As more business and academic activities move to the digital sphere, more and more students look to online resources for their education. Getting an online education doesn’t mean that you must enroll in a 4-year university (though you can). Instead, the Internet offers students of all ages the opportunity to access educational resources from anywhere in the world.
So what is online education? In truth, it spans a wide range of online programs, courses, and resources. You can get informal online education through free resources like educational videos, tutorials, and even informational blog posts. Alternatively, you can enroll in online programs from accredited institutions to get formal certifications and degrees.
In years past, many people were skeptical of getting an online education. Some people thought that an online degree would not look as credible on their resume. Others worried that online courses may not provide the same level of student-teacher engagement as in-person classes. Fortunately, advanced technology now gives students the ability to get a credible, high-quality education online.
In fact, many 4-year universities are moving to online classes. Not only do online classes help schools save money, but they also make sense given the advancements in communication technology. Even 20 years ago, schools didn’t have access to the kind of software needed to teach effectively. These days, teachers and students can come together in a virtual environment with ease.
So, now that online degrees and certifications are becoming the norm, let’s take a look at the five benefits of online education:
1. You Can Access the Education You Need
Depending on your location or financial circumstances, you may not have access to a traditional school. You could live too far away from the nearest university or not have the funds to pay for tuition and other expenses. In some cases, the schools in your city, state, or region may not offer the kind of courses you want or need.
Location and finances are not the only limiting factors. Many students suffer from health issues or disabilities that make it difficult to learn in a traditional classroom environment. In these situations, in-person learning simply isn’t an option.
Alternatively, online education brings the classroom directly to you. With distance learning, you don’t have to travel far or even spend exorbitant prices on tuition. You can find free and low-cost learning resources without ever leaving your home. All you need is a computer (or similar device) and a reliable Internet connection.
2. You Have More Tools at Your Disposal
In traditional classrooms, teachers don’t always have the resources to accommodate different learning styles. Sadly, this can leave many students feeling left out. Everyone absorbs information a little differently, so finding a school or program that meets your needs can be tough.
Fortunately, online education gives you access to software and programs for every learning style imaginable. Do you learn best with visual aids? You can find a program that provides instructional videos for students. Are you a kinesthetic learner? Various schools offer online simulators to help students who learn best through movement. The benefits for non-traditional learners are practically endless.
The Benefits of Online Education with Otter.ai
Otter.ai is just one of many platforms that can help improve your online education. The software provides live transcription services for both students and teachers to utilize in the virtual classroom. With Otter Live Notes, you can have a real-time transcription side-by-side with your learning platforms. For example, if you’re attending a class via Skype or Zoom, you can easily integrate Otter.ai’s platform to give you live, up-to-date transcriptions of your entire class.
For teachers, Otter.ai is a great way to produce live notes to share with students. Participants can make edits and review the transcription as needed. Once the class is finished, students can review the transcription as an audio or text file. This takes the pressure off of students to recall everything said during lectures, giving them more time to engage with their teacher and fellow students. It also provides useful information for students who are unable to attend class at a specific time.
Not only does Otter.ai remove the burden of note taking, but it also makes it easier for those with disabilities or unique learning styles to get more from their online education. For example, if you have difficulty hearing spoken words, live text transcriptions with Otter.ai gives you a way to learn without the need for additional equipment or specialized coursework.
3. You Spend Less on Overhead Costs
If you’ve ever attended an institution of higher education, you know that there are a lot of overhead costs. Traditional schools must have the necessary buildings, equipment, and faculty to provide their students with a quality education. For the most part, these costs get passed on to the students via tuition and other fees.
This is one of the greatest benefits of online education and one more reason why students choose online classes. You don’t need to help pay for large classrooms, auditoriums, administrative fees, and the hundreds of other costs of a traditional school. Instead, your costs are reduced because the overhead is minimal. In many cases, schools or programs can even offer free college courses and certifications online. As a result, even more people can access quality education, even if it was previously out of reach.
4. You Can Customize Your Education
While online education helps people with different learning styles, it also offers greater versatility to people with specific goals. Some people get an education for self-improvement, while others attend school for career advancement. No matter what kind of goals you have in mind, online education can help you get exactly what you need.
For example, most traditional universities have standard 4-year programs, certifications, and post-graduate degrees. When you attend an in-person university, you have to meet some strict course requirements. For example, your college degree program may require you to take two years of a foreign language, even if you’re trying to get a degree in an unrelated field.
When you look online for education, you are in the driver’s seat. You can pick and choose the institutions to which you want to apply, the courses you want to take, as well as how and when you want to learn. While online degree programs still have certain requirements that you must meet, they generally give you more flexibility to choose your own path.
Additionally, you can take courses at your own pace, finish assignments and tests on a more flexible schedule, and study how and when it suits you. In short, getting an online education allows you to dictate how and when you learn, rather than a school making those choices for you.
5. You Can Work on Self-Improvement
Finally, getting an online education also puts you in a unique position to work on improving yourself. For example, when parents send their child off to college for the first time, they generally expect their student to learn some basic life skills in addition to their coursework. At a traditional university, you may have to learn how to do many things on your own, like budgeting your money, managing your time, and learning self-discipline.
The same is true of online education, with a few key differences. One major benefit is scheduling flexibility, but if you don’t practice good time management, this can actually be one of the disadvantages of online learning. As a result, getting your education online pushes you to motivate yourself and get your schoolwork done, even when you don’t have strict deadlines or a formal class environment. In a sense, the need to be disciplined and motivated is amplified when you learn online, as you also have to ignore distractions and other responsibilities that you might have at home.
Additionally, if you’re not adept at using computers or software, taking an online course is a great place to start learning. While you can learn technical skills from a textbook, sometimes it’s more useful to get hands-on experience. So, the learning doesn’t have to stop when class is over. Online education can also teach you a lot of great new technical skills that could be useful in your everyday life.
There are numerous benefits of online education. Between flexible scheduling, lower costs, and greater access to learning resources, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of online education. So, if you’re weighing the pros and cons of online education, be sure to keep the benefits listed above in mind.