A Closer Look at the Online Learning Experience
In the last decade, online learning has made tremendous strides. The number of students taking online education courses has grown steadily since 2002, even despite a decrease in higher education enrollment overall.1 Technology has given millions the ability to advance their knowledge and their careers, without having to leave their full-time jobs to attend classes on campus.
However, although online learning has been adopted by many of the world’s most prestigious and celebrated universities, many continue to harbor concerns about the process and its potential value.
To help you decide if earning your graduate degree online is the right decision for you and your career, we’ve put together a look at three of the primary advantages of the online classroom.
1. Time Is on Your Side
We’re all familiar with the phrase “Time is money.” In the United States, this aged adage is particularly relevant and viewed as being undeniably true.
Though leisure time in the U.S. has increased over the last 50 years, the rapid progression of technology has provided many new ways to fill that gained free time.2 New opportunities to apply down time towards something beneficial and productive have emerged, including the opportunity to go back to school to earn a graduate degree from a world-class institution.
Think about it this way: How do you use your free time currently? Maybe you binge-watch a show or two, go to the gym, or hang out with friends, but you could be taking an online course with the ability to change your day-to-day life and career forever. The choices are yours.
Online learning allows you to organize class time around your schedule. Never before has higher education been so accessible to those with full-time jobs and/or families—those traditionally without the ability to take a leave of absence to attend on-campus classes.
We are living in a special moment, a rare time in history when technological capacities and leisure time have increased parallel to one another. The result is the ability to develop your skills, worth and overall career while maintaining your current responsibilities, so you can ensure your time is well spent.
2. Location, Location, Location
Not too long ago, if you wanted to go back to school for a master’s degree while keeping your full-time job, you’d be limited to the colleges and universities within a certain proximity to your home.
For people in large metropolitan areas, there may be several institutions to choose from—for those outside of the city, however, there may not even be a graduate program in the area of study you’re interested in.
Today, the fact that professionals from anywhere in the country (and, sometimes, the world) can access graduate programs in different cities and states, without having to move, is remarkable to say the least. The ability to learn from nationally renowned professors and recognized industry experts from the school of your choice, even if it’s 1,000 miles away, can open a variety of unique opportunities.
By granting access to a broader network of peers and influencers, studying online allows students to pick the schools and programs that are truly the most fitting for their futures.
3. It’s About Who You Know
One of the biggest advantages of pursuing a graduate degree is the opportunity to grow your professional network and meet new people throughout the program. Now, online students are able to both interact with their fellow classmates and professors and engage with course content in more meaningful ways.3
Thanks to advances in technology, networking plays an equally important role in the online learning experience. During an online program, students are able to connect with classmates from across the country, with the help of video conferencing technology and learning management systems. Studying online can be a great opportunity to learn more about the different backgrounds and cultures of your peers, helping you to build new relationships as you pursue your degree.
Whether you’re sharing ideas during a class brainstorm or collaborating on a group project, online learning positions you to form lasting relationships that can help expand your professional network.
There’s More to Consider
Online education is giving greater access to some of the world’s finest institutions—wherever they are, wherever you may be and on a schedule that works for you.
When it comes to deciding what kind of graduate experience is right for you, you should never have to settle. If you’ve thought about going back to school but don’t know if you have the time or if the right program for you is nearby, you’ll want to think about your online options before packing your bags and moving to grad school.
Interested in learning about Santa Clara University’s Online MBA?
1. (February 2016). Babson Study: Distance Education Enrollment Growth Continues. Retrieved on June 20, 2017, from onlinelearningconsortium.org/news_item/babson-study-distance-education-enrollment-growth-continues-2/
2. (December 2014). Why is everyone so busy? Retrieved on June 19, 2017, from www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21636612-time-poverty-problem-partly-perception-and-partly-distribution-why 3. Neumann, Y. and Neumann, E. (May 2016). Lessons About Online Learning. Retrieved on June 26, 2017, from insidehighered.com/views/2016/05/03/what-weve-learned-after-several-decades-online-learning-essay