Regardless of where or how a person is studying, if they’re paying for their education, they have probably asked themselves if an online course is a better Return on Investment. After all, private primary and secondary education, courses at specialized institutions, college degrees, and technical training all tend to be very expensive.
One of the key advantages of online courses is, in fact, that they tend to be cheaper. If one compares the cost paid directly towards the course, an online course is often only 50-70% of its physical equivalent. But that doesn’t fully answer our question. Although online courses save money, students need to work out if the advantages of learning primarily online are outweighed by the disadvantages.
Fortunately, times have changed dramatically from the days where “distance learning” meant hours spent waiting for the library to open, emailing lecturers 24/7, and long, costly journeys to attend exams. The development of video chat and conferences, interactive learning games, VR, and cloud-hosting has radically improved eLearning.
Parents feel more secure in some situation with courses online. Knowing that their children are comfortably at home, that teachers’ records can be found swiftly, and that classes can be observed offers peace of mind.
Students find it convenient to attend lessons. Illness, transport troubles, or any other interference is no issue as long as they have internet connection.
Students can more easily pick and choose the right courses for them. The flexibility of online education is another huge bonus. Students can pick and mix from courses not only from different departments, but from different institutions entirely.
Educators can provide a more personalized, comprehensive experience. By keeping track of students via cloud-hosted profiles, educators can make sure every student gets the individual attention they need to progress.
Educational facilities can cut back on costs and invest more in educators and students. Not having a physical location is an innovative way to redirect resources towards better educators and more advanced LMS solutions.
That said, there are still some distinct pitfalls. For example, students need to know if their course is reputable, where the exam will be, and what the options are when it comes to expanding, extending, or pausing the course. With any eLearning opportunity, a student will need to investigate:
- What is the next step after the course?
- Is the exam online?
- Can I space my modules out?
- Can I sit my exams when I like?
- Can I take a break?
- Will I need any more tools, materials, or services?
Not all online courses are worth their price tag. It’s essential to answer the above questions and locate an online course that meets all the student’s needs and puts them in a better position to seek further education or employment. That said, there are definitely some courses that are as valuable and widely accepted as any certificate from a physical school. There is no reason to fear the validity of an established eLearning option.
All in all, the benefits of online classes on students’ educational and career potential are not to be underestimated. With the right course, students can definitely get the same value for a lower outlay.