Online learning is the future and now it’s at your fingertips
The development and popularity of the internet have put access to information and learning at our fingertips. Before this, education depended on attending lectures, talks, and physical objects. This is no longer the case as the advent of online learning has simplified the ability to gain knowledge and grow careers remotely.
The internet is constantly changing the way we live our lives. We now have 24/7 access to information, services, and products, and it is reinvented daily. Access to education and the way it is delivered has not escaped this transformation. Gone are the days where we were confined to traditional modes of learning, where education at all levels had to be face to face. Today, education is dynamic, online, and available at the click of a button. Here’s why online education is the way of the future.
Online learning gives working professionals the flexibility and space to balance work and life commitments. It’s no wonder then, that according to a study by Utep Connect, working professionals are twice as likely to earn a degree or other qualification online. With ever-expanding access to the internet, the opportunity to upskill yourself increases. So does the ability of universities, schools, and accredited bodies to offer education, making online learning accessible to nearly anyone with an internet connection! Not only is online learning more inclusive but it puts the learning experience largely in your hands, allowing you access to study anywhere, with no other resources required.
Career accelerators and industry switchers
Online study has enabled professionals to accelerate their careers or switch industries completely because it allows learners to continue generating an income and study. More and more tertiary education institutions are integrating online learning into their offerings, enabling students from across the globe to access top universities. Students in third-world countries can now get access to subjects such as coding, computing programming, and engineering, which drive change and innovation. Although degreed programmes are widely available online, it is the short learning courses that have become most popular, often providing information and skills which are niche. They empower the working professional to upskill themselves while still exploring their own careers.
Choice and affordability
The cost of completing an in-contact qualification is much higher than that of completing a qualification online. The choices and options for courses are also more than what the nearest institution for higher learning can possibly offer to its in-contact students. A quick search can deliver options such as robotics, public health, human rights, social media marketing, and ninja writing.
The blended learning model has also seen increased popularity. This is when in contact and online learning is combined to deliver the best of both offerings. According to research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, blended learning has a higher success rate than courses that are offered only on an in-contact basis, paving the way for the implementation of further online learning.
Many employers may be willing to pay the course fees for employees to complete learning programmes as it won’t keep them away from their jobs and often deliver quick results. It is key to determine whether an employer recognises these qualifications before pursuing them. Even though an employer may not formally
recognise certain short courses, it will build capital with the employer as they will be impressed by the effort to upskill and the ability to do so while employed.
Build a network
Engaging with fellow students and lecturers during online learning, allows students access to fellows from across the country and the globe. This creates the potential for moral support during the course and establishes a great peer network with which to connect and draw from in the future.
What the future holds
With the advantages that online learning offers, it has the potential to change the trajectory of the economy, especially in South Africa, where transport and high costs are often a hurdle. Online learning is not only here to stay; it is set to become an integral part of the future. Looking ahead, next-generation technologies such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality may soon become part of everyday learning. Although it’s not possible to predict where technology will go next, it is important for us to be there when it arrives, embracing technological change as it becomes ever more part of learning institutions around the world.