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The Rise of Online Learning

September 27, 2018
Zoe Brun

In today’s increasingly digital world, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to make life more convenient. Access to the internet has had an impact on so many aspects of daily life, from e-commerce to digital marketing, business and now education. The traditional system of studying in a classroom with textbooks has started to diminish in favour of a more accessible, online alternative. These alternatives are wide ranging from online English lessons to learning physical techniques like cooking and mechanics. What has led to this rise in students choosing to carry out their studies online?

Online studies are often more affordable

One of the major factors contributing to a switch from traditional learning to online education is the financial implications. With recessions hitting the majority of people, the cost associated with education is overwhelming yet the demand for ways to learn and expand our knowledge hasn’t declined. This has led to a new online landscape for students to save costs on cheaper programs but still study the same materials they would have learned if they’d enrolled on a traditional class. Even better, some courses are completely free of charge, so you can gain new skills for nothing at all.

An accessible way of learning

The beauty of the internet is that through smartphones and tablets, it can be accessed anywhere, anytime. For students trying to fit studying in around their busy schedule, this makes learning much easier and more practical. Programs such as Perfectly Spoken include structure courses which are accessible via any internet-connected device, so students can learn as often as they need or want to which makes progress much faster.

In the UK, the popularity of online education came as a result of the tradition for distance learning programmes which started back in 2000. From there, the interest in more flexible approaches to studying has gone from strength to strength. This is ideal for career professionals and people with children who are short on time but still want to be able to build their skills.

Students are still connected

While distance and online learning may seem like the lonelier approach, the reality is that students are just as connected and can still take part in collaborative studies. The peer-to-peer interaction that students can benefit from is really valuable on online programmes and having the connection, digital or otherwise, to professionals in the industry and other students can make studying a really fulfilling experience. There is a huge range of conferencing tools from Skype and Zoom to systems built by the providers themselves like the Open University use.

It provides career-boosting skills

An incentive for so many students wanting to enhance their CVs with new qualification is the desire to embark on a new career or to move up the ladder with a promotion. An online qualification doesn’t just give individuals advanced skills and knowledge, but it also helps to provide a more global outlook and the chance to network effectively with others in their industry. It also shows potential employers that they have excellent time management skills to be able to proactively set time aside to study independently.

More technological advances

Another factor that has contributed to the increase in popularity for digital learning is the rise in technological developments. Apps which offer lessons can now be a more efficient way of learning than an entire academic course learned the traditional way. This movement has shaped how we think about learning and knowledge, and it’s put a different spin on studying and the ways in which we can achieve that. As technology continues to grow and evolve, the demand for education will also increase as people try to keep up with the pace. What online learning provides is a quicker and more easily accessible way of doing this compared to waiting to join an in-person class.

A wide range of choices

If the college or course provider near to you doesn’t run the course you want, you have no option but to either pick something else or go without. But the great thing about online learning is that it opens up more possibilities for subjects and topics to choose from. You can study almost anything you want from anywhere in the world, from prestigious and renowned providers, whether it’s for work, to start a new career path or just for fun. Companies like Udemy have created huge lists of course of every kind for people to choose from and as a business model this is proving very successful. So whether you want to better understand how the brain works, develop accountancy skills for that promotion or learn a second language, online learning makes the whole process easier and more efficient.

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