It’s no understatement to say that the New Zealand lifestyle has drastically shifted in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and education is no different. In fact, as a direct consequence of New Zealand schools, universities and colleges adhering to lockdown measures and closing their premises to students and staff, online education platforms and apps have experienced an incredible surge in demand and usage.
But with this increased need for distance learning solutions, a number of questions have arisen regarding the advantages of students transitioning to online study.
Perhaps you’ve even asked a couple of these questions yourself:
- What, exactly, is the benefit of online learning?
- In what ways can it help you to continue developing your skills and knowledge, even if you’re studying from home?
- What potential impact will acquiring an online education have on your future career pathways?
Today, we are going to explore the many benefits of completing an online course, so you can make the best of your time during lockdown and beyond.
One primary benefit of online learning, not only during lockdown but at any time, is the ability to choose the environment in which you complete your studies.
Every individual has a preferred learning style and sitting in a seminar room or lecture hall isn’t always the best fit for every student. However, by having the ability to choose your study environment, you can ensure you are comfortable, settled and focused.
There’s nothing to stop you from studying in your pyjamas, diving into some tutoring after a home workout session, or slotting in your online studies between other personal commitments. Better yet, there’s no time wasted commuting to your educational space.
You not only have the ability to choose your environment with online learning, but you can also choose what time of the day you dive into your course, in addition to the pace at which you complete each module.
As we indicated above, you can easily slot your studies in between your chores or dip into it during your downtime. You have complete autonomy over when you choose to complete your studies, and if for whatever reason something crops up which means you have to delay your study session for that day – you won’t miss out on any crucial information, unlike a course that you’re required to attend in-person.
Self-discipline and structure
Whilst online education does indeed lend itself to greater lifestyle flexibility, it also encourages students to develop their self-discipline. No one is going to force you to complete any assignments if you don’t wish to; the power is completely in your hands as to how much time and energy you wish to dedicate to completing your studies.
Additionally, remote learning can likewise help establish a structure to your day. Many of us perform best or are at our most productive when we have a clear set of tasks to complete or obligations to fulfil. And having the purpose of tackling another module or finishing off an assignment can be a great source of motivation.
Even with lockdown measures in New Zealand set to slowly ease in the near future, having something to structure your day can be invaluable in giving you both purpose and direction during this time.
Whilst undertaking an online course and gaining a certificate in your chosen course has the obvious benefit of demonstrating your commitment to furthering your education, it also enables you to develop numerous skills – beyond that of mastering the course material itself.
In this medium of study, you will indeed be able to gain a number of transferable skills. Skills which can help you to take those pivotal first steps when entering a new or competitive job market.
For example, studies have shown that online learning can improve a student’s retention rate and the speed at which they learn information. Typically, on average students are said to retain 8-10% of material in a classroom setting, in comparison to 25-60% from learning online. Corresponding studies likewise indicate that e-learning takes 40-60% less time to learn, in comparison to traditional classroom environments.
This is due to a combination of factors which we’ve already touched upon, such as reduced commuting time, the ability to choose the learning environment, in addition to students having the ability to fast-track through modules as they please.
Yet what is important to note is that your ability to adapt, absorb and process information in what could be an unfamiliar format – if you have never experienced online learning before – is an incredibly useful skill for almost any job or professional role.
Learning online can also support students to develop their critical thinking, adaptability and remote communication skills, precisely because you will be interacting with your tutors predominantly through email and phone.
The capacity to interrogate any course materials and articulate any questions you have clearly and concisely, in order to support your own understanding of the course content, will again be pivotal in any professional role you go on to establish in your chosen field. This ability to question and clarify will aid how effective and efficient you are in nearly any position.
One of the most important benefits online study offers all students is the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into expert topics, or master industry-specific skills.
For example, our certificate in dog grooming course includes a dog grooming kit filled with top-tier equipment, with training developed in partnership with the professionals at igroomHub. Whilst our industry-leading photography course payment plans include a DSLR camera and the material itself – the workbooks, video tutorials and exercises – have been refined by expert photographers over 15 years.
The majority of online courses provide either an entry point into understanding the complexities of an industry, or help students to develop their basic knowledge to a specialist level.
Although some roles may require additional practical training further down the line, online courses can nevertheless still help a student to demonstrate a true passion for their industry to potential employers. They also help to highlight a student’s resourcefulness, in undertaking additional studies to strengthen their proficiency.
Particularly during the uncertainty of lockdown, investing your time and effort in completing online studies will never be detrimental. In fact, it can be the very action which helps you to gain an advantage over any other candidates, when interviewing for future job roles.
Finally, affordability is another undeniable benefit of online courses. With professional and expert course materials available at a fraction of the cost, especially in comparison to other educational institutions such as universities, this means many more students are able to access a wealth of information and training which may otherwise have been beyond their budgets.
All the education you require to successfully complete a course is included within the modules, meaning there are also no unexpected expenses in the form of additional textbooks or resources.
Moreover, interest-free payment plans enable students to feel confident in signing up for their chosen course, as although an upfront payment may not be possible at that point in time, staggering the costs supports students to dive into the education without the worry of ‘being able to afford’ it.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on regional and global economies and will continue to do so for some time, which makes identifying opportunities to reduce unnecessary expenses that much more important for all individuals.
These are just a handful of the most prominent benefits online learning can offer to you, not only during lockdown but in many years to come.
It’s possible that you may have only ever been tutored in a school or university setting, and online education may be a completely new prospect to you, a prospect which has really only become prominent in response to the cultural shifts caused by COVID-19. Yet it is by exploring alternative online learning platforms that you will be able to best experience these many benefits for yourself, and realise exactly what opportunities online courses can offer to you too.
The landscape of education is changing, with online learning gaining immense popularity and for good reason too. Now that you can understand how completing an online certificate could be an advantage to you, make sure to check out our courses here.
Just think, you may discover your dream subject today.