Career Development: Is Online Learning Right for You?

Once you’ve started working, it can be difficult to advance in your career. Between family obligations and working at your current job, you likely won’t have the time or the money to head back to a college campus to improve skills. Without furthering your education, you’ll likely find yourself stuck in the same position without a chance for promotion or advancement.

Forbes reports that over 6 million people are taking one or more classes online as part of their continuing education. This is according to a 2011 report from Babson Survey Research Group. For those who don’t have the time or budget to take traditional courses, you have continuing education available in an online setting. Even though there are a variety of online classes and educational opportunities, it might not be suitable for everyone who wants to continue learning new skills. When it comes to career development tips, the biggest one is heading back to school to improve your skills. To find out whether online courses are suitable for you, let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages to a continuing education online.



The tuition costs of your online education might not be lower than a traditional physical campus, but the overall costs will be lower. Along with those workers who telecommute to their job, you’ll save time on travel too. You’ll save money on your car as well as gas. You could even save on clothing since you could spend time in your pajamas all day if you wanted.


Along with the savings you’ll get from an online class setting, you won’t have to worry about the time it takes to commute, or driving during dangerous conditions. Many people live in areas that see terrible rain and snow storms, but they are still required to drive to their classes. Online students never have to worry about missing a class due to bad weather.


You can get a degree online, but you can also take courses to enhance your career. If the campus doesn’t offer the class you want to take, you can easily choose another portal for your learning. Many people believe that online classes are only available for courses that involve the computer, language learning or an office-related coursework like accounting or business. While online business classes boost skills, there are other careers that can boost your skills like nursing classes and certificate programs for criminal justice.


When you improve your skills, you’re also getting an education that can boost careers. It’s a great way to increase your chances for a promotion, or to give yourself enhanced skills to enter a completely new job market. In many careers, people find themselves stagnating in a certain position because they don’t have time to return to school. Online classes are a terrific way to advance your career.


While many colleges and universities offer classes with credits online, there are now free massive open online courses or MOOCs that are offering credits that can be transferred to physical universities and colleges. Free online entrepreneurship training is available for people who wish to start their own business and need a boost to their current skills.


Many students find online classes to be a place where they don’t see much interaction between themselves and the teacher as well as other students. Some shy or retiring students are much more comfortable interacting when they are taking classes online instead of inside a classroom. These same students might find the ability to take classes online to be less of a distraction than trying to learn in a classroom setting.


After working all day at their regular job, many older students have a hard time returning to the classroom. They don’t have enough hours in a day for their full-time job, family obligations and spending hours in a classroom at night. This is especially true when the schedule puts the class directly in the path of family time. Many older students taking online classes can do all their work at night after their kids are in bed.


All the extra time available that you’re not using to commute to classes or spending three hours listening to lectures can be used for furthering your career too. You could join a club or volunteer in the industry in which you’re trying to further your education. If you want to be a writer, you could join a writing club while taking classes. A nursing student could volunteer at a local hospital to gain experience.



When you attend a physical classroom as opposed to an online class, you are able to interact with your teacher and other students. You can bond with them over study groups and receive help after class from the instructor. With online classes, you can certainly interact with the teacher and ask for extra help, it’s a bit harder to get intense help if needed.


Taking classes online means downloading lecture notes and taking quizzes and important exams on your computer. You’ll have to have a reliable computer as well as a strong Internet connection. If you’re unable to take a quiz because your Internet is slow, you could end up failing your class. Students are expected to have technology that is up to the task.

There are numerous benefits of online learning. Some of them can be seen listed above, advancing your career online is a viable option for most people. You’ll gain extra time not spent in the classroom to enjoy other pursuits whether it’s more family time, time to volunteer or join a club. Whether you’re thinking about taking classes to gain new skills or improve ones you already have, online classes are a terrific option for people who don’t want to enroll in traditional college courses.

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