The Benefits and Pitfalls to Online Learning

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Is there a new skill you want to learn? Many of us have ambitions that require we either upskill or discover a new range of knowledge. It may be the case that you’re simply interested in delving into a certain area of study. Either way, most people don’t have the time or finances available to drop their day job or home commitments and enroll at a university full-time. One alternative that has become popular as technology has progressed is the platform of online learning using platforms such as Preply.

It can be difficult to know whether taking classes over the internet is suitable, so we’ve compiled a guide to the pros and cons of online classes. 



You' ll recieve individual attention
One aspect that seems to stand out, is that you’ll essentially be receiving private tuition. It’s true, there’s an amount of one-on-one focus that online learners can enjoy, particularly in the scenario of language learning. This is one of the benefits of online education - you’re not competing for attention with a classful of other students, your time is entirely honed on your needs. There aren’t many physical classrooms in which learning moves at your own pace, and any questions that you have about the subject matter are answered immediately.

All that said, independent learning isn’t suited to everybody. Many learners thrive by the presence of other students, benefitting from having others to bounce ideas off. This is worth bearing in mind if you decide to take up online learning - is there an opportunity to share ideas?

Your Timetable is Scheduled Around Your Lifestyle
Ask most learners why they chose to study via an online platform, and toward the top of their list is likely to be convenience. Your learning fits in with your life.

One of the primary advantages of online learning is that you are not usually bound by a daily timetable. You don’t have to attend lectures at a certain time, and you’ll never have to show up on campus unless you chose a subject that requires lab time. You get to arrange your studies around your home life, take one-to-one sessions after work or on weekends. You are in control.

However, this kind of freedom requires a certain level of discipline. While we’re all adults here, we can’t deny that some of us really do need structure to our learning. When not required to attend lectures or classrooms, some will find it easy to let our progress slip. If you’re considering online learning, you need to be conscious of how well suited you are to it. 



The World is Your Classroom
Anywhere in the world you happen to be, you can learn!
An advantage of the technological advances over the last decades is there are very few places without an internet connection. This means that you get to choose the environment in which you take your classes. Calculus on Kilimanjaro, biology on the beach, or just getting away from the family to learn a language at a cafe. No schoolrooms, just your choice of surroundings.

This can also be one of the disadvantages of online learning. A bustling cafe can be as difficult to learn in as a classroom of teenagers. If you need to have discussions with a tutor - can they be heard over the sound of the city? When you have the freedom of choice of environment, you need to make sensible decisions about which place will best aid your concentration.

Education Suited to Your Budget
One fact about most traditional educational establishments is that they tend to be expensive. Taking classes at a University, even part-time, is outside of most people’s disposable income.

On the whole, online courses are generally more affordable. There are platforms which offer a range of online tutors suited to various different budgets, and many large institutions - such as MIT - offer an open courseware option, where the only costs are those of a certificate upon completion. These kinds of opportunities make higher education more accessible to people even on a strict budget.

However, this can also be one of the disadvantages of taking online classes. There’s some truth in the old adage that “you get what you pay for”. Open courseware certificates may not be recognised by some potential employers. When shopping around for an online tutor, ensure you do your due diligence: look at reviews of the teacher. Cheaper isn’t always better.

Create Your Own Path to Success
There are many undeniable benefits of online learning. Above all else, it has helped ensure that whoever we are, wherever we come from, we have the ability to learn whatever it is we would like to. There are pitfalls, but for the most part these can be avoided or prepared for. Remember, your learning is your own responsibility; make sure you set yourself up for success.
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