The benefits of online learning

There are many benefits of online learning. Students can study at leading institutions without needing to move across the country. Learning online also allows students to better balance personal, professional and educational responsibilities through a more flexible schedule. And, in terms of job prospects, businesses view online college degrees as equal to those earned in person.

The advantages of online courses make them an appealing option for higher education. This closer look at the benefits of an online learning environment will help you understand why an online modality can be so valuable.

What are the benefits of online learning?

We’ve already touched on benefits like convenience, flexibility and equal footing with degrees earned in person. But how does an online program support learning outcomes?

Online classes give students more learning pathways. Modern technology has turned digital classrooms into much more than recorded lectures. More educational support can come from processes like gamification and interactive video. Students have more opportunities to align coursework with their learning style.

Developments in educational technology will only increase the options available in online learning. In the future, course materials may be provided through virtual or augmented reality. This can create a richer, more immersive learning experience.

Students in online courses can connect with instructors and classmates through several avenues. Email, discussion boards, social media and other options can help build a community. Students in an online program can also form connections that extend past the end of the semester. That’s true even if they live in different parts of the country.

Many of the benefits of online learning ultimately come from four sources:

  • The instructors.
  • The curriculum.
  • The technology used to digitally deliver education.
  • The willingness of the institution to innovate.

Online college education can vary from one school to the next. Students need to focus on universities that recognize the importance of these factors. Doing so can set the stage for an enriching experience as an online student.

ASU Online student studying in a cafe.

Are online degrees worth it?

Many students pursue higher education to improve their career prospects. Yet, many wonder if an online college education is as valuable as a traditional one. Are employers open to hiring graduates with online degrees?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Many myths about online education are now understood to be exactly that. Still, students need to consider school quality before selecting an online program. Companies will continue to consider key factors when hiring, such as the rigor of the curriculum and the institution’s reputation.

U.S. News & World Report highlighted questions employers may ask online graduates. Accreditation is a potential point of discussion. Students who earn an online college degree from an accredited school don’t need to worry. Coursework offered in reputable and accredited online programs matches the rigor of an in-person program. At Arizona State University, world-class professors offer classes to students on campus and studying online.

Online graduates may also be asked about their experience collaborating with fellow learners. Teamwork is valuable across the modern economy. This is one aspect of education that can differ greatly between institutions. Prospective students must consider programs that offer chances to collaborate and build connections.

Is online learning as effective as face-to-face learning?

Comparing traditional classrooms to online venues is complicated, with many different factors at play. Depending on a student’s learning style and needs, one option may be more effective than the other. With that in mind, there are clear indications of how students value online education.

A 2018 survey conducted by education business Learning House and Aslanian Market Research found broad learner support for online courses. Two key findings stood out:

  1. 85% of students and recent graduates who have experienced online learning feel it is equal to or better than in-person education.
  2. 86% of students and recent graduates believe an online degree is worth as much or more than the amount paid for it.

A large majority believe in the benefits of online learning. This isn’t the only metric to consider when measuring the value of online learning. However, it’s one of the most important. Online education is a powerful choice for students who place a high value on flexibility.

How do I stay in touch with classmates and teachers while learning online?

Discussions and collaborative work are highly beneficial in education and often a part of your classes while earning a degree online. Teachers and faculty often communicate with students directly via video chat, written communications and even phone calls. Just like in the physical space, while earning a degree online, students can take advantage of office hours with their teachers and faculty.

Students also make deep and meaningful connections while learning together online. It’s not uncommon for students to coordinate group study sessions online and even in person sometimes. Friendships, student collaboration and support is still a part of earning a degree when you learn online.

What do official sources say about online learning?

Earning a degree online is still sometimes met with questions from employers according to U.S. News & World Report. While employers may sometimes wonder why applicants chose to earn their degree online, the quality and credibility of the skills earned in an online program are rarely questioned. In fact, online students are often seen as good employees to manage time and projects, as they were likely to have gained those skills while earning a degree online.

Companies like the Digital Marketing Institute have come to embrace online learning as a way to upskill their employers. The association highlighted the value of online courses in areas such as continuing education, cost and training staff.

ASU Online: Leaders in online education

Attaining the full set of benefits from online education often depends on the school behind the program. ASU Online has the faculty, resources and curriculum to take full advantage of digital learning. Students earn degrees identical to those granted on campus from an accredited institution. A widespread emphasis on technology and innovation across the school means learners enjoy a cutting-edge, future-focused learning environment.

ASU Online offers more than 200 degree options online. They include communication, education and learning design and many others. View our full list of online offerings to find the program that’s right for you.

Sources:

ASU Online — The Advantages of Online Learning

ASU Online — More Myths About Online Education, Debunked

The Value and Benefits of Online Learning to Educators by Digital Marketing Institute

Online College Students 2018 (survey) by Learning House

The Top 7 eLearning Benefits For Busy Adult Learners by eLearning Industry

4 Questions Employers Ask About Job Applicants With Online Degrees by U.S. News & World Report

Survey: Most Students Say Online Learning Is as Good or Better Than Face-to-Face by Campus Technology

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