After an entire adolescence spent in the classroom and at least a few years devoted to higher education, many people are eager to see an end to their academic experience and enter the “real world” as working professionals. Yet, even as they begin walking their career path, an ambitious professional must consider heading back to school. Formal learning in academic spaces offers many benefits that experience lacks, and credentials bestowed by education can help bring distant career goals into clearer view.
Unfortunately, few professionals can manage in-person learning while functioning as a full-time employee (let alone a high-powered executive). Fortunately, the digital age has provided a digital solution: online education.
What is Online Education?
A form of distance learning, in which students do not need to travel to a shared physical classroom to watch lectures and participate in coursework, online education allows students to log into learning over the internet. Almost all accredited universities offer online courses to full- and part-time students, and there are some institutions that operate solely online. Typically, online education is asynchronous, meaning that lectures are pre-recorded so students can find space in their schedules to participate in class rather than meeting at set times during the day or week.
Though different schools, courses and professors will structure their online courses differently, professionals can expect their course to involve activities like classroom discussion, projects, readings and exams. Online education can vary in length, from courses that can be completed in a day to short courses that take place over a few weeks to months-long intensives. Finally, the cost of eLearning can vary as well, from free to tuition comparable to an in-person university course.
Benefits of eLearning
Working professionals have much to benefit by engaging with education, and enrolling in online courses provides these unique advantages:
Flexibility. The asynchronous nature of most online education options allows professionals more freedom in when and how they learn. This means a professional can prioritize their work and family and still make time — at night or on weekends — for their education.
Affordability. Though the highest quality online courses tend to have some tuition costs associated with them, overall eLearning is much more affordable than traditional school. Students avoid costs associated with commuting to the classroom, like gas, tolls and parking fees, and they also tend to skip the costs of course materials like textbooks.
Accessibility. Online education gives professionals access to the world’s best education opportunities. With traditional education, students have little choice but to learn from the professors available in their immediate area, but thanks to the magic of the internet, the world’s leading experts in various business fields are suddenly available to lend advanced insights regardless of a student’s physical location.
How to Use Online Ed Platforms
Professionals have plenty of options when it comes to online education, and they can use the following tips for finding the best courses for improving their career prospects:
Explore multiple platforms for appropriate courses. Different eLearning platforms will have different courses available, and different platforms also have different advantages and disadvantages for students. Before enrolling in a course, professionals should pay attention to how the platform functions, who is teaching a platform’s classes, relevant costs, the availability of certifications and more. Professionals can keep information on potential platforms and courses in a spreadsheet to stay organized.
Read student reviews. Student course reviews will contain valuable insight into how courses are structured, how the platform functions, how the professor teaches and so on. It is important to read reviews posted on other education review websites to ensure that a complete and accurate picture of the course is being provided.
Contact customer service or course faculty. Professionals with further questions not addressed by information available on the education platform or within student reviews should not hesitate to reach out. Customer service representatives for the online learning platform can answer questions about the technical aspects of the course, and the faculty can address concerns related to course topics and materials.
Education gives professionals a fast track to the skills and knowledge they need to advance their careers. With online learning, professionals can find a balance between work and school, so they can reach the career success of their dreams.