Guys, there are haters out there. We all know it. Some of them are just negative people who hate everything. Others hate specific things. Today, I’m addressing the folks out there who are online education haters. Now, many of you know that I’m a huge proponent of school. I think that there are many, many advantages to learning in a classroom with a group of learners present with you. And I know that many of you agree with me, but I also think that we need to acknowledge that online learning offers some great stuff, too. So what are some of the attributes of online learning?
When I was in college, I loved looking through the course catalog. There were so many things that piqued my interest. Unfortunately, since I went to a pretty small school and majored in a subject that had a very small department, many of these awesome sounding classes weren’t offered when I wanted to take them (or could take them, or were only offered every three years, etc). With online learning, there’s always something out there that you’ll find to be an awesome sounding course. And you can take it!
Furthermore, in online course formats, instructors often present the materials in many different formats, which helps a variety of learners. When the instructor puts a video, lecture notes, and slides online, the same information is there, but can speak to three different people in different ways. Hate listening to or watching a lecture because you get more out of reading? No problem, the reading is there for you. Hate taking notes because you feel like you’re missing out on the material being presented? No problem, the slides and lecture notes are there for you.
I grew up in a small town, and every year from Kindergarten through the 12th grade, I knew all of the students in my classes. From year to year, you knew exactly who was the loudmouth, who was the joker, who was the shy kid. Everyone had their place in the class. In an online format, each student can participate in the way that they’re most comfortable doing – especially for those students who are on the shy side and might not like speaking in front of the class – class message boards and forums help to make every voice heard. The online learning environment can really foster creativity and encourage students to freely express themselves.
Online learning forces students to be self motivating, disciplined, and self directed. Once you’ve created these habits, they’ll help you to become more of a lifelong learner, and they’ll often spill into other areas of your life. There are many opportunities to take classes online without enrolling in a degree program, so whether you’re taking a course on a topic that interests you or trying to stay competitive in your career and field, there are a lot of options out there online.