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

by Tania Heap | Jun 05, 2017


“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 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.
    According to U.S. News & World Report, online education is more practical because you can relate what you learn to the job you do every day and improve your job performance. You will also find other working adults who you can network with and discuss recent experiences.
  2. Flexible schedule and environment
    By studying online, you choose the learning environment that works best for your needs: be it your bedroom, your home office, 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 a 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 a few other items. You don’t, however, have to worry about the cost of housing. The average cost of room and board at a 4-year public university averages around $11,557 and at a 4-year private university, it averages around $12,857. Off campus options are usually cheaper, averaging around $1,300 per month, but by studying online, you won’t have to worry about moving. On top of that, the cost of transportation (gas and car maintenance), won’t be a concern since there will be no commute.
  4. Self-discipline and responsibility
    Who says that having to be more self-disciplined is a disadvantage? Studying online may require more attentiveness and time management skills because you will spend a lot of time on your own without someone physically close to remind you of 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!

(NOTE: This post was updated by Selena Adetunji, CITL Marketing Intern, on January 18, 2024.)

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