For many, the prospect of studying online can be daunting! The thought of studying without someone right there in front of you can be intimidating. However, those with experience in online learning would agree that online learning should be supportive, flexible, personalised and collaborative.
Frequent and convenient communication between learners and learning coaches is the key to a successful learning experience. With approachable and experienced learning coaches at hand, online learners are equipped with the necessary tools to enhance their learning. Subject matter expertise is provided as are the opportunities for feedback on questions, concerns and issues. Any barriers or feelings of isolation are easily overcome through the ongoing dialogue between the learning coach and the learner. Additional support is found through the networking opportunities provided. Discussions in webinars and online forums create a collaborative team learning environment.
Most adults who participate in online learning are happy with the freedom they enjoy. Learners can learn when they want and where they want, planning study time around their day, not the other way around. This is great for those working full time or who family commitments and wouldn’t be able to attend classes any other way.
The addition of strict deadlines to already busy schedules adds extra stress and pressure. Often schedules are not as strict when studying online. Learners can work on and complete assessments when they are ready and at their own pace.
Course material is also accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When participating in traditional lecture style lessons, the spoken word may be missed due to distractions such as tiredness or boredom. Online learners have the opportunity to re read and review course work ensuring essential information isn’t missed. Also, as there are no geographic barriers to online learning, learners have access to diverse course material and information that may not be available to them where they live or work.
Everyone learns and absorbs information in different ways. Some learn visually and others do better when they “learn by doing”. The supply of information through a variety of mediums: videos, readings, case studies, participation in online forums and the sharing of ideas in webinars ensure all online learners have the opportunity to engage, participate and learn in a way that suits them.
Participating online is much less intimidating than in the face to face classroom. Online learning provides a degree of anonymity, creating a level playing field for all learners which is uninterrupted by bias or prejudice. For some, this sense of anonymity frees them to express themselves without fear of being ridiculed or judged by their peers. Everyone gets a say, not just the “talkative”. Online learners also have the opportunity to think longer about what they want to say and can actually listen to and absorb comments made by other students.