advantages of taking an online course

10 Main Advantages of Taking an Online Course in 2021

What are the benefits of taking an online course? 

Just like in-person classes, online classes have their fair share of unique advantages that make them appealing to most students and those wanting to pick up new skills.

The two most significant conveniences for online courses are typically location and time flexibility. These are especially ideal if you’re also working a day job but would still like to learn and develop new skills without giving up your roles. In this case, these online course study tips are sure to come in handy.

That said, other benefits of online courses may not be completely clear at first.

This is why I’m going to leverage my experience taking online courses to dig up some of the unique aspects I’ve found essential about them.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the main advantages of taking an online course in 2021, which may help you make the most of your e-learning experience. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Lower Costs

The cost of education is through the roof in 2021. 

An HSBC report titled “Value of Education” revealed that it sets back students $99,417 on average to acquire a degree in the U.S. 

From tuition fees to boarding expenses and other auxiliary costs, experts agree that the price of in-person education in the country is higher than it’s ever been in the past 10 years. 

Some of the factors that have contributed to this rise include: 

  • An increase in utility fees
  • A decrease in financial aid
  • An increase in faculty wages

Conversely, one of the pros of taking an online course is cost-effectiveness. 

For instance, the majority of these cyber security courses on Udemy are priced at $89.99. Great discounts are also available regularly, which often slash these course fees by over 90%.

In fact, if you’re a new user on the site, you may even get your first course at $10. 

I’ll bet very few universities in the world offer similar or any discounts on their courses. This price is typically all-inclusive, and you won’t have to worry about recurring expenses like boarding, commuting, and service charges. 

2. Good Pacing 

Do normal classes prove too hard to keep up? 

You’re not alone. 

According to a study by the Kids Count Data Center, approximately 7% of U.S. learners have repeated a grade. 

That accounts for approximately three million students a year who are held back. 

Learners falling victim to a generalized educational approach was cited among the biggest contributors. 

The failure to catch up to their peers also involved a non-friendly pace of learning, as different learning abilities were not considered. 

Thanks to the advantages of taking online classes you can set a good comfortable pace for yourself. There are a couple of course options when you consider an online course. The first is the synchronous kind where an instructor teaches online but in real-time. 

Secondly, there’s the asynchronous course which may involve assignments but doesn’t have scheduled meetings nor does it correspond to a preset timetable.

For instance, most of these data science courses on Udemy are asynchronous. 

They involve pre-recorded video classes, nicely structured into a lesson plan. This way, you can learn at a pace that is comfortable for you. 

3. Convenience 

Are you thinking about traveling to a foreign country for studies? 

Approximately more than 332,000 Americans have crossed great distances in their quest for education, going by an Open Doors report. 

A significant percentage of that number has found it hard to keep up with the strains of education in a new country and end up calling it quits.

Studying abroad means being torn apart from your family and friends, and moving into a new culture. Adapting to this learning environment can be hard, which might make you fall behind in class and eventually drop out. 

An online class provides excellent geographical flexibility in comparison. 

You don’t need to periodically travel hundreds of miles at great financial and emotional strain as you can learn from the convenience of your home. 

What’s more, the need to commute between on-campus locations is also eliminated. 

Aside from costs, being able to study from any location means you’ll be able to keep your professional and social relationships. 

With these advantages of doing online classes, you get better peace of mind for a comfortable learning environment. 

4. Bonus Courses

Most learning institutions have a pre-set curriculum. 

You get exactly what you pay for and nothing more. The burden of footing the costs of any additional classes that you believe will better ease your course progress squarely falls on your shoulders. 

In some cases, your university might suggest these complementary courses as prerequisites but that means you’ll have to pay extra. 

One of the advantages of doing online courses are free bonus classes offered occasionally.

For example, one of these SQL courses offers lifetime access to a bonus course on Excel. 

This complementary learning aid comes in handy because most traditional data sets are in Excel tables, and it’s important to know how to use SQL statements to better manipulate the data in Excel. 

The point is, with some of the right online courses, you get a relevant bonus course for free.   

As a result, you get two-in-one value for a course that you would have otherwise spent a bit more money and time on to learn separately. 

5. Instructor Options 

A reliable instructor is an important variable when taking an online course. 

If you’ve ever had a teacher whose personality or teaching style you didn’t like, then you understand just how hard it can be to pass when you can’t stand the instructor for some reason. 

According to the HSSE survey by Indiana University, 61% of students don’t like their teachers. This in turn reduces class interactivity and interest, thereby contributing to poor performances. 

One of the main advantages of taking an online course in 2021 is that you get to choose your instructor.  

As an example, there are plenty of artificial intelligence course options at your disposal. 

Via video previews of the courses, you can determine whether the instructor is a match for your personality. These previews also give you the chance to gauge the instructor’s communication skills and teaching methods as well. 

If you don’t feel comfortable with one instructor you can consider many other great options on the list as well. In the end, you don’t have to settle for less when it comes to your online course instructor. 

6. Better Practicality

Do you want a hands-on course to get you job-ready? 

Most college professors and scholars have been in their line of work for the entirety of their professional careers. 

Consequently, most of the knowledge infused to learners comes from a theoretical perspective. This is among the key reasons why the skills gap is getting bigger by the day, with 8 in 10 Americans attesting to the divide between theory and practicality. 

While I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get a university degree, it doesn’t hurt to supplement your knowledge with online courses for good measure in terms of practicality. 

One of the key advantages of online classes is that the majority of them are taught by professionals who’ve practiced for years in the industry.

For example, many of these ethical hacking courses are instructed by renowned bug bounty hunters who’ve not only worked for the biggest industry players today but have also created a variety of malware. 

The courses, therefore, come with excellent learn-by-doing approaches. 

7. Higher Completion

Did you know you’re 40% likely to drop out of an undergraduate course?

This is according to an Education Data study on college graduation rates which shows that just 6 in 10 bachelor degree students see courses to graduation.

Among the reasons behind dropouts are medical emergencies, financial strains, and unbalanced work-life situations. Many of these root causes can easily be remedied by the time and location conveniences an online course provides. 

On the flip side, with an online class, your chances of completing the course are higher. 

In fact, many universities have successfully piloted online courses, which have resulted in higher completion rates than physical learning models. 

Harvard is a great example of these advantages of having online classes.

The university tried a couple of online classes and noticed an 85% completion rate, which was much higher than their traditional course offers.  

On a reliable e-learning platform with a well-structured course and student support, you’re guaranteed to see through your learning. 

8. Fewer Distractions 

There are many distractions in a face-to-face classroom setting.

From background noise such as ongoing construction work to your schoolmates who are eager to talk about non-class-related subjects, you can easily lose focus. 

A Canadian Journal Study finds out just as much, establishing that 50% of students are distracted in class. 

While technology is the biggest contributor, a lot of other factors unique to a physical classroom like off-topic discussions also chip in immensely. 

Learning requires great self-discipline no matter the path you take.

However, one of the benefits of taking an online class is that there are fewer temptations. It’s easy to schedule your coursework around common distractions in your everyday life.

For instance, you can set up your learning space in a cut-off section of your house, away from digital technologies and other things that often get in your way.

Fatigue is also a common cause of losing focus in class. 

With an online course, you can time your learning to the periods when you are most alert and when your learning environment is most conducive.

9. Resume Boost

The job market is highly competitive today.

According to research by Statista, the global unemployment rate was 6.47% in 2020.

This represented an increase from the previous year and, from a larger perspective, it is at the highest it’s ever been since 2010. It is for this reason that there’s never been a greater need for you to stand out in the job market. 

One of the best ways to enhance your portfolio is by taking an online course and earning a certificate, which may just be enough to land you a top job. 

A PayScale survey brought this to light by uncovering that 50% of hiring managers are willing to give formal employment to candidates without college degrees. 

In fact, you don’t need a degree to work for companies like Tesla, Google, and Apple, as revealed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Satellite 2020 conference. 

That said, an online course also speaks a lot about your commitment to your prospective employer. It shows that you are willing to go the extra mile for your professional career, which can open up new doors for you.

10. Job Continuity 

Is your job standing in the way of your studying? 

It is usually the case for many people that going back to the classroom means quitting your day job. In August 2021, 4.3 million Americans stepped down from work for various reasons, including going back to school to land a more lucrative job offer. 

If you’re juggling family responsibilities, you may have to put off studying until such a time when these commitments ease up. 

The unique benefits of taking an online class allow you to break traditional limitations and better manage work, life, and academics. 

As opposed to face-to-face classroom scenarios with scheduled class hours, an online course is much more flexible. You can move your time around, and only take the course over the weekend, after-hours, and generally when you have some time to spare. 

More importantly, online classes allow you to schedule your learning to your most productive time, regardless of whether you’re an early riser or a night owl. 

Conclusion 

Are you constantly falling behind in class? 

A face-to-face classroom setting doesn’t fully cater to your individual learning needs, and going with the flow almost always means getting left behind. 

An online course meanwhile affords you a great opportunity to proceed at your own comfortable pace, which is one of the main advantages of taking an online course in 2021. It also offers more hands-on learning, costs quite less in comparison, and you don’t have to give up your job in pursuit of education. 

If you aren’t settled on a niche, you should consider these Coursera business analytics courses to get you started. 

Any one of these courses will grow your marketing and general data analytics skills and make you invaluable to many businesses today.

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