All over the world, adults are choosing online learning over traditional classroom-based training. We’re all busy, and that means we need a certain amount of flexibility in the way we study and gain qualifications.
In this article, we’re going to discover all about online learning and the hidden benefits it provides.
What are online training courses for adults?
Online learning comes in many different forms. There are basic eLearning packages used in schools and workplaces, stretching through to full university degrees.
The whole idea of online training is to provide better access and flexibility for those wishing to further their careers, start a new career, or simply study in an area they’re passionate about.
You can find a huge range of online training courses for adults, including Microsoft Office skills, professional development such as leadership, change management, and project management, or personal development courses such as communication and conflict resolution.
For more involved training, you can study Certificate II, III, IV and Diplomas across a wide range of disciplines. You can even complete full university degrees.
The benefits of online learning for adults
There’s an almost endless list of benefits to online learning. The flexibility, improved access and ability to balance study, work and family life are all extremely appealing factors.
Many people feel that study has passed them by, or they’re too old to go and sit in a classroom to learn. While that’s never really true, it’s a fact that some people simply don’t feel comfortable in a traditional learning environment once they reach a certain age.
In addition, full-time study is a huge commitment both in time and money. When there are bills to pay, it’s not always an option to just quit your job and decide to study. That’s why online learning is so appealing to people around the world.
Let’s take a look at the hidden benefits of online learning for adults.
Explore a career change
Many people reach a certain point in their careers where it’s time for a change. Whether they’ve done all they can, climbed as far as they climb or they simply don’t enjoy it anymore.
There are a lot of reasons why someone may consider a career change later in life. With so much variety in the workforce today, it’s natural to feel that a new adventure is calling.
However, the problem often lies in acquiring the skills to be successful in a new career. It’s almost like starting over again, trying to get your first job when you have limited experience. Online training courses can help to bridge that gap between experience and employment.
If there is a particular career you’re interested in and don’t know where to start, consider online learning. With a qualification, you’re more appealing to potential employers, and not just because of the new skills you’ve developed.
Becoming qualified in a new field shows a dedication to that career, and for employers, that’s a lot more appealing than someone who simply wants to change jobs but hasn’t put the time and effort into making that move.
Study on your own time
The other huge benefit to online learning is the ability to study on your own time. With more flexible scheduling, you can pursue your new qualification when it’s convenient for you. A lot of online learning is self-paced, meaning you can get stuck into it when it works for you.
Depending on the type of study you undertake, there may be some online lectures or group activities that you need to attend, but often these are scheduled around the needs of all students.
Being able to study on your own time, of course, has another significant benefit. That’s being able to maintain an income while you study.
Combine work and study
By taking on the full-time study, you’re committing to a lot of hours across regular days of the week. This makes it nearly impossible to maintain full-time employment and study.
You’re expected to attend classes, lectures, and also dedicate time to revision, study or working on assignments. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for holding down another job.
This is one of the biggest barriers between adults and traditional face-to-face learning. Everybody has bills to pay, and it’s just not possible to sacrifice wages in favor of study.
With the flexible scheduling and self-paced nature of the online study, you can still maintain your employment and complete your study around that. If your employer is encouraging you to gain more qualifications, you may also be eligible for some study leave, which is helpful when trying to juggle work and learning.
Work towards career advancement
Many people love the industry they work in. They also love their current employer and don’t want to leave. However, at one time or another, most people want to progress further within their current workplace or industry.
While experience in an industry is great, it’s often not enough to take that next step. Often, you need qualifications to advance to a more senior position.
Online learning lets you gain the skills and qualifications necessary for advancement while maintaining your current position. Speak to your boss about the possibility of undertaking further study, because many employers actively encourage this.
Some may even assist financially or by providing study leave if they believe the new qualifications will make them more of an asset to the company.
More time for family and friends
If you’re trying to juggle face-to-face study, part-time work and a family, it’s extremely stressful. This is one of the reasons adults with families are hesitant to take on the study, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Online learning requires much less of your time, meaning you can still do all the other things you need to do in life. While learning and career advancement are important, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice having a social life or spending time with your family.
Online learning still has a cost. There are free online courses out there, but not the ones that will give you nationally recognized qualifications. However, the cost is usually a lot less than attending university or another training facility. The cost is lower for you because it doesn’t cost the training provider as much to deliver your courses.
However, it’s not just the fees that are cheaper. Think of all the other associated costs with attending full-time study at an institution. There’s the cost of commuting. Expensive textbooks. If you have children, you’ll find that your childcare costs increase. By studying online, you can avoid all of those expenses.
A more personalized learning experience
The traditional study has a very much of group focus. It has to be this way because classes need to be structured towards a wide cross-section of individuals. Unfortunately, the way that 80% of the class prefers to learn may not suit you personally.
With online study, you get a more tailored experience. Because a lot of the learning is self-paced, you can do the work your way. Obviously, there are plenty of guidelines to follow, but by studying online you don’t have to consider how everybody else in a class wants to learn. Plus, you usually get better and more frequent access to your instructors when studying online.
Better for the environment
If you’re an environmentally conscious type, think about the impact your face-to-face study has. Firstly, there is additional commuting. Whether you do that by car or public transport, it still has an impact. Then you’ve got the electricity being used to power your classroom. Not to mention the paper used to make textbooks and other handouts.
Online training providers keep resource materials online, which reduces the number of paper-based materials used in your course. Plus, you can study from home, which means using your car less. For a more sustainable education journey, the answer is definitely online study.