Online learning for career development? Snooze. A substitute for traditional lectures and learning. Right? Wrong.
There are many myths circulating about online learning, as a result of generalizing all types of online learning such as virtual classrooms, online lifelong learning, and accredited online courses.
You may have heard that online learning is too expensive, lacks interaction, is boring and ineffective. These online learning myths are easy to combat. Online learning is a great way to build on the knowledge that you gained at school as well as boosting your career. You can study a variety of topics — from job-related ones such as accounting, business communication, supply chain management to those you love doing in your spare time such as history, chemistry, baking, watercolor painting, astronomy, sewing, or even tarot card reading.
Your learning opportunities are endless.
So how do you make that final step and start learning by using different online courses?
Well, the first step is to debunk all those online learning myths that prevent you from developing your career even further.
1. Online Learning is Boring
When people think about online learning, they think of mindlessly staring at a computer or passively listening to the teacher drone on about a particular topic. They think that it is a waste of time as they will merely spend the duration of the lesson browsing through Instagram or thinking about your next work task.
This is not the case.
One new online learning trend that is only set to grow is gamification. Teachers and educators have begun including quizzes through quiz applications such as Kahoot! and other games that help us learn and engage with the material at a deeper level. This introduces some element of competition and allows participants to learn the content in several different formats, promoting active learning. We have all spent hours playing Candy Crush, so we know how fun games can be. Now we can learn from them.
Educators also include multi-modal formats of learning such as videos, animations, presentations, podcasts, and even songs in their lessons. This is certainly more entertaining than reading a textbook and watching a PowerPoint presentation.
2. Online Learning is the Last Resort that Doesn’t Cater to Everybody
Many people believe that online learning is an inferior substitute for when traditional learning is not possible, such as during these turbulent times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They believe that there are only video classes available for all learners who do not account for learning styles. Once again, this is not the case.
People who are interested in improving their career prospects have also the option to participate in live tutoring calls, a one-on-one class conducted virtually over the phone or by video. This eliminates any restrictions as a result of geography or time zones. It also encourages the mixing of people from different cultures and backgrounds, aiding the personal development of both learners and teachers.
This real-time connection allows learners to inform the teacher of areas that challenge or interest them and ask any questions that they may have. The teacher can then personalize the lesson in order to cater to the needs, interests, and abilities of the learner. This means that online learning is not a ‘one size fits all’ method of teaching but in fact a very carefully developed and personalized one.
3. Online Learning is Not Beneficial for Employment
Another online learning myth is that participating in online learning will not help to advance your career or be attractive to employers in any way. Whilst most online video classes are not accredited, this in no way means that it is not worth taking the time to acquire more knowledge online.
Online learning can help you to develop a number of skills that are vital and widely sought for employment.
What Skills Can I Gain?
- Communication Skills.
- Organizational Skills.
- Technological Skills.
- Ambition and Determination.
How Do I Gain These Skills with Online Learning?
You will need to communicate with teachers from a variety of different backgrounds. For this, you need to know how to ask for help, and initiate discussions. You will need to organize your time and schedule learning into your day. You must be able to motivate yourself to continue participating in classes and live calls with the teacher. Also, you will need to set your own goals. Your technological skills will develop as you become accustomed to features and commands on online learning platforms.
Once you achieve your goals you must set new ones to continue to excel, and hold yourself accountable if you do not achieve them. When the going gets tough, you must not quit, you must look at your strategy and determine what can be changed.
4. You Must Be Extremely Technologically Savvy to Learn Online
Some knowledge of technology is required in order to participate in online video learning, yes. However, you only need to know how to open a website (the online learning platform) and execute the commands that you require such as purchase a class or end a video lesson. Learning platforms are designed to accommodate learners who are not the most technologically able. The necessary commands are simple and clear to find.
Your abilities to use technology are also likely to improve with online learning. A fear of complex technology will not hinder your learning experience or deter you from starting your online learning journey.
5. Online Learning is Expensive
This is one of the easiest online learning myths to debunk. Online learning is much more cost-effective than traditional learning, in terms of delivering classes as well as the price for learners. This is because learners do not need to pay for transport to and from the institution (they can complete all of their lessons from their own sofa if they wish) and they do not need to purchase a number of textbooks.
There is no requirement to cover the salaries of teaching staff, maintain facilities, or to provide a large volume of materials when it comes to online learning. Online teachers set their own price for the lesson, so this is the only learning expense. There is also no cost for uploading classes.
6. Online Learning Does Not Allow for Social Connection
Whilst video classes do not involve interaction between the learner and the teacher, this does not mean that there is no social connection whatsoever. Learners can join messaging groups on social media with other learners participating in the course or video lessons and they can meet up to study – virtually or in person.
Due to the virtual nature of online learning, geography and time zones are not an issue. This allows learners to meet people from all over the world, with different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities. This is great for personal development and can help to combat feelings of loneliness, particularly during this ‘loneliness epidemic’ we are experiencing during the COVID-19 lockdown.
64% claimed that they made new friends when learning something new.
As mentioned earlier, learners also have the option to participate in live tutoring calls. This allows for direct interaction with the teacher, who can therefore provide a personalized supportive guideline for the learner.
7. Online Learning is Ineffective
Online learning uses several different trends such as multimodal learning, gamification, personalization, and microlearning which increase its efficiency. These video lessons include many different formats (printed worksheets, PDFs, videos, games, etc.), they are short in duration and can be tailored to the needs of each individual learner. Each of these factors has been shown to increase retention rates and achievement scores.
Online learning promotes active learning, which refers to the engagement of learners with the learning material, rather than the passive absorption of information. This increases the learner’s ability to apply the knowledge and retain it in their memory.
Around 92% of educational studies find that online learning is as effective, if not more effective than conventional learning.
8. Online Learning is Too Theoretical
One of the common online learning myths is that it involves too much reading, answering questions, and memorizing theories. This could not be further from the truth. Online learning platforms host an infinite number of classes from a variety of disciplines, some of which are almost entirely practical such as watercolor painting.
Learners who participate in such art-oriented classes purchase their own materials before the lesson and follow along with the teacher. They are able to pause, rewind, and replay the content if they struggle at any point during the class. It allows them to take learning at their own pace.
Once they have participated in a few online classes, got to grips with the techniques, and feel ready to experiment with their own designs and materials, they can apply the knowledge and techniques they have learned to create something of their own. This is almost identical to what happens in the world of work. Firstly you undergo training with a senior employee, you study and then apply the knowledge in your own way. This further implies that online learning is highly useful for employment.
9. Online Learning Does Not Give Learners Access to Sufficient Feedback
As video classes that are posted online are pre-recorded, many people believe that learners receive little to no feedback on their progress or performance from teachers.
As mentioned earlier, live tutoring calls allow for a direct connection between teacher and learner. This promotes several beneficial teaching techniques such as personalization and learner-led discussions. The teacher can ask about the areas that the learner finds difficult, create a personalized lesson for them, monitor their progress, and provide feedback for them directly.
Many online learning platforms also offer automated marking features, which the teacher can access and provide feedback for over live messaging features or tutoring calls.
10. Online Learning Classes are Not High Quality
Online learning is booming, particularly during this period of time where social distancing is a necessity. People believe that with this, more underqualified teachers who have not planned their lessons adequately are also on the increase.
Whilst it is possible that some teachers may produce scattered video classes with poor recording equipment, there are extensive reviews available for learners to read and analyze before purchasing the lesson. Online teachers are highly motivated, passionate, and self-motivated individuals that aim to share their knowledge with the world. Most video classes are created by highly knowledgeable teachers to facilitate student learning.
There are also a number of blog posts on e-learning platforms that are available for teachers to access before recording their class. These posts provide them with advice on how to create engaging classes, empower learners, and teach in the most efficient way.
There are always resources out there on the internet which may not be the most credible and we will all come across these at some point during our career. We must learn to search for key indicators of credibility and good quality during our careers and in everything we do.
11. Online Learning is Time Consuming
A new, ever-growing online learning trend known as micro-learning refers to short, sharp lessons that cover one topic in detail. This means that conventional learning durations of around 1 hour are slowly disappearing. It is allowing learners to incorporate online learning into their schedule with ease. This has also birthed the trend of on-the-go learning, with learners participating in video lessons on their daily commute to work or at the gym, supported by the rapid advancements of technologies such as the 5G network.
The average online class is between 15 and 30 minutes. Learners can participate in as many classes as they wish for as long as they wish. This allows them to gain skills even whilst working full-time with busy timetables. It also facilitates lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning provides various benefits throughout the life of an individual. It includes improved memory abilities and decreased chances of dementia as well as benefits for their professional career.
The flexible nature of online learning means that learners are in control of their own learning schedule, therefore showing that online learning is not time-consuming in any way. Learners can spend just 15 minutes a day on learning, tackling classes at their own pace, and continually developing their skills to the best of their ability.
Now that we have debunked a few of the well-known myths about online learning, there is nothing to stop you from reaping all of the benefits that it can bring.
Who wouldn’t want a flexible, fun, personalized learning experience packed with games?
Particularly during these difficult times imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep busy, keep the brain active, and work to develop our skills and knowledge. Online learning makes this possible. Quench your thirst for knowledge and kickstart your personal development with online learning – you will not regret it.