Before the pandemic created a mass push to digital classrooms, online learning had already been on an upward trajectory. Over the last two decades, online learning has grown significantly in both work and education spaces, proving its value as an accessible, affordable way to gain new skills.
Students are choosing online degree programs now more than ever as the benefits become clearer. Check out these reasons why online college is a great choice.
When online degree programs were first offered decades ago, many viewed them as inferior to in-person learning. Some employers and hiring managers even preferred applicants with traditional college degrees over those with online college degrees. However, the growth of online learning, especially at established facilities, has helped to legitimate online degrees and remove the stigma previously associated with them.
In today’s economy, nearly all new college graduates entering the job market have at least partially completed their degrees online. In 2018, an estimated 34% of the 16.6 million undergraduate students in the United States were enrolled in at least one online course according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and that number has grown to practically 100% since then.
In addition, students who earn degrees online are found to be more adept at remote work conditions, which are also becoming prevalent across workspaces. Students who earned online degrees are accustomed to similar remote technology for video conferencing, messaging, information sharing and collaboration, so they’re often better at adapting and contributing to remote teamwork.
Many employers are finding that online learning can better prepare employees for the workforce because it matches them with curriculum that fits their goals, preferences and skillsets. Traditional colleges typically categorize students by demographics like age and gender, which may be more convenient to the university system, but it doesn’t necessarily serve students well. In fact, a study conducted by the Parthenon Group and the Lumina Foundation found that this traditional way of segmenting students has led to higher dropout rates, lower student satisfaction and less success after college.
In contrast, online colleges have the flexibility to create new ways of categorizing and understanding student needs. They’re able to categorize students in ways that focus on students' motivations and desired skills rather than their inherent traits. This can be helpful in identifying the right kind of learning for each student. Study.com found that student segments at online colleges can look more like this:
Career Accelerators – Typically older and already established in a career but looking to advance.
Aspiring Academics – Recent high school graduates who are focused on academic achievements.
Career Starters – Practical thinkers who look at college as a stepping-stone to a particular career.
Industry Switchers – Those who have started down a career path but want to pursue a different field.
By identifying each student’s root causes and motivations for learning, online colleges have become better able to provide students with the learning they desire. Not only does this motivate the student to perform well in their studies, but it also creates better real-world outcomes when graduates enter the workforce.
There are a number of ways that online learning offers greater accessibility to a wider range of students. First, online students are not bound by geography. That means greater opportunity to study what you want, where you want. It also means not having to worry about transportation or other means for accessing a campus. This is especially helpful for working adults seeking a degree. Online learning affords them more control over their schedule, particularly with self-paced course options.
Second, online learning has opened up a new world of opportunity for disabled students. With online learning, students with physical disabilities no longer have to travel long distances and burden themselves with accessibility challenges and availability of facilities. They also have easier access to educational materials online, which removes the hassle of navigating libraries and other campus buildings. Online learning is not just helpful for mobile-impaired students, it is also beneficial for visual and hearing-impaired students who can apply a wider range of accessibility options and tools online.
If you attend a traditional college, you’ll end up paying expensive fees in addition to tuition to support the campus and related facilities, such as athletics. You’re also likely to spend far more on room and board, transportation and costs for campus life when you attend a traditional college. Books alone can add up to a substantial sum, as they’re not included in traditional college tuition.
With online college, students can save tens of thousands of dollars on earning their degree while still gaining a high-quality education. With the rising cost of higher education, online college has become an affordable option for those who want to avoid decades of student loan debt. Most online degree programs are structured to accommodate working students with flexible courses as well as flexible payment plans.
At Accelerated Pathways, we offer pay-as-you-go, self-paced courses with no hidden fees and books included! Whether you're looking to save money, graduate quickly or make school fit into your busy lifestyle, we provide online degree programs that match your goals. Best of all, our courses are regionally accredited and guaranteed to transfer to your degree.
Ready to get started on a major that you’ll love? Reach out today!