Online learning is fast becoming a real alternative to how many people are choosing to learn. Why is this the case? Online learning is flexible, nimble and designed with the learner in mind; after all, many people who choose to continue with their education in the world of work are busy professionals with a work-life balance to address. When one makes the decision to continue with their professional education it’s vital that they do so in a way that suits their individual learning needs.
Some students feel that there is no substitute for a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ education. Many people feel that learning in a classroom, with like minded people and professionals in a collaborative way, is the best way to learn. Idea-sharing and knowledge transfer, as well as heated debate among peers, can often make students think more about the subject matter that they are learning about, as well as being able to see things from another perspective. Others, however, prefer to learn independently; head stuck into their metaphorical books, reading and studying alone at a pace that suits them.
Online learning, or distance learning as it is sometimes referred to, is becoming increasingly popular in 2017, with a recent study showing that organisations’ self paced e-learning had risen by 59% in just one year; classroom-style training, in comparison, dropped by 29%.
What is it then, that makes online learning a more attractive prospect in CPD and further education?
One of the most important things, for many employees, is progression in their chosen career. At ICT we have found that 36% of people that have taken our course end up with a promotion during that time. As our courses are aimed at busy professionals, we are aware of the constraints that CPD can present, and as such, it’s vital that flexibility is at the heart of learning irrespective of the environment. One of the biggest advantages of e-learning with ICT is that it is learner-centric: you can study anywhere, at any time with the help of technology. What’s more, with face to face workshops not being offered in every jurisdiction, online learning allows students from around the world to study with ICT.
Affordability, price and financing
Online learning is thought to be cheaper, in many respects, but a quality education or training programme shouldn’t be thought of in terms of cost. While it’s true that in many cases, an online learning course will be more cost effective than that of a traditional brick and mortar school - while not always in terms of the course but in terms of the savings without having to travel - with more flexible payment options available to students; affordable learning is the pinnacle of why people want to opt for the distance learning route. Flexibility in learning as well as having a grasp on finances is an important concern for many students, which is why we offer a wide range of courses that have an online offering.
A supportive environment
Learning should be a supportive environment; it should never be done in total isolation. Teacher or tutor support is imperative so that the student doesn’t feel disconnected when learning in a non-traditional setting. The rise of virtual classrooms can provide you with a like-for-like environment with tutors. Tutor and peer support is important, and with the growth of social media groups and virtual classrooms, much like what is offered here at ICT, there is no reason why online learning cannot be as supportive and engaging as the classroom.
What place does online learning have in education?
Online learning, while not a new concept by any means, is certainly becoming popular for many students. This is due to a range of factors, with affordability, accessibility and flexibility being the main reasons why people go down this route. In an increasingly digital and online world, online learning offers an alternative, not a replacement, to the traditional brick and mortar way of learning. What’s more, the sheer volume of choice, especially those looking for niche courses that are role-specific, can be found in the online learning sphere. Online education will continue to rise and be a popular choice for many as it suits the needs of a different learning style, as well as complementing the ‘always-on’ nature of the digital world.
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