5 Things You Need to Consider When Learning Online
The Internet has without a doubt revolutionised how we work, play and learn. And the latest facet has been the dissemination of knowledge, expertise, and education. Gone are the days when attending physical classes was compulsory for one to satisfy the core requirements of a given diploma, certificate or degree program. Online learning is the now widely spread. So it’s not surprising that many students – especially millennials – are drawn to this new mode of learning for its flexibility and convenience.
For part-time students, the advantages of online learning transcend the ease of engaging tutors or attending classes at your own volition. To these group of students, online learning represents the best way of killing two birds with a single stone. They can now make the best of the little time they can slice off their busy schedules without compromising their professional output.
Having said that, there are several things that a prospective student looking to enrol for e-learning ought to consider.
1. E-learning is not the Same as Self-Paced Learning
Most online degree students tend to work under the assumption that this alternative mode of learning is an independent studying arrangement where one can learn at their own pace. However, most – if not all – online learning programs have strict and definite deadlines set by the University which all enrolled students are expected adhere to. Failure to this, you risk losing some crucial credit points or even being ‘expelled’ from the program. Therefore, it is advisable for one to dedicate a few hours every day to the pursuit of their online degree just the same way they would do if they were to attend conventional classes.
Another common mistake that most e-learning students make is to try and delegate or ‘outsource’ some of their coursework to other people in the attempt to reduce their classroom workload. As much as you might pass the unit, you will not grasp the core concepts of the online degree program as required by the syllabus. The result is that this kind of insufficiency could end up catching up with you later in your professional practice.
2. Online Learning is Not Synchronous – Your Progress Depends on How Much Effort You Put to Master the Key Concepts
Unlike in your traditional brick and mortar classroom arrangement, the tutor/instructor administers unique interactions to each student. In other words, in an online course, your progress will be asynchronous to the rest of the class members. And since there is no allocation for face-to-face sessions with your tutor, you are supposed to make an effort to engage actively in discussion forums just to stay appraised with what/how other students are fairing or compare notes. Always have it at the back of your mind that the online tutor’s role is to instruct and evaluate every student’s progress uniquely.
On the other hand, it is your role to learn as much as you can and demonstrate this knowledge by participating in discussion boards as frequently as possible. For instance, you can post intuitive questions once-in-a-while for the members to deliberate on and attempt to offer insightful answers to some of the queries that are pinned by your fellow online coursemates.
3. Assignments and Tests are Submitted Online
Make sure that you have your best foot forward by having the latest version of the software program or apps required to submit the written/typed assignments and tests. Additionally, there are some universities which will require at least one live/skype interaction with the student before issuing them with an online degree. Therefore, having a quality laptop or computer paired with a strong internet connection is typically the first step of being a successful e-learning student.
Besides, it is recommended that you reach out immediately to your instructor should you anticipate any technical hitches that might prevent you from submitting your assignments and written tests on time. In fact, accord the program the same level of punctuality that you would accord a regular classroom environment.
That being said, nowadays even leading Universities have begun issuing online certifications stemming from pure e-learning modules. However, before you’re issued with such an online degree, you’ll be required to submit all the requisite tests, laboratory results, and assignments to the examination panel via an online portal.
4. Just Like in Traditional University Classes, Attendance & Participation is a Student’s Responsibility
Your ability to make a consistent follow up of your classes and the complementary learning activities in each section/module will determine your success in this unique learning arrangement. If anything a recent study shows that the most successful and progressive students are those that are easily capable of self-directed and self-motivated learning. These are individuals that are not only self-driven but also have a high degree of self-discipline to see through a challenging course with minimum or no supervision. But most importantly, it is critical to demonstrate active participation in all modules of your online course to improve your chances of being awarded a distinction grade.
5. E-learning Saves you More than Just Time
A quick analysis of the cost of higher education at any leading university will easily reveal to you that online degrees are offered at a fraction of the conventional costs that are usually pegged on evening classes and full-time courses. And this is mostly because online learning is majorly a self-directed mode of knowledge dissemination. As an e-learning student, you will be expected to research, study and submit your written tests and assignments with minimal supervision. In fact, the university offering the certification only incurs costs for the technical maintenance of the online portal, which justifies the less-than-average fees charged for these types of courses. In other words, if you are on a shoestring budget, then online learning is a good way of getting that certification without necessarily breaking the bank.
The Bottom Line
E-learning represents a very progressive, flexible and upward mode of learning. Now, it is possible to go back to school without necessarily having to put up with tedious evening classes or even quitting your job altogether. That being said, your success here greatly hinges on your level of self-discipline and pro-activeness.