Why Online Learning is Good For You

Reasons why online lessons are good for you

As an educator, I find online teaching to be pedagogically insightful and stimulating. That said, this blog post is not about me and my tech-savviness. It is about online learners. Do they love virtual education as much as I do? And if not, what can I say to convince them to give it a try?

 

Students are tired of hearing that online learning is convenient because you do not need to travel to the place where the lessons happen. Students have also had enough of catchy phrases such as all you need is a laptop and an internet connection and there are no other ways to learn during lockdown. In fact, there are benefits to learning online that transcend these superficial observations and have got nothing to do with lockdowns or convenience. Because sometimes the anytime anywhere slogan is not enough.

 

In this article, I describe three reasons why online learning is worth it by going beyond the hype. I thought of three characteristics of online learning that usually get a bad reputation: the fact that it will never be like having a real teacher in front of you, the complexity of some platforms in terms of user experience and the overwhelmingly numerous choices of classes we are presented with. I then turned these negative aspects around to see how online learners can actually end up benefiting from them.

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You develop a self-sufficient learning process

Whilst the opportunity to receive better guidance from a teacher is one of the reasons why students prefer online lessons over Youtube videos, they are not the same as in-person lessons. It’s much more difficult to replicate the teacher’s behavior online. This is particularly true for practical subjects such as learning how to play an instrument and arts and crafts. However, that is not necessarily a disadvantage. It actually means that you will be forced to put in an extra effort to figure things out and consequently engage in a deeper reflection on the way in which you learn.
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You become a better problem solver

Not all online learning platforms are user-friendly. That does not mean that you need a computer science degree to be able to use them, but each one of them has its own way of working and you cannot possibly figure out every single detail of the features straight away.

 

To give you an example, on some platforms, when you cancel a lesson, it does not mean that you will be refunded on your bank account. Many of them rather give you the possibility to use the money you spent to schedule a class with another teacher. The refund is something that you will get if you contact customer service. 

 

Another source of confusion I have come across is the unclear distinction between a booked lesson and a scheduled lesson. On some platforms, having paid for a series of weekly lessons does not mean that they are automatically going to appear on the tutor’s schedule. You have to manually confirm that you are going to schedule that specific lesson for that specific week every time.

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You learn how to make choices

Ever heard of the paradox of choice? Coined by the researcher Barry Schwartz, the term refers to the overwhelmingly draining opportunities we get to make choices in modern societies. Whilst this certainly applies to restaurant menus, supermarket shelves and online shopping, choosing an online class when you are presented with a long list of them is no different. Yoga sounds healthy and hip, but so does a vegan cooking class. Web development could give your career a boost, but so would learning Chinese.


To make things even more complicated, the matter of choice when it comes to online learning is not even linear. Should you choose the subject first and then the teacher or vice versa? Should you choose the class by its duration or by its recurrence? Should you choose a group class or an individual class? There is no right answer. Be prepared to make mistakes but also be ready to grow thanks to them. Through a process of trial and error, you will identify the strategy that suits you best in terms of choosing online classes. Just a word of warning, develop that strategy quickly because trial lessons are not infinite and you might end up wasting your money due to the choice paradox mess you might find yourself in.

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Your Turn

And now over to you. Were you already fond of online learning before reading this article? If that is not the case, has this article inspired you to book an online class? Aside from the ones listed above, what do YOU think the benefits of online learning are? How could online learning benefit YOU?
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About the Author:

Constanza is trained as a classical guitarist. She learnt how to play the ukele and is passionate about teaching children music. She teaches online and loves to meet people globally. She holds a Masters in Education and a Bachelors in Music.