You’ve seen the ads, been bombarded with emails,maybe even heard about other people taking them. But should you take an online course? Consider these advantages and disadvantages of learning online.
Pros and cons of online learning
Interact faster with people around the world
Many online learning or e-learning courses allow you to learn from professors and instructors from around the world. Although many schools have students from around the country, when you take an online course, you can reach these people faster. Take advantage of these opportunities.
Become a computer and technology whiz
Employers are always looking for employees with strong computer skills. Learning online how to interact with others and process information on screen are valuable technology skills that can help build your professional résumé.
Have a flexible schedule
With online courses, you can often schedule your class work at any time, and take the courses in the comfort of your own home. There are few other opportunities in which you can show up in your underwear, and watch a professor discuss physics or contemporary politics.
Choosing a college
It can be hard to know whether one school is better than another for online learning. Search online for student reviews and to confirm the school’s accreditation. Be sure to see whether the “reviews” are merely advertisements or are from actual students.
Can encourage slacking off
With flexibility comes the added responsibility of self-scheduling much of your coursework. You must be prepared to be independent and adhere to a daily or weekly schedule, whichever the online course demands. If you slack off or waste time, there won’t be someone to call your name in class and demand that you recite your homework to your peers.
Missing social interactions
Although you can “meet” other students online, there’s no replacement for meeting people in person. Online courses may tempt you to stay home, connected—but don’t. Keep your usual social activities away from the computer, and make sure to spend time outdoors and away from the computer.
Learning online is a great fit for some students, but not for others. Consider the pros and cons of online learning before you enroll.