Your learning needs and your discipline will determine what the real advantages and disadvantages of online courses are for you. Key issues to weigh are:
- Studying without having to take time away from work is a key e-learning benefit. Some studies say that more than 75% of online students are employed full-time. If you want to remain in your job, and perhaps even have a family to take care of, elearning on your own schedule is definitely a key advantage..
- Cost: You can certainly save money with online learning, even though the per-credit course fees may be the same as what you’d pay in a traditional school. But you still save a bundle by not having to travel to school or live in a college dormitory. ( more on the price of online courses)
- Dip your toe: If you’re currently a secretary and you think you’d like to get into finance, taking a few online finance courses is a great way to start moving in that direction without quitting your current job. When you finally get an interview for your first finance job, you’ll have a some grounding in the specialty you can talk about.
- How much discipline do you have? If you’re taking an online degree program, you need to be the sort of person who can stay inside and work on your computer when it’s a beautiful, sunny day outside. Not having enough dedication to the course work is one of the most difficult problems for students in online education.
- Less networking: Being at a college or graduate school and meeting people who will become successful in your chosen profession can give you connections that make a difference later on. Online programs have recognized this to a large extent, and many have taken steps to make it easier for students to meet each other and work together, albeit online. It must be working to a degree, because many online students say that connecting to other students around the world is a huge e-learning benefit.
Overall, be aware that no two schools are the same. Take a very good long look at any school your considering to determine what the advantages and disadvantages of online courses there will be for you.