If you’re considering pursuing your degree, you have options beyond traditional classroom learning. Online learning is increasingly popular, helping busy adults pursue their degrees and upskill in their industries while balancing the responsibilities of day-to-day life.
There are plenty of additional advantages of online courses. Find out more about what you can expect to gain from taking online classes for credit to see if this pursuit is right for you.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Online Courses?
1. Flexible Learning
Online courses are often asynchronous, giving you flexibility in when, where, and how you pursue your studies. Some online learning institutions offer self-paced learning to tailor the education experience to your needs. You can move quickly through the course to complete it quickly, or take a break when life gets too busy for your studies. When you’re ready, you can pick up where you left off.
2. Time Savings
In addition to flexibility with how much time you spend on your studies, one of the benefits of online courses is that you can save time in the process. Because you’re learning from the comfort of your own home, you don’t have to spend time on long commutes in busy traffic, rearrange your schedule to attend classes at a certain time, or waste valuable minutes waiting for your class to start.
3. Cost Savings
Though it may not always be the case, online learning can come with some cost savings. You won’t have to pay extra fees for parking or for gas to get to your classes like you would at a traditional college or university. In some instances, your textbooks may be available in digital formats, which are often cheaper than physical textbooks.
4. More Free Time
Whether you learn in person or online, you have to devote time to your coursework. But if you’re taking classes online, you don’t have to stick to a schedule of classes at specific – and often inconvenient – times. You can also tackle multiple courses without worrying about schedule conflicts you might run into with in-person classes.
5. More Course Variety
There’s a wealth of courses available across different colleges and universities, but often, online courses offer more variety than traditional options. You can enroll in the courses you want to take without worrying about scheduling or convenience. There are many different degree programs and courses of study with online learning, including certificates, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees.
6. Minimal Life Disruption
If you have to choose between working to pay your bills and attending school to further your career, it’s possible for school to be on hold indefinitely. Traditional classrooms have scheduled times, making it difficult to stick to a work schedule while working toward your degree. Virtual learning gives you the flexibility to continue working while pursuing your degree and advancing your career.
7. Improved Time Management Skills
When you take online classes for college credit, you have to be good at managing your time and maintaining your focus. Without a professor to check up on you and make sure you’re on track, you need to hold yourself accountable and manage your time wisely. In doing so, you could gain valuable time management skills that will help you in virtually any career you pursue.
8. Personalized Learning Experience
If you feel that a traditional learning environment is too restrictive for you, online classes may be just the experience you need. Online students have opportunities to participate in online discussions or forums in a way that may be less intimidating than participating in a live, crowded classroom. You also have the option to work where you’re most comfortable and engage with your coursework at the times of day that are best for you.
9. More Individual Attention
Sooner or later, every student encounters a concept or assignment that may be challenging. And some people don’t feel comfortable or secure enough to ask questions in front of the class, whether it’s because of anxiety or shyness. With online learning, you have direct access to your professor for questions, feedback, or clarity on your coursework.
10. Diverse Student Experiences
Any college experience exposes you to people with different backgrounds and from other areas, but in a large university, you may not have an opportunity to get to know them well. Online courses facilitate interactions with other students through forums, discussion boards, and chat rooms, so you get the type of interaction with your peers that may not be practical in an on-campus environment.
11. More Professional Skills
Aside from the skills you gain that are directly related to your career, you could gain indispensable skills that might apply to your workplace. With more hybrid and remote work opportunities becoming available, the skills you might gain from learning online could transfer to a remote workplace, such as engaging with others remotely, collaborating with a team online, and improving written communication.
12. More Independence
If you’re an independent learner, the freedom of online learning could be the key to your success. While some students thrive with frequent check-ins from a professor, many thrive with the freedom to manage their time and complete their work as they please. If that fits you, online courses are a great option.
13. Better Learning Experiences
Online courses encourage independent learning more than traditional classrooms. While you will have guidance from a professor, you’re responsible for finding your own path to learning and staying disciplined. Your professors are there to help if you get stuck, but beyond that, you can learn a lot about your own learning style and how you can best comprehend and retain the information in your course. As you navigate the experience, you could gain useful insights that you can use to enhance your learning in the future, whether in a class, at work, or in life.
Is Online Learning Right for You?
If the benefits of online classes seem like the right fit for you, there’s no better time to start than right now. Sophia Learning offers a range of self-paced courses focusing on general education, so you can take online classes for credit toward your degree. Start a free trial at Sophia.org, or reach out to our learning coaches to see if Sophia is right for you!