Although learning away from traditional brick-and-mortar colleges and universities has been an option ever since letters could be sent, the popularity of distance learning has exploded in recent years. This is thanks to online schools offering a viable opportunity for people to gain qualifications and degrees from the comfort of their homes.
Despite its popularity and practical nature, cynics will highlight how online learning doesn’t match up to learning in a respected educational institution, in person. However, even highly regarded universities have jumped on the bandwagon by offering online programs.
As for healthcare professionals, the opportunity to participate in online learning carries many of the advantages a regular student enjoys. What are these advantages, you ask? Read on to find out.
Opens the door to more opportunities
If you are searching for a way of progressing further as a healthcare professional, gaining additional qualifications via additional education is an ideal step to take. While studying at a traditional university wouldn’t really be feasible when trying to juggle a full-time job, it is viable with online learning.
Take a registered nurse, for example. If they want to go into a specialist area of nursing, they could require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Sadly, they don’t have the necessary time to attend university to attain the degree. With an MSN online course, however, they can do their learning at home after finishing their nursing shifts.
One of the biggest reasons for studying online is due to the accessibility provided. Pretty much anyone, regardless if they live hours away from civilization, can learn online as long as they have an internet connection. This also means you don’t have to travel away from home and can continue your usual work routine while studying.
It’s more affordable
The cost-friendly nature of online healthcare programs is another advantage. As curricular modules are not conducted by professors in a classroom, this expense can be cut. Instead, you receive the modules online and receive a generous price cut in the process.
These aren’t the only costs saved, either. There’s no need to factor in traveling expenses or campus resources such as the library or electricity.
Offers experience with technology
Did you know that approximately one-third of nurses in the United States are currently older than 50 years old? It’s a worrying statistic and one that is only going to increase in the near future.
With this trend in mind, there’s another advantage to online learning: the use of technology. As you are using a computer regularly to access your course and study, you gain a greater understanding of this technology – to the point where it becomes natural to use. If you are below a certain age, this aspect will likely seem redundant. Yet for those who didn’t grow up with a computer, this can be an invaluable experience.
The standard of online learning is continually improving
Years ago, naysayers may have had a point about the overall quality of an online learning course. Nowadays, the continued trend of reputable educational entities offering their own courses has largely silenced the criticism revolving around the teaching quality.
In fact, you will now find that the best schools are featuring their best professors for their online classes. Plus with the continued advancement of technology and online communication, there’s no need to consider online learning as an impersonal experience. With the likes of video conferences and discussion boards being utilized more often, you won’t feel alone or start longing for the classroom.
If you are a little too fond of procrastinating, this could actually be viewed in something of a negative light. Although for most, the flexibility to study when and wherever you want is a major benefit of online learning. There’s no requirement to stick to a set class schedule. You can choose to study first thing in the morning, right before going to bed, or any other time in between. This enables you to go about your work and day to day activities without too much hassle.
The same flexibility is applicable for your study environment. Your bedroom or a local café may seem like logical options. However, why not complete your studies while at the gym? It might come across as irrational initially but think about it. If your instructor has provided course materials in audio form, you have the chance to stick your headphones in, jump on a treadmill, and learn while you exercise. That’s pretty cool, right?
Oh, and if procrastinating is an issue, use an online course to learn more than just a specialized area of healthcare. Use it as a method to become more self-disciplined, working on both your time-management and self-motivation skills in the process. Plus being away from a physical classroom, where distractions can be an ever-present, even helps concentration levels in certain cases.
More help than expected
Browse any articles which list negative points about online learning, and they will often highlight the lack of help at your disposal. The general opinion by such critics is you are essentially ‘alone’ when earning your degree or qualification online, with a lack of direct help available if that’s what you require.
The actual situation, at least these days, is much different.
For each course, an online instructor will usually be available to contact who can provide assistance if you ever encounter a problem. On top of this, most online schools feature a dedicated support platform and/or forum where students can discuss aspects of courses with each other. Forget about going it alone – help is always there if you need it.
Even with all of these positive aspects taken into account, online learning isn’t for everyone. Earning a degree with this method requires dedication, motivation, and focus. If you possess these characteristics, however, online learning can be a massive benefit for the progression of your role in healthcare. You have the potential to earn a degree while continuing full-time employment, and still gaining the qualifications needed to take the next step up the career ladder.