Online courses, skill development workshops and the endless possibilities virtual learning unlocks for students.

Take a minute and picture the first classroom you had ever been to— a large room, an array of neatly arranged desks and chairs and a blackboard (or whiteboard) you spent most of your time focusing on. You probably had a notebook and some pens and pencils near you to take notes, work on given assignments or just doodle.

Fast forward to the year 2021, where, for most people, a classroom now means staring into a digital device with working video and audio in a well-lit corner of your home.

After a chaotic year involving a global pandemic, nationwide school closures, millions of work lay-offs and global political unrest, the future has never looked more unstable for students. Students from all over the world, who once roamed school hallways and participated in after-school clubs and activities, now spend their school hours at home in front of a screen. In the midst of all this rising uncertainty, it’s difficult to picture and work towards building a future for yourself as a student.

But when the dust settles—because it most definitely will—where do you want to be?

Despite the fact that the things around us have never been so uncertain, there is still a glimmer of hope. The current drastic rise of e-learning comes with its own set of pros and cons, but today, we’ll be focusing on the benefits it has to offer.

Benefits of E-Learning

  • The first and most notable benefit of virtual learning is that it often gives shy, introverted and socially reclusive children a better chance to actively participate in classes. The anxiety caused by the atmosphere of a real classroom can be eliminated since they are in the comfort of their own homes.
  • Virtual classrooms are accessible to any student who has access to an electronic device and a decent network connection. Recorded classes help them revisit the points talked about in class whenever they desire.
  • Commuting to and from school or university each day of the week can have quite the impact on your wallet. Not only does remote learning save travel costs, it reduces your carbon footprint in terms of gas and fuel too.
  • Building on the previous point, it makes learning a much easier process for differently abled students who might find accessing traditional classrooms challenging.
  • Thanks to digital learning, a lot of students are now able to operate electronic devices without a hitch, improving their technical skills by a considerable amount.
  • And lastly, it provides students with greater flexibility and control over their lessons, helping them learn at their own pace.

Additionally, since research suggests that online learning has helped increase retention of information, it seems like it might be here to stay even after the pandemic goes away.

Cost-Effective Online Skill Building

An incredibly important point to note among what I listed earlier is the cost-effectiveness of e-learning. Since many students have had to make the shift to online learning due to the pandemic, they are quite familiar with all the popular platforms used.

With the help of our advanced technology, they can track and navigate through their learning process and habits easily and use this information to plan out their day and improve consistently.

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There are various digital platforms where knowledgeable people can share key information and their tips and tricks through easily accessible online courses, such as Skillshare, Udemy and CourseOne. Although some of their services come with a fee, it’s often a much smaller amount in comparison to what we usually spend on its traditional counterpart—which includes the course fee, transportation fee and the cost of materials or resources required.

From an environment friendly perspective as well, online learning has the upper hand. The cost our environment has to pay for our education is equally reduced, since online learning requires a significantly less amount of resources, as is explained in detail here.

Online Admissions and Job Applications

Considering the majority of people currently seeking online education, many major schools and universities are competing to provide the best, most cost-efficient courses and workshops. Some of the most well-known globally accredited universities that offer a huge variety of online courses to choose from are:

Harvard University

Harvard University offers more than 600 online courses and allows you to get a sample taste of Ivy League education for free. Some of their free courses include High-Dimensional Data Analysis, Religion, Conflict and Peace and Food Fermentation: The Science of Cooking with Microbes.

University of California

The University of California, Berkeley, offers online courses on a wide range of subjects, such as Business Writing in English and Introduction to Financial Accounting. You can find the full list here!

Georgia Institute of Technology

This famed university was ahead of its competitors by several years, since it has been offering online courses since 2012. Data Analytics in Business, Innovation Leadership and Machine Design are just some of the many topics they boast of.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

One of the most reputed universities in the world, the school offers a selection of creative courses including Graphic Design Specialisation, Introduction to Real-Time Audio Programming and World Design for Video Games. Find more courses here!

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Now, this is an international research university that aims to advance the fields of teaching and research. They offer an impressive number of courses ranging from Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia to So You Want to Be a Surgeon? and Implant Dentistry. Feel free to check out more of their courses!

University College London (UCL)

One of the top universities in the UK, just some of the various courses they offer are Anthropology of Social Media: Why We Post, Critical Thinking and Academic Writing for Teachers, etc.

When it comes to hiring personnel as well, companies use digital job seeker platforms such as LinkedIn and GlassDoor. Taking the employee recruitment process online helps companies find a massive number of talented and qualified individuals with ease. People seeking employment, on the other hand, are able to curate their profiles and showcase their resumes and skills. They are also able to view nearby job vacancies and apply for the same within just a minute or two.

Online education is quickly getting more popular than the traditional classroom, and purely for good reason. Of course, the hands-on learning experience we get from offline schools is arguably unmatched, but in turbulent times like this, it offers teachers and students a convenient way to communicate clearly and set their own pace. There’s also the added flexibility of setting up a schedule that fits everyone’s needs.

As a result of this and everything else we’ve discussed above, I think it’s pretty clear that online educational platforms help students maintain hope for their future. I, personally, have made use of some of these platforms to further develop my skills and interests when I felt upset at just how fragile and unsure our future is. Although there’s no telling how the time ahead of us will unfold, making good use of the resources available to us to keep improving ourselves can only bring positive results, right?

So, let’s stay hopeful, keep learning and remember to enjoy the process of it!