Throughout time, if you ever wanted to obtain a qualification or learn something new, you would have to do so through a course. You would have to physically attend the class and absorb the information first hand. However, thanks to the Internet, that isn’t necessarily the only option anymore.
A survey conducted by Global Shapers concluded that, among 25,000 young people, almost 78% percent told them they have taken an online course at one point. That being said, there must be something in store for learning online.
What is Online Learning?
The world of online education can be split into two parts. Learning for a course and a certain skill set or toward a profession.
The market for learning a skill set is huge. One of the most frequently recurring websites in this division is Lynda.com, having over 200,000 video tutorials of over 6,000 courses. The content is provided by individuals who have mastered such skills and are looking to make money (not always) by conducting these pre-recorded courses available to people who pay a monthly subscription for the website.
A screenshot from the content filter shows IT and Business to be the content of most of such courses. Both of these fall into the category of a skill set, as the courses there tend to be focused on very specific tasks. That is the idea behind this division; more specific courses on a less official level.
For professional programs, the Internet doesn’t have as much to offer, although there is still a lot of courses out there. People wanting to study nursing can now take a series of courses to learn everything they would teach you in nursing school. The same applies to teaching courses and IT diploma courses. The webpage alison.com awards certificates and diplomas to those who have completed their courses so when applying for a job with these programs the official paperwork provides the similar chances for online and traditional learning.
Is it worth it?
The idea behind learning online is the practicality of learning on your own time in your own workspace. The low cost or free courses appeal to individuals a lot more than costly courses on a fixed time plan. If you aren’t working toward a certificate or diploma, then you would be able to ‘’skip’’ classes that you know you won’t need.
On the other hand, learning online does require students to have a strong will power, as having the power to work on your own time can be catastrophic for overall productivity. For some having a pre-planned schedule may help them to keep them on track, more so than anything else. Furthermore, the presence of a teacher motivates students a lot more than a voice ever could. A teacher conducts the classes, but also makes sure that the students are working. Despite the effectiveness of your work, currently an online course isn’t as accredited as a genuine program.
In my opinion, I would much rather hire a nurse who has attended nursing school as I feel I cannot trust someone from that department with an online degree. However, IT enthusiasts with certificates they have gotten online isn’t uncommon. The world of Information Technology is full of people with online certificates.
Online Education is in its infancy. Getting a teachers degree through the Internet is already questionable for employers. In the future, we will probably find people to be more open to scholars who have acquired their skill set or profession through the internet, however, we aren’t there yet.
-By James Cartwright