Being a lifelong learner is a priority for many of us, but sometimes it is difficult to do because of the way traditional learning works. I remember driving to the University 3 times a week just to take one class. Not only did I spend an extra 3 hours a week driving there and back, but I also had to spend extra money on gas. It was a minor inconvenience in exchange for the knowledge I gained, but wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds?
I have taught foreign languages both in-person and online for the past several years. Personally, I prefer online learning – mostly because I hate to drive. But I have noticed hesitation from some students about online learning. This is probably because it is so new and unknown to them. Those that do try it never go back to meeting me at the library though! That’s because it really is just as good as being there in most cases. As a matter of fact, there are many online learning benefits that make it an attractive option for the majority of students. Here you will find out about the top 7 online learning benefits!
Top 7 Online Learning Benefits
With traditional learning, you are forced to take classes at a certain time on a certain day. Sure, there may be several days/times to choose from, but ultimately you rearrange the rest of your schedule for the class. With online learning, you can oftentimes schedule classes around your already established schedule!
2. Individual learning
Much of the online learning that I have found is one-on-one learning, meaning it is just you and the teacher. This is great because your lessons are tailored to you. You will go at your individual pace because the teacher doesn’t have to accomodate for students of different learning styles and who may learn more quickly or slowly than you.
In addition, some things take more effort to learn that others. Say you want to learn a new language. If you decide to learn French or German, you don’t have to worry about learning the alphabet characters, because they use the same one as we use in English. But say you want to learn Chinese, well you have to learn a whole new set of characters so that you can write it. Learning online can be a big help because you can learn at your own pace and get more individualized help with the parts that are harder for you.
3. More options
If you go the traditional learning route, you are limited to the schools that are near you or to teachers in your area. But one of the best online learning benefits is that you can go to any school or find a teacher anywhere in the world.
This is especially handy if you are learning another language and have made it to an advanced level. If you are studying Italian, you could find and choose a teacher in Italy! The knowledge and skills you can gain online are many!
4. Save time
If you learn online, you save all of that commute time that would have been wasted in the car or on the bus. You can schedule your other life activities until 5 minutes before your lesson since you only have to open your laptop to go to class. You will also save time getting dressed. Because lessons are done at the computer, no one knows if you took the time to put on pants or not!
5. Save money
Not only will you save money on things like gas for the commute and pants for class, but you will also save money on books! Many online courses use free online materials. For example, when teaching beginning and intermediate French students, I use a free online textbook put out by the University of Texas.There are numerous other free online resources to help you learn just about anything!
6. Learn anywhere
This is my favorite of all the online learning benefits! You can learn virtually anywhere. Feel like having a coffee at Tim Hortons? No problem, you can bring a laptop and do your lesson there. Only have 30 minutes for lunch? That’s okay, you can take a class in half and hour, and you will need only commute to a quiet space in your office building.
I can’t tell you how many students of mine scheduled their lessons during their lunch break! This seems to be a very popular and convenient thing, especially for today’s young professionals who don’t seem to get enough free time outside of work to pursue their personal interests.
7. Learn technology
While not knowing much about technology can be a challenge to online learning, it is easily overcome. Things have come a long way since the turn of the century. Today, most technology that you will need for online learning is very user friendly. You don’t need to be an expert at computers to connect a camera/microphone, use Skype, or share information online. This is really all you need to use for taking online lessons, and most of the time your teacher can help you navigate through the technology piece. As a result, you will learn about this technology and become more tech savvy!
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