Online education: eight reasons why it’s the way forward

@IE University

How online classes can offer an enhanced learning experience

Online teaching makes use of digital tools and software to allow teachers and students to connect remotely, continuing the classroom experience in a virtual space. Using recorded lectures, discussion forums, and other tech solutions, you are now able to gain degrees and qualifications all at your own comfort and convenience.

The popularity of online learning is growing rapidly. Nearly three million students are currently enrolled in online programs and six million are taking at least one online course as part of their degree.

There are many advantages to taking online classes, from added ease and flexibility to greater engagement with teachers.

1. You can study whenever you want

Online teaching means you can study at any time of day and according to the schedule that works best for you. Access to class materials is available 24/7.

Some people are early birds—others are night owls. Research is also emerging that shows we all have naturally different sleep patterns and different people work best at different times of day.

Online classes allow you to study at the time when you feel most productive. A more flexible learning environment permits people to adapt their studies to their particular lifestyle or body clock.

2. You can study from anywhere in the world

With online teaching, you can study from anywhere, as long as you have internet access. You no longer have to factor in commuting to campus and the associated costs. Similarly, if weather conditions or other issues disrupt your ability to travel, you still have access to lessons.

This also means students are likely to come into contact with people from a wide variety of backgrounds through their online classes, which enriches the learning process. You can collaborate and network with people with diverse life experiences from all over the globe.

At IE University our mission is to empower bright minds around the world. Through our online classes, we are able to educate students no matter where they find themselves. This is especially important given that 75% of our students are from abroad. 

3. A comfortable environment for learning

Online classes are great if you find a classroom full of students intimidating. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up in front of lots of people. Instead, you can contribute to discussions on a forum, which is far less daunting.

In an online setting, it’s also easier to engage one-on-one with your teacher, who can give you the attention lacking in a large class. Indeed, according to a recent survey, 90% of online instructors reported that teaching online helps them to stay more connected with students and gain a better understanding of their capabilities.

4. Earn money at the same time

Perhaps you are considering taking on a part-time job to help finance your studies? Many students take online courses while still working in other jobs.

Or perhaps you are currently working in a position that you no longer enjoy and fancy a change of career. Online education offers you the opportunity to begin training for another job and to fit your studies around your existing schedule, creating a safety net of continued income.

5. Learn with new technologies

Studying online means access to a whole range of digital tools like video calls, animations, storyboarding, and social media—as well as games. Teachers are able to be more creative in their lessons and the result is a more compelling learning experience for students. 

Plus, working with computers in this way, you will develop your technical skills, learning to navigate various different systems and programs. These skills are transferable to many other disciplines and will likely be useful in your career at a later date.

6. Broaden your horizons

Maybe you already went to university and have embarked on a career. But since then, technology has developed and advanced, and you’re beginning to realize the imperative to have an understanding of the digital landscape. Why not sign up for a course on digital innovation?

Or maybe you own a business and want to boost your understanding of how to run a successful company. Have you considered a degree in Business Administration and Data Analytics

Online teaching allows people to keep learning throughout their lives. It revolutionizes the concept of contemporary education, empowering people to keep expanding their minds and their understanding of the world as they get older.

Plus, in today’s rapidly changing world, upskilling is increasingly necessary to keep up with changing demands and roles—especially given the boom in automation and AI. Diversifying your skills by gaining new qualifications online is a great way to keep ahead in the job market.

7. Work at your own pace

Online classes often allow a greater degree of flexibility for students. You can adapt deadlines and schedules to meet your particular needs. This means you can fit studying around other things in your life, and if something unexpected comes up, you can push back a deadline or come to an agreement with your supervisor.

Many online university courses are even self-paced so you can start completing targets at the time that is best for you. This is ideal for those who are involved in seasonal work or have children who have school holidays. It’s also beneficial if you suddenly face a personal crisis of some kind, like a bereavement, for example, and have to postpone studying.

8. Questions of cost

Online learning is frequently cheaper for students. You don’t have to invest in classroom materials, as much of it is available online. Similarly, you don’t have to factor in travel costs, which can often be prohibitive. Finally, you can live somewhere suited to your particular budget, rather than having to move close to campus.

At IE University, our classes are traditionally held face-to-face in a classroom. However, we also offer the opportunity for students to study online. We understand the importance of flexibility. Things occur that we couldn’t have foreseen, circumstances change, and so the ability to keep learning during any disruption is paramount.