What can seem as a plus often turns into a minus (especially for people who lack self-discipline)?
Traditional Study Pros and Cons
Considering all we have mentioned above, it is evident that the biggest benefit of traditional education is control over the whole process. The most significant disadvantages of regular classes are the absence of flexibility and high learning costs. Still, it is never as simple as that.
On the other hand, formal education is a massive, cumbersome machine that takes time, initiative, and money whenever the slightest change is concerned. Simply put, legal institutions are slow to adjust to new techniques and — sadly — even knowledge. Formal onsite classes can be a good fit for some traditional jobs that have existed for a long time. However, they also barely cover the needs of developing professions (for example, innovative IT spheres).
So, we’re back to where we started. The choice between online and onsite education will depend on your goals and expectations from a class. If you acquire new skills for yourself, master a new hobby, or learn something for fun — an online course is a better idea. If however, you need the qualifications for a job, the answer will depend on the actual position and its requirements. Your age and personality also play a massive part in this decision. Overall, online education is better suited for independent adults who can manage their time and effort. Formal classes are more suitable for younger students who are still mastering necessary time-management skills.
Succeeding as an Online Learner: Main Tips
Suppose you do want to take an online course and — more importantly — succeed in it. How to study online so that your time and money would not be wasted? The following tips are just the tip of the iceberg, but they should help.
- Be consistent: consistency is the key to effective online study. For starters, you will need an adequate online study planner. It will make sure you do not fall behind your studies — for a start, choose at least a couple of study planners that would work for you. This little trick will give you a chance to implement some of the traditional classroom controls to your online courses.
- Set adequate milestones: most formal classes last a fixed period, so setting deadlines when studying online is always a good idea. The trick is to make them adequate and realistic, tailored to your lifestyle and learning pace.
- Do not stop at the top: most reputable programs will offer you all the online study guides you need. Still, your education and career are in your own hands, so feel free to explore any other resources on our path to self-improvement. After all, that is what online study is really about.
Which do you think is superior — formal or online study? Do you think online classes will one day replace traditional classrooms?