In the 21st century, the world has evolved to the extent that our lifestyles have changed completely. And this applies to education too. You no longer have to wake up early in the morning, walk a few miles, and take the bus to reach your school on time. The option of online education makes studying a lot more convenient for students all across the globe. All you have to do is enroll yourself in an online course and you can start taking classes online from the comfort of your home.
That said, if you think getting an online degree is a piece of cake, you’re badly mistaken. It’s as challenging as getting a standard college degree. Moreover, online education is not for everyone. It is only for people with self-discipline, motivation, and excellent time management skills. If you wish to know whether you are the right candidate for online education, let’s have a look at some of its pros and cons.
Pros of Online Education
When it comes to the standard education systems, students have to follow the class timings set by their college. This becomes difficult when you move on to higher levels of education where you might have other commitments as well. Many students have part-time or full-time jobs along with their studies to manage. Adhering to fixed study schedules set by the institute becomes difficult in such cases.
Online education, on the other hand, provides a lot of flexibility — you get to choose when you wish to study, at what days and what time. There are no restrictions to where you can study; you can study in your office lunch break, at 4 A.M, or on the bus. It’s the best option for students who cannot study otherwise due to their personal or work commitments. For instance, there are many who never finished high school but wished to do so later on in life. Through online education, they can still earn an accredited high school diploma online. This applies to any other program too; be it online courses or a Master’s degree, you can obtain your desired qualification according to your own schedule.
Studying online saves several expenses that you would incur studying at a physical college such as the cost of traveling to and from college several times a week as well as on-site accommodation costs if the institute is far from home.
In addition to that, online education eliminates the need to purchase books, notes, and related study material, as you are likely to be provided online. Books and study materials are often expensive and a significant part of the student’s total degree cost.
Apart from these savings, many online degree programs are reasonably priced, making them affordable for those on a small budget.
3) Saves Time
Your class is at 9 in the morning, but you have to wake up at seven and leave by eight in order to reach your institute. And what happens if you get stuck in traffic? You miss half the class and all your effort goes to waste.
With online education, you can save these 2 hours easily. You can wake up, turn your laptop on, grab a notebook and get started. Moreover, you can utilize this extra time doing something productive, such as get a part-time job or volunteer for social work!
Online education also gives you the freedom to travel any time of the year as you’re not restricted by your schedule or classes. So, if you were planning a trip next month, you can go for it without any worries!
4) Develops Digital Skills
In the technology-driven world of today, learning from books and notes is not effective anymore, as it does nothing to improve your digital skills. Online education involves studying online and it teaches you numerous online tools in the process. It involves working on Google Docs, attending Webinars, and using the latest apps like Edmodo.
Unlike college students who are only exposed to physical books, online education allows you to develop digital skills, which help in your professional career too.
Cons of Online Education
Despite some amazing advantages, online education has a few drawbacks:
1) Lack of Social Interaction
Online education means no exposure to the college environment and limited interaction with other students and teachers. Many people love the experience a college or university offers which involves meeting new people, making friends, studying together and having fun through it all. If this is what you are after, online education is not for you. After all, social interactions are an integral part of learning because it exposes you to different mindsets and viewpoints.
2) Technical issues
Not everyone is tech-savvy, and this can make online education a challenge for some people. For instance – if your laptop stops working due to some minor issues, you might not be able to study until it is fixed. You are completely reliant on it for your study, which is not the case while studying on-campus.
Furthermore, some applications and software are difficult to manage, and it takes time to learn. There are no such problems if you are studying on-campus.
3) Lack of practical experience
Studying at home is very convenient but it doesn’t expose you to the practical world or help you connect with professionals in the industry. This is crucial if you’re pursuing a degree that requires practical skills.
Moreover, in-class activities like presentations prepare students for the business world. All these things are not possible with online education.
4) Fewer courses
Despite over 6 million students in the United States taking online classes, the availability of online courses is far less. Most of the courses which require expert knowledge and expertise are not available online because the online education industry is still in its early stages. Many courses will be gradually introduced with time.
Another drawback is when you step out in the market, you are likely to find some companies giving preference to graduates who have completed on-campus courses, instead of those with an online degree.
5) No Proper Routine
Pushing yourself to study is quite a tough task. Lack of motivation and self-discipline makes it very difficult to study online at a steady pace. Millennials are one of the laziest generations; they’re unlikely to perform a task until the deadline is knocking the door.
With an on-campus program, the fear of poor attendance is enough to drag you out from bed and go for class. You will also be submitting all your assignments on time and keeping up with the rest of the class. Those studying online are likely to suffer from a lack of routine.
It won’t be wrong to say that the importance of online education is only going to keep increasing with time because of all the advantages it holds for students. The flexibility of studying anywhere, at any time, is surely beneficial for some who cannot attend college or university due to any reason.
However, everything great comes with a few drawbacks. Without time management skills and lack of motivation, online education is impossible to pursue. Make sure to consider the pros and cons of online education before you decide whether it is the right option for you.