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What are the Benefits of Learning in Online Programs?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

The benefits of learning in online programs are numerous and range from practical matters such as convenience to the ability of participants to choose an instructional environment suited to their learning style. Individuals enrolled in online programs may also find that their self-discipline improves and that they feel more comfortable participating in class discussion. Online programs also enable individuals who have difficulty leaving their home or traveling to a school to get the education they need.

Many people enroll in online programs because traditional classroom education is inconvenient or even inaccessible to them. Online programs typically allow students to visit their online learning environment at times that are convenient for them. If a student works during the day or has family responsibilities, she does not have to secure childcare or leave work early in order to attend class. Students who have disabilities, live in rural areas, or do not own a car also benefit from online education programs because accessibility is no longer an issue.

Many people enroll in online learning programs because traditional classroom education is inconvenient.
Many people enroll in online learning programs because traditional classroom education is inconvenient.

Online programs offer educational advantages to some students as well. While some students learn well in a live classroom environment, those who are visual learners or who are easily distracted by other people might find that a classroom is not the best place to learn. The ability to read information and participate in online discussion can help these students reach their academic potential.

Students who are shy or uncomfortable speaking in front of others may find the relative anonymity of online programs liberating. These students may feel more confident about expressing themselves if they have the buffer of a computer monitor. While distance learning has been criticized in the past for its inability to facilitate interaction between student an teacher, online programs address this problem in the form of online forums for discussion between students and their instructors, along with email and even live chat environments. These text-based communications options can be archived, which provides students with ongoing access to these learning opportunities.

An important aspect of distance learning programs is that they can actually foster self-discipline in students more readily than a classroom course. While a classroom course provides for accountability in that a student must show up for class on a schedule, the distance learning student must train himself to actually sit down at his computer to study and do his work. If he doesn't care to interact with a reproachful instructor, all he needs to do is ignore his email. If he is unable to motivate himself to complete his course obligations, he will either quickly find that he isn't suited for online learning or will change his work habits.

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    • Many people enroll in online learning programs because traditional classroom education is inconvenient.
      By: David Gilder
      Many people enroll in online learning programs because traditional classroom education is inconvenient.