If you were to go back to the late 90’s/early 00’s and speak about online dating you would likely get one of two typical responses. The first, and less common, would be a comment about Tom and Meg’s popular love story, You’ve Got Mail. The second response would have centered around bad experiences, slimy men, and women that could have been men!
Needless to say, neither responses would recall a good memory. Sorry, Tom and Meg.
The reason for the example is to draw a similarity between online dating and online learning. While you can’t expect to find love while you are learning online, the activity carries with it the same feelings that are induced when thinking about online dating.
Why? Because of an outdated reputation and misconception about the act.
The biggest misconception is, by far, the range of subjects. While once limited to computer courses that teach children how to code or use rendering programs, online course offerings have grown into something much broader.
To name a few course subjects that would question your understanding would be makeup and interior design. If you don’t think there is big business in either of these two fields, then you haven’t seen the number of brides getting married around you or the range of interior design accessories available on the Groupon Coupons page for Design Within Reach.
Neither of these courses would usually be considered as available on online, however, they both are! As the internet grew in complexity and ability, so too did the online learning movement. For this reason, online courses can take advantage of technologies previously unavailable, including high definition cameras and high-speed internet and teleconferencing.
The bottom line is this – if you are interested in a subject or a hobby, there’s a good chance that you can study it online.
If you are sitting there considering the sheer possibilities of what you can learn, consider this – they can all be done in your own time. While you can’t expect to complete a course over the span of decades, you can complete them over the course of years. Not to mention that the study time is completely your choice, meaning a study timetable that you create based on your own availability.
While the broad course range puts online learning front and center, it’s the ability to work around any life schedule that really gives online learning its appeal. As adults, it’s hard to study at night or even at all without it impeding on your work. And heaven forbid that you find a school that will offer you weekend classes. Online learning work in the complete opposite way; you are given coursework and a final due date, and you decide when you study or read your text.
While the idea of learning any subject you want at any time you choose sinks in, consider this – online learning is not expensive.
One of the biggest barriers to adults undertaking further learning is cost. And reasonably so. A college of any type needs to own and maintain a structure, fill the structure with the tools required to teach students, ensure there is enough staff to work at the college and numerous other costs such as keeping the lights on. The costs of these services are built into college course fees.
After all, if you study at the college then you benefit from it actually being there. With online learning, the barriers are far fewer. For example, there is no building that needs to stay functional for your use, which means no cleaning, no electricity for the lights, and no ongoing maintenance.
For a learner like yourself, this translates into greatly reduced costs.
Let’s recap; you can study a broad range of courses, at your own pace and time, while not having to drain your bank account each month just to pay for it.
If ideas about what online learning is have been keeping you from furthering yourself and your career, it’s time to give online learning another try. You’ll be glad you did.