5 Benefits of Studying Online (vs. Face-to-Face Classroom)

by Tania Heap Tania Heap | Jun 05, 2017

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“Shall I take my next course online or shall I stick with my face-to-face classes?”

If you are reading this post, it is possible that you are toying with the idea of signing up for an online course, but perhaps you don’t have a lot of experience studying online, if at all.

If you have taken face-to-face classes all your life, being a little apprehensive at the beginning is normal, even if you are tech-savvy. However, taking an online course, as opposed to a face-to-face class, definitely has its perks. Here are five advantages to studying online.

  1. Career advancement and hobbies

    Studying online gives you more flexibility. You can work and fit your work schedule (and your hobbies) around your coursework more easily; even more so if you are taking an asynchronous class: an online class where you don’t have to log in at a specific time for a live session but you can study and interact with your instructor and your fellow classmates at your own pace through, for example, the discussion forum.

    In a survey conducted by The Learning House, 44% of online students reported improvements in their employment standing, for example by obtaining a full-time job within 12 months of graduation, and 45% reported a salary increase.

    By the time you finish your online course, you will have gained more work experience and learned new skills that will help you advance in your career!

  2. Flexible schedule and environment

    By studying online, you choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs: be it your bedroom, your study, the café across the street, or your local gym, listening to your instructor’s lecture podcast as you run on the treadmill. Isn’t that awesome?

    Taking an online course also means that you don’t have to commute to class, which means less time spent on the bus and more study time sitting on your couch, the sound of a crackling fireplace in the background. You no longer have to worry about driving in the snowstorm and missing an important class!

  3. Lower costs and debts

    Studying online means that you pay the tuition fee, possibly book supplies, an online application fee, and few other items. You don’t, however, incur the costs of housing (which can range from $10,000 to $12,000 per year) and transportation, which translates to lower debts and more savings.

  4. Self-discipline and responsibility

    Who says that having to be more self-disciplined is a disadvantage? It is true that studying online requires more self-motivation and time-management skills, because you will spend a lot of time on your own without someone physically close to keep you focused on deadlines. Look at it this way: your online course will not only teach you geology or poetry, it will also help you become more self-motivated, a trait that will make you stand out in the workplace and beyond. It will look great on your résumé.

  5. More choice of course topics
    Let’s face it, when thinking about what to study, besides for interest and career opportunities, where to study is also a deciding factor. This may limit the choice of subjects or courses to take. Studying online at your own convenience allows you to no longer worry about class location when choosing what to learn next. By taking an online course, you can really focus on the subject you are interested in and choose from the variety of online courses and programs.

I only listed five benefits to learning online but, having been an online student myself, I know there are many more. Can you think of other advantages or reasons why you prefer to take your next course online? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

Further Readings

  • Aslanian, C. B., & Clinefelter, D. L. (2013) Online College Students 2013: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
  • CollegeData (2016) What's the Price Tag for a College Education? CollegeData: Your Online College Advisor [online]. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/fxQlF
  • MNSU (2011) Skills Requirements | Online Student Requirements. Minnesota State University, Mankato [online]. Retrieved from:  https://goo.gl/SDhgnW
  • Norman, S. (2016) 5 Advantages of Online Learning: Education Without Leaving Home. eLearning Industry [online]. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/jzzyUV
  • OEDb (2012) 10 Advantages to Taking Online Classes. Open Education Database [online]. Retrieved from: https://goo.gl/aRZTRF

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