Benefits of Online Education | 8 Advantages of Online Learning

Why choose online education? Career Step provides the most popular answers from their students…
We’ve all seen those commercials on TV about completing a bachelor’s degree from home; the young college student is sitting on the bed in their pajamas and fuzzy slippers, typing away on their laptop.  Let’s face it, no matter how silly the commercials seem, the vast majority of us would prefer to complete our education without having to relocate to the college of our dreams, bypass the quarterly ritual of the midnight class registration process, and be able to study and take tests when we want to, not when the college has designated for us.  With the technological advances improving education across the globe, the availability of online options has increased significantly.  As with any new product or service, there are some who are immediately wary of it, but online education has some significant benefits.

1. Choice
With diversity in program options available, online education offers the opportunity for individuals to participate in programs that are not offered in their geographical area. This is especially true for professional training such as medical transcription.  Online education also offers great opportunities for students in rural areas, as well as internationally, where colleges or vocational training centers are not feasible.

2. Flexibility
Online education has opened doors to individuals who, due to busy schedules, may not be eligible for the traditional college environment.  Like Career Step, there are many online institutions that offer open enrollment, independent study programs to suit most schedules.  With most programs allowing a year to complete, instead of the traditional 4-month period often used by colleges, you should have ample time to complete the course while studying on your schedule.

3. Networking Opportunities
When attending a traditional college or university, you may network with a small group of individuals in your local area.  With online education, you get the opportunity to network with individuals around the country—even around the world.  For example, at Career Step you will encounter students from all across America, but you may also encounter Canadian, Australian, and South African students too!  Networking with peers from diverse locations can open many doors to employment opportunities previously unattainable in your local area.

4. Savings
According to US News, the average cost per year for a traditional public 4-year college can range between $9000 and $20,000.  The average cost for private 4-year colleges can jump to between $15,000 and $35,000 per year.  While the cost of taking an online bachelor’s degree may only be slightly less than the private college rates, there are many other factors that make it cheaper overall.  These factors include savings in room & board, textbooks, and gas money.  Online education also affords you the opportunity to keep your day job, so students often still bring in their normal salary.  Career Step offers professional training programs that cost less than the average expense for one semester of college, while allowing you to become workforce ready in as little as 4 months.

5. Much Less Intimidating
For me, the most stressful part of the first day of any given semester is choosing an outfit that allows me to feel comfortable yet serious about my learning, searching for the classroom, finding a seat I like, and hoping that the people who sit around me are friendly.  After settling into your seat, you hope that the professor doesn’t ask you a question you don’t know the answer to.  Online education has a certain degree of anonymity that helps to assuage the student’s fear of saying or wearing the wrong thing.  Students can think about their responses longer, respond when they feel comfortable, and the content doesn’t progress until they want it to.

6.  Increased Bonding and Camaraderie Between Students
Career Step offers online forums and informal chat rooms where students and graduates can gather to get to know one another.  Many other online institutions also allow these tools; there appears to be an increase in student/graduate bonding and camaraderie over traditional college environments.  With these safe environments populated by others in the same boat, great friendships can and are forged every day!

7. More Instructor-Student Interaction
One of the most intimidating and frustrating things about a traditional college or university environment is the lack of personal attention from the professor.  It’s often difficult to get in contact with your professor in class, and it is especially frustrating if the professor is taking questions, but one person is monopolizing the time.  With an online learning environment, most institutions provide a direct link to instructors and support personnel so that you get a live person on the phone or an email response within 24 hours.  Some online institutions even have instant messenger capabilities with their instructors so that you can get a quick response if you cannot get to a phone while working in your course.

8. New and Exciting Technology
It can cost a lot to update an entire college or university to the latest technology; therefore, many institutions just can’t keep up with the rapidly evolving ways to learn.  Online institutions definitely have a technological advantage!  The latest technologies can be incorporated more quickly into their programs and a world of different mediums is available.  At Career Step we have been able to revise and update our educational platforms and courses as technology in the medical industries evolves.

There are many additional advantages of online education that we don’t have room to list here.  It may not be for everyone, but if you dedicate yourself to completing an online course or program, the benefits may far outweigh your initial concerns.  While staying in our PJs all day may not be as feasible as those commercials make it seem, the possibilities and benefits of online education just might inspire you to dust off those fuzzy slippers, set up a home office space, and excel with your online training program.

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