Have you thought about broadening your skill set by taking an online course, but were unsure whether to take the plunge? Maybe you’ve thought to yourself: “Are there even any benefits to participating in a course online vs. in-person? Will the courses be high-quality? Will I actually learn material in a non-traditional setting?” As someone who has taken an online course before, I can personally attest that there are several advantages. There is no time like the present to begin expanding your expertise. No matter what life stage or career you are in, you will appreciate the financial and time-saving benefits (among others) of participating in online courses.
- FLEXIBILITY. Online courses are either live-online, where courses take place in real time, or asynchronous, which are offered without real-time interaction. A significant pro of asynchronous online coursework is that it can be completed on your time and on your terms. Instead of having to plan your day around when you will arrive on campus for class, you do the opposite. You plan when you will tackle coursework around your schedule. This is especially advantageous for those with full-time jobs; you don’t have to worry about coordinating with your employer to get to class on time. Work, family, and life commitments are valuable, and the flexibility of setting your own course schedule allows time for those important things, as well. Both live-online and asynchronous courses allow you to avoid commuting or finding childcare with the convenience of online courses, and are easy-to-access, which leads to…
- ACCESSIBILITY. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, online courses can be completed from anywhere in the world. Need to travel for work? Don’t worry about getting behind on coursework; just take your laptop with you! When I was working through an online statistics course, I enjoyed being able to study in coffee shops vs. a typical classroom setting. Whether you prefer working from the comfort of your own home or tucked into the corners of your public library, you’re in charge of your study environment. You can even listen to lectures while driving to work.
- RESUME-BOOSTER. When online courses are listed on your resume, potential employers see that you are eager to obtain knowledge when you take time out of your busy schedule to complete an online course. You set yourself apart to hiring managers by saying, “I am committed to continuous learning that adds value to your company.” At times, job candidates may struggle to voice their value, but not you. You will speak confidently about the skills you have developed and stand out in a sea of qualified applicants. You can share with employers how the courses impacted you, built your character (see bonus benefit), and developed your skills.
- LOCATION. Want to take a course from UTC Center for Professional Education, but you live in Kalamazoo? No problem! Just because you don’t live in Chattanooga, doesn’t mean you can’t take classes in Chattanooga. While taking a class in-person limits you to choosing courses in your geographical area, online courses allow you to take a class from anywhere in the world. Plus, because students in your cohort will more than likely be from a broader range of locations, class discussions and forums will more than likely feature a range of perspectives. The perspectives will elevate your cultural awareness and give you new insight.
- PROGRAM VARIETY. As UTC Center for Professional Education’s website states, “Learn almost anything. Online.” We offer hundreds of online courses in categories varying from construction and trades, to health and fitness, to information technology. Whether you want to start a new career, advance your current profession, or learn a new hobby, you are sure to find a course to meet your specific wants and needs.
- COST-EFFECTIVE. Obtaining my undergraduate degree was an amazing experience, but EXPENSIVE. I paid for tuition, a dorm room, a meal plan, textbooks…the list goes on and on. Specialized courses allow you to learn in a less expensive format, as the cost for the expenses coinciding with a typical degree experience are eliminated. Pay only for the course that you want to spend money on. Miscellaneous costs corresponding with face-to-face learning (gas, parking fee, etc.) will also be eliminated by taking a course online.
Whether you want to prepare for a career change, learn a workplace skill, or even just take time to learn a hobby (I have recently considered taking Introduction to Digital Scrapbooking), there are multiple online courses that are sure to help you meet your aspirations. As a previous online student, I can vouch that the list above is a bare minimum overview of the multiple benefits. When you take a course, you will find that there are several other benefits to an online classroom setting. Go ahead and discover what courses are available for yourself. Check out UTC’s Workplace Skills Catalog and Career, Professional and Certification Catalog.
- LIFE SKILLS. When you take an online course, you learn additional life skills. Some of the ones I learned are:
- Self-discipline: I didn’t have anyone to tell me what was due next regarding my assignments. I learned to be proactive in staying on top of what I needed to do, avoid procrastination, and find focus even when I was tempted to spend my time elsewhere.
- Time Management: I learned how to manage my time effectively by balancing an online course with all my other responsibilities.
- Critical Thinking: When learning concepts by myself, I had to intently process the material I was intaking and think clearly about how to apply the information.
- Non-Verbal Communication: Without face-to-face contact with my instructor, I had to intentionally reach out if I had questions or concerns that needed to be addressed. I developed effective email communication skills and cultivated conveying my thoughts with clarity and conciseness, despite the lack of physical contact.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! My name is Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M). I am the Marketing Assistant for UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, I spend time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with our customer base. During my free time, you can find me getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, I aspire to live by the Mr. Feeny quote, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” I strive to use my passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around me.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.