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The benefits of online learning

21 May 2014

Following on from last week’s post on the benefits of virtual learning, this week it’s time to discuss online learning. The two are very similar - both rely on technology, and both use the internet to facilitate learning.

Many of the advantages of online learning are similar to virtual learning. They both allow students to learn from anywhere, saving time and money. However, unlike virtual learning, online learning allows students to create their own schedule. This makes online learning ideal for students with a full time job or other commitments, or even for those who prefer to work at unusual hours. The flexibility of online learning also allows students to work at their own speed, as they’re not required to keep up with other students or an instructor. If one topic is proving difficult, the student is able to assign more time to it and less time to the areas they find easier.

In a classroom environment, or structured virtual learning environment, the style and speed of the learning rests in the hands of the instructor, however online learning is far more student-centric, not only allowing individuals to work at their own speed, but in their own style. With online learning, all the resources the internet has to offer are at students’ disposal, and students can choose which ones to use in whichever way is beneficial to them. For example, students who may not respond well to hand outs or written information can watch videos online or use interactive learning tools. Indeed, the level of independent learning - researching and seeking out resources independently - involved in online learning can often enable students to absorb information better, as they are interacting with the material.

However, of course this method of learning will not suit all students. Some may struggle to motivate themselves without an instructor to guide them through the work, especially for students that have to study late at night due to long working hours. Another problem some students may face is feeling isolated with a lack of support. While some work better alone, others may prefer to have others around them, especially if they are struggling. In a classroom environment, there are plenty of people to ask should a difficulty arise, however with online learning, it’s up to the student to figure it out themselves. While an instructor is always on hand via email, online messaging can often be unreliable and an unclear means of communication.

There are certain subjects which are taught better through online learning. Again, like virtual learning, IT related courses work well with this style of learning as it allows students to practise their skills as they go. However, there are also certain groups of people who are better suited to online courses. Global businesses with workers all over the world often prefer online learning due to the universality of the courses. It allows all learners to access the same material no matter where they are in the world, and to learn together despite being miles apart.

If you work for a large business or corporation and believe that your workers could benefit from an online course, contact Total Training Solutions today. You can view our full range of certifications through our course directory, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 612 1299 or through our enquiry page.

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