When you want to earn a degree in order to build a new career or advance your current career, you’ll find plenty of online learning programs to choose from. These programs can provide a convenient way for you to earn your degree without having to set foot on campus. Although the challenges of online learning can take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to in-person instruction, the advantages outweigh these. Keep the following benefits of online learning in mind as you go through different program options for your college degree.
1. You Can Earn Your Degree on Your Own Time
When you’re in a traditional, in-person degree program, you’re usually expected to show up for classes at scheduled times. Missing these classes or being late can end up affecting your academic performance. Showing up for scheduled classes in person can be hard to do when you have a full-time job or need to handle other responsibilities during the day. Online learning offers a much more flexible way to earn your degree, no matter what your daily schedule is like.
You can watch recorded lectures and go over other material on your own time, whether that’s during your lunch break or in the evening at home. You don’t have to fit commuting time into your schedule. With online learning, you can easily take care of other daily commitments without having to rearrange your schedule. This helps ensure you’re able to focus on school and other responsibilities as needed.
2. Online Students Often Perform Better in Their Courses
Being an online student means having a higher chance of performing better in your classes. Why do online students tend to do better compared to those taking in-person classes? In addition to potential scheduling conflicts, in-person students typically have more distractions, such as being in a noisy or crowded classroom while trying to pay attention to their instructor. Online students can concentrate better since they have fewer distractions to deal with.
Online students also tend to participate more than in-person students. Students in online learning programs often have more opportunities for participation, such as posting in online discussion groups or posting comments during live streams. Being able to post online can be easier than waiting to be called on in a classroom, especially for more introverted students. Participating more can help boost academic performance for online students.
3. You Have More Options Available to You
Online degree programs can open up more options for your education. Thanks to these programs, you can explore options in schools well beyond your local area. In fact, you can look into online degree programs at schools that are in other parts of your state, in other states, or even other countries. This provides you with a chance to find the degree program that best fits your needs. As long as you have internet access, you’ll be able to log into your classes from anywhere, no matter where your actual school is located.
Online programs also tend to have more options, such as full-time or part-time programs. Full-time programs might suit you if you don’t have other commitments, such as a full-time job. Part-time programs might be a better fit if you work full-time or have other commitments to handle.
4. Many Online Degree Programs Are More Affordable than Traditional Programs
When you’re trying to keep college costs low, online degree programs can be more affordable compared to traditional programs. Depending on the school and degree program you choose, you might pay considerably less in terms of tuition for an online program. If you need to take out loans for your education, lower tuition for online programs can help keep costs down. This means you’ll have less to pay back once you graduate.
Online degree programs can also save you money when it comes to other expenses. You might not need to purchase textbooks for these classes. You also won’t have to spend money on gas to get to and from school or pay for food and lodging. Instead, you’ll be able to take classes from the comfort of home and prepare your own meals.
5. You Can Create Your Own Classroom/Workspace
When you’re in a traditional degree program, you’ll be spending time in your instructors’ classrooms. This doesn’t give you much say in the kind of environment you’re in during class. Depending on how classrooms are set up, you might find it hard to focus or uncomfortable to sit in due to the lighting, temperature, or other factors.
Online classes give you the chance to set up your own classroom or workspace at home. With an online degree program, you can create a classroom or workspace in a part of your home that’s quiet and free from distractions. If possible, this space can be in a separate room with a door you can close to block out noise. Setting up your own classroom or workspace also means you can make sure the lighting, temperature, and other factors provide a comfortable environment for studying.
6. You Can Develop Deeper Connections with More Peers
Being an online student offers opportunities to get to know your peers better and build stronger connections with them. When you’re in a traditional degree program, you might end up in a classroom where you barely interact with other students. It’s even possible that you might not know the names of students sitting near you, especially if your classes don’t involve group projects.
With online classes, you’ll have a chance to introduce yourself and learn more about your fellow students. These degree programs usually include collaborative projects to make up for the lack of face-to-face contact. These projects provide you with more opportunities to interact with your peers. You might have other chances to get to know your fellow students as well, such as through message board discussions for your classes.
7. You Will Develop Important Technical and Collaborative Skills
Online degree programs can help you learn and develop skills that come in handy in the workplace. With a traditional degree program, you usually don’t need to worry as much about using a lot of tech tools. You might use software for writing papers or doing other tasks, but you usually won’t be using other kinds of tech for school.
In an online degree program, all of your learning and work is done digitally. This means you’ll be learning how to use different kinds of tech tools to watch online lectures, interact with your instructor and other students, and handle other tasks. Being in an online degree program also helps you improve your collaborative skills, since you’ll be interacting with other students to work on projects and complete tasks. These tech and collaborative skills are highly useful to have in the workplace.
8. You Can Develop Important New Habits
As an online student, you’ll have a chance to work on building new habits that can benefit you in all areas of your life. You’ll learn time management skills, which you’ll need in order to handle school, work, and other commitments. Being able to manage your time effectively can help ensure that you complete all schoolwork on time and prepare for tests. You can also use this skill at work or in other areas of your life.
Doing well in an online degree program requires a strong amount of self-discipline to stay focused and keep up with your studies. You’ll be able to improve your self-discipline during your degree program. You’ll also have opportunities to develop self-motivation, which you’ll need to make sure you get all of your work done on time.
9. Online Learning Helps You Bolster Marketable Soft Skills
Having certain kinds of soft skills can make you more marketable when you’re looking for jobs or trying to advance your career. These soft skills, such as communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking, are important to have in the workplace, especially if you plan to take on a leadership position.
Online degree programs give you many opportunities to develop these soft skills. As an online student, you’ll need to put these skills to use to do group projects, work on individual assignments, study for exams, and handle other school-related tasks. With a traditional degree program, you won’t have as many chances to do this.
10. Online Courses Are More Accessible
When you live in an area that makes it difficult to get to and from class, being in a traditional degree program might be hard or even impossible. For example, you might need to travel a long distance to get from a rural area to a college or university, which can be time-consuming and cost more in terms of gas and wear and tear on your car. Traditional classes might also be hard to do if your school is in an area that’s difficult to get to or even unsafe, especially for evening classes.
Online courses provide greater accessibility for students who are in these situations. With an online degree program, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get to and from school or whether you can do so safely. Online courses allow you to stay home while studying and learning new material.
11. Online Learning Is Better for the Environment
When you’re an online student, you’re doing your part to help the environment. Online learning helps eliminate the need for students to drive or take public transportation to and from school. This helps reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, which is healthier for the environment. You can study from home or during your work breaks instead of having to travel to and from school for classes.
Online degree programs also rely less on print textbooks compared to traditional classes. When you’re in a traditional degree program, you might be expected to purchase textbooks. With an online program, you’ll most likely be using online versions of textbooks and other tech tools that don’t require paper.
12. Online Learning May Provide Additional Global Perspectives
Online degree programs are typically open to students from all over. This means you might have a chance to gain a broader perspective on your studies or other aspects of your life. As part of an online degree program, you might find yourself interacting with students from other countries and other cultures. This provides an opportunity to learn from these students and develop a global perspective.
Having a broader perspective can benefit you in terms of your interpersonal relationships with others and your work life. With a global perspective, you might develop a wider circle of friends, or you might use this broadened view when handling certain aspects of your job, such as interacting with international vendors or clients.
13. You Can Balance Your Career and Your Education
When you’re in an online degree program, you’ll have a better chance to balance your job and your studies. Online learning can make it easier to improve your work-life balance, since you won’t be spending extra time away from home attending in-person classes. You might also find it more convenient to divide your time between work, school, and other areas of your life. Having a better work-life balance can boost your mood and lead to more job satisfaction and happier relationships, among other benefits.
With an online degree program, you’ll also have less stress compared to juggling work with a traditional degree program. Dealing with less stress can help you focus more on your studies and improve your academic performance, as well as your emotional well-being. If you’re ready to start looking for a distance learning MBA program that fits your needs, contact Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program that is fully online.