Many people call online learning the “new normal” due to many learning facilities moving their classes online because of COVID. But even before that, online learning has been used a lot for learning and improving skills.
The internet is the biggest source of information available to humans. You can use it to learn basically anything, most of it free. Whatever interest you have, you can find useful information about it online. Because of some bad influence of social media, people seem to forget how useful the internet actually is. If you use it carefully and responsibly, the internet can make your life so much better.
If you are thinking about whether you should focus on online learning or in-person, here is a list of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of online learning. Use this, together with your in-person opportunities available, to decide what style of learning will work for you the best.
The internet is convenient, we all know that. With the current technology, you can access the internet from basically anything. Sure, it may seem like both a gift & a curse because it can be so distracting. If you use it for the right cause, it’s really handy. You can take your learning resources anywhere. All you need is a phone or a laptop, you can access the data offline if you prepare beforehand. Nothing is more convenient these days than the internet, at least in more developed countries.
Another advantage that online learning has over in-person is that learning times can usually be adjusted to your liking. You don’t have to be at a certain place, at a certain time to study. Just do it whenever you feel like it’s the best time to do so. That does depend on what way you decided to learn your skill though.
Preferred learning methods
Different people learn in different ways. Some like to read a lot, some like visualization, and some just want to listen to someone talk about it. With online learning, you can choose what resources work for you the best and use them. You can even have classes that are scheduled with other people, but online through software like Zoom or Skype.
Not everyone has a school nearby for everything they want to learn, but most people have internet access. Online you can find tons of courses, books, or any other resources related to everything you want to learn. It’s usually also a lot cheaper than schools, or even completely free.
No face-to-face interaction
With more and more things being online, we are getting fewer and fewer face-to-face interactions. Some would consider that an advantage and that’s ok, but most people wouldn’t. Humans are social creatures though, so some interactions are needed.
High screen time
We all know sitting behind our computers for a long time isn’t a great idea long-term. It’s bad for you both physically and mentally, but it’s just something a lot of people have to do. If you do so, it’s recommended to get at least some exercise in. A few minutes of stretching daily and maybe a walk are just enough.
More easily distracted
The internet is very distracting. Most websites are designed to attract as much attention as possible from the user, that’s just how it works. If you aren’t completely determined and focused, you can be easily distracted when learning alone online. Online learning requires a lot more focus than in-person learning because there are so many more distractions. In-person classes are designed to have as few distractions as possible and websites are the opposite.
Lack of communication skills
Focusing only on hard skills (abilities that let you do job-specific) may leave us lacking when it comes to soft skills, especially communication. Communication is an important part of almost every job and of getting a job in the first place. Being able to sell your skills is sometimes as important as having those skills, and good communication is a big part of that. When you study in person, with other people, you also improve your communication skills.
For most learning, only a PC and internet access are enough, but sometimes you need more. Some specific skills require some special equipment, even if that is just a higher-end PC, and not everyone can afford that. Schools that offer in-person learning usually have all of the equipment required to do all of the tasks, whereas at home you might be lacking some.
Online learning is becoming the “new normal” for learning and that is great! People are realizing just how useful the internet can be and how much it improves our lives if used in the right ways. Of course, like everything in life, it too has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s for the user to decide which side outweighs the other.