“Originally published at blog.ed2go.com on 17th August 2018 .”
If you’re ready to take the next step in your career and acquire a new skill set, online self-paced courses might be your best option. It’s worth noting that there are some stigmas about online learning, especially when it comes to the self-paced method. While it might seem like this learning method is more difficult, that’s not the case!
In fact, there are real advantages to upskilling in a self-paced learning environment:
Learning is great, but what happens when it’s not convenient?
Getting to a campus college can be a hassle, but with readily-accessible, mobile-friendly classes, you can learn literally anywhere. Online learning offers more opportunities to take classes because you aren’t confined to brick-and-mortar classroom. And if you have difficulty focusing around other people or worry about having to interact with other students, online learning might the convenient option you need to pick up a new skill.
Wouldn’t it be great to have ability to learn anywhere and at any time? If you balance work and a busy personal life, self-paced learning doesn’t create the added stress that attending a scheduled class discussion might. Online courses travel with you, so you can learn wherever you have access to the internet. Whether you’re at home, traveling for business, or even at the local coffee shop, you’re in control of your learning environment when you’re ready to pursue a new topic.
Regardless of why you’re learning a new subject, it’s a personal pursuit. When learning online, it’s crucial that you pursue a topic that is relevant and interesting to you. Self-paced learning environments are designed to be convenient, but they still require self-motivation. In taking control of your learning, you put the focus on what is important to you based on your goals and the areas where you need it most.
Taking an online course requires self-discipline and time management. Some students might be turned off due to the lack of deadlines, peer interaction, and instructor moderation that one might find in a more traditional classroom environment. But oftentimes, it’s the lack of these features that drive the added effort.
When the only reason for completing an online course is your own determination, the value of learning becomes that greater. This type of real-world initiative can translate not only into the job search process, but will follow you well into your career. Your self-paced course will teach you that new skill you’re looking for, and you will practice self-discipline! By and large, this is one of the top soft skills that employers look for in their new hires.
Paying for Internet access might be considered expensive, but compare that cost to the price of gas, parking, and other fees associated with taking a class on campus. Or, if you’re a parent, imagine having to pay for childcare throughout a semester. What about missing work or rearranging your schedule to take a class? This might be out of the question altogether.
Online learning tends to be more cost effective than taking traditional on-campus classes. For one, you are not incurring the costs of paying instructors each time you want to take a course. Generally, continuing education courses focus on a specific skill set. When you’re upskilling for a new job or career advancement, being able to zero in on the class you need cuts down on cost.
Self-paced courses allow learners to allocate time based on the perceived difficulty of a new topic. Depending on how comfortable you feel about a new subject, you can devote as much or as little time as you need to truly master it.
Studies show that some people better retain information when they control their learning environment. The flexibility of self-paced learning allows you to work through material as you see fit. You can take more time on certain subjects and spend less time on others.
When you have access to all the course materials at once, you can review repeatedly – at any time of the day. This could mean working through a lesson at night and refreshing the next morning. Because you have access to online course materials, you can review concepts that you’re stuck on without falling behind.
The previously-discussed flexibility means students can continuing working at their job while pursuing new skill sets. But being able to work and learn simultaneously has even more benefits. When you’re learning at your own pace, you have greater control of how and when you use your newfound skills. If you’re prepping for a big career move, mapping out the skills you need is ideal. There’s no stop-gap between learning and utilizing your new skill sets when you need them the most.