Since 2013, over 6 million students have taken at least one online course. And over the past few years, more and more schools are turning to online courses to provide for their students’ needs. Currently, 32% of higher education students report taking at least one online course during their time at work. So what makes them so popular?
Balancing Your Responsibilities
One of the most popular reasons to choose an online course over an in-person one is the matter of balancing responsibilities. 68% of online students reported this as the reason they chose online learning, saying that it gave them more flexibility to balance things like work, family, and social commitments on top of their coursework. Another way to put it is the ability to study at any time and place when it is convenient for you.
Online courses typically have a much looser schedule as compared to traditional in-person classes that meet multiple times a week. For example, if you have a test at the end of the week, you can knock every assignment out at the beginning of the week and spend the rest of the time studying or do each assignment a little bit at a time and make time for studying as you go. You have complete control over what you choose to do.
Advancing Your Career
Another fairly common reason for choosing online coursework is to advance in a current career. In fact, almost half of online students say that is the reason they choose to pursue online learning. This reason is geared more toward working professionals, but it is still just as important. Recent predictions show that within the next decade, more than 60% of jobs will desire post-secondary education.
This puts professionals with only a GED, high school diploma or Associate’s degree at a decided disadvantage compared to their peers who have at least a Bachelor’s degree. These online classes can give them the chance to gain more relevant experience and find time for studying on their own instead of taking time off work to go to an in-person class. Sometimes these pursuits could even lead to a promotion or other professional benefits.
Pursuing Personal Interests
Many people also choose to take online courses to learn more about their personal interests. It could be because they have extra time on their hands, as 60% of these kinds of learners have mentioned. Another 36% say they wanted to turn a hobby into something that generates income. On top of that, studying these kinds of interests can reap more personal results.
These results include gaining a new perspective on life, feelings of capability and well-roundedness, or greater connection to the local community. It could also provide connections to others with similar interests or family members who are knowledgeable about the topics.
Regardless of which reason you choose to take an online class, you’ll gain some new skills or knowledge that you didn’t have before on your own time. And you’ll undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself and your studying preferences. If you’re interested in going back to school, or just learning about something that interests you, make sure to consider online learning as a resource that can help you along the way.