Online learning was already on the upswing even before 2020, when suddenly the ability to access course virtually rather than physically became a necessity rather than a side option. And it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities to students who maybe hadn’t seriously considered online courses before.
The truth is, online learning has come a lot further than most people realize. And if you’re among those considering jumping into the online classroom, we’ve got ten things you might not expect to learn while you’re there…that you definitely do.
- How to manage your time wisely — A big advantage when it comes to enrolling in an online degree or diploma program is that it offers flexibility. You fit virtual classes into your schedule instead of trying to bend your schedule around classes. Being able to look at your daily or weekly calendar and figure out how to multitask and when to tackle assignments and classwork becomes a vital skill.
- How to self-motivate — One of the key challenges in online learning is that there often is no one standing by a whiteboard, making sure you pay attention and do the work. You have to be the driver in your education, from how much you participate to what level of effort you put into your coursework. Online learning makes it extra important that you find ways to motivate yourself to greater heights.
- How to work hard and think critically — It’s time to put the stereotype that online learning is the “easy way out” to bed. Instructors for your online courses bring the same high standards to their curriculum as professors in traditional classrooms, and you will be given the same challenge of developing your opinions, based on what you know and learn, and backing them up with strong arguments and evidence.
- How you define career success — Success won’t look the same for everyone, and online learning itself might alter your own definition of what it means for you. Online classes often have instructors with practical, real-world experience, and that kind of practical perspective could affect where you see yourself in five years or ten years or more.
- How to problem solve and seek solutions — The autonomy and individualism afforded by online classes have their challenges, for sure, especially if you’re not naturally detail-oriented. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to cultivate your problem-solving and decision-making abilities. You’re in charge of your schedule, you’re the point of contact if you have computer or technical issues, and all of that responsibility builds a lot of personal leadership.
- How to work with different kinds of people — It may seem a little strange to make this claim about a virtual class space, but in truth, you’re still going to get exposure to and experience dealing with a wide variety of personalities in online courses. Whether it’s your instructors or fellow classmates in forums or even video calls, that person-to-person interaction will still be an intrinsic component of your program.
- How to handle feedback — Not every instructor is going to be easy to please, and some of them will be downright challenging when it comes to pushing you to be the best you can be. The ability to take in feedback, process it in a way that’s constructive rather than emotional, and then apply it to what you’re doing can be a powerful tool in your development. And it’s absolutely vital in the workplace.
- How to adapt on the go — The only constant in life is change, and the flexibility of online learning goes hand-in-hand with the adaptability necessary in life. You can carefully plot out your entire schedule for a week of work, life, and online courses, but then something comes out of nowhere to throw the only thing off. And it’ll be up to you to think fast and outside the box so you can stay on track with your responsibilities.
- How to communicate effectively — Communication is one of the top “soft” skills that can make a career, and much of it now is being done in virtual spaces, through email or chat or other forums. You’ll directly practice this form of communication in an online course format, giving the chance to hone how you come across digitally, as well as helping you learn how to interpret subtext and context in other people’s communications.
- How to develop practical, hands-on skills — Most people don’t really link online learning with hands-on training. How can you be hands-on over the computer, right? The truth is, distance education has advanced quite a bit from where it was even a decade ago, and instructors all over the country are finding ways to work practical experience into a digital space, from pairing at-home kits with in-depth video instruction to virtual training simulation software.
Online learning has rocketed to the forefront of the education discussion, and it’s likely to stay there even after the pandemic has past. The question now is: Are you ready to take your learning to the next level with Vista College online?