Through its innovative technologies and flexible delivery, remote learning (also known as distance education or eLearning) has gained well-deserved prominence in Australia’s education landscape.
In just the last decade, the number of domestic students studying remotely has increased from 21 to 29%. Over 300,000 university students were recorded to be taking part in some form of online study in 2017 – numbers that would have undoubtedly increased today. The industry currently generates over $3.3 billion in national revenue; and at a worldwide standpoint, is projected to be worth $325 billion (USD) by 2025.
Below, we explore the social, financial, and academic benefits of remote learning – and how it plays a key role in the career growth of many.
More control over your learning
Arguably its best selling point, those who undertake remote learning are offered far more flexibility and control over their own training schedule. As most – if not all – of its resources are provided online, remote students have the privilege of training where they wish.
In stark contrast to traditional education, where participants are forced to stick to rigid schedules and specific learning processes, remote education gives its students the freedom to engage with, digest, and analyse course content in ways that work best for them – and all according to their own daily or weekly plans.
This allows remote learners to carry on with their personal, work, or family-related commitments, while still attaining the education they’re after.
The flexible delivery of remote training additionally aids those living far from their training providers. Its easy, online accessibility saves students on travel hours and commute (or petrol) expenses; all that’s required is a computer and stable internet connection to help them tune in. Advanced video-conferencing software such as Skype and Microsoft Teams also offers the face-to-face interaction they need among trainers and peers from the comfort of their own home.
Ability to self-discipline
Of course, with the freedom to schedule and manage your own studies comes a high level of self-drive and discipline.
Earning that qualification straight from your bedroom – without the hassle of travel, a packed timetable, or constant teacher supervision – can be ideal, though its easy to slip into habits of procrastination. To be successful, remote learning requires its students to be just as efficient and organised as they’d be in a traditional academic setting; helping mould them into self-motivated, responsible individuals.
With the freedom and control they’re given, remote students are also held accountable for their own education – boosting their drive to study and work harder.
In fact, studies have found that those in “online learning conditions” performed better than those who were given conventional, face-to-face instruction. This is likely due to remote learning being a more personalised, independent activity – allowing people to study through methods that best suit them, and thus leading to better academic results.
As a result, remote students are more likely to stick with their courses. In fact, statistics show that e-learning increases retention rates by 25-60%.
Saves you time and money
As mentioned, remote learning saves its students of the long hours spent commuting or travelling to an campus environment. Fees surrounding student amenities are also non-existent, with expensive textbooks kept to a minimum – or none at all. (Plenty of e-Learning providers offer exclusively-online study materials.) Additionally, with the opportunity to study from home, parents needn’t invest in a extra childcare costs.
The financial savings run both ways – as educational providers also benefit from saving on campus facilities, extra staff, services, and physical materials. With resources maintained online, providers are also promoting more environmentally-friendly practices; by reducing the use of printing materials and paper-based guides or manuals.
With employees able to study at home (or even right from their office desk) – companies won’t have to deal with the extra downtime of them being away for their training sessions. Research has also indicated that online learning has the potential of trimming overall training time by 40-60% – so your workers will likely be right back at it in no time, upgraded skills and all.
Pursue other opportunities on the side
Given the flexibility to juggle other life commitments, remote learning allows its students to pursue other career or educational opportunities while completing their online coursework.
This could include taking up internships while studying, or enrolling in additional courses – with control over their schedule, remote students can very well tend to multiple professional goals and demands.
Those looking to study remotely needn’t limit their entire education to this mode of learning, either; students can choose a “mixed-modal” approach, in which they complete part of their studies online, and the others on-campus. This helps those who require physical, face-to-face interactions and training for specific courses, reserving more academic or theory-based courses for remote learning.
Additionally, the freedom to carry on with full-time work helps remote students upskill while furthering their careers. With 40% of jobs already affected by technological advancements, and automation set to take over more – reskilling has never been more of a necessity.
Findings from PwC’s Workforce of the Future report shows that three-quarters of its employed respondents are willing to update their skills. Remote learning not only makes this possible, but convenient, to pursue.
Finally, remote learning offers individuals with the vast networking opportunities through social media and online education platforms.
Lacking social connection is often cited as a consequence of remote learning; though with the wide range of online technologies now available, peer-to-peer or student-to-trainer interactions have never been more feasible – however remote.
In a traditional academic environment, student cohorts are limited to those they encounter in classrooms or lecture halls. Remote learning programs, however, expand your horizons to include students from other towns, cities or even countries; with online tools that make communication instantaneous and efficient. Social media channels such as LinkedIn are popular among these communities, along with platforms such as Google Docs and Trello that streamline project management and collaboration.
Online education also grants students with easy access to global industry experts – enriching your knowledge with their diverse perspectives and experiences.
Through advanced technologies, remote students can easily build their professional network; expanding their career opportunities right from their living room couch.
Looking to study online?
With its global success among current workers and high school graduates alike, online learning is here to stay. The medium allows for people to acquire the work-ready, industry skills they need – while remaining adaptive to their personal needs and schedule.
Aspiring ICT professionals can get the flexible, quality training they need through AIICT’s online courses. Students can delve into the fundamentals of cyber security, web development, or general information technology – while tailoring their studies according to work or other commitments. All courses culminate in nationally-recognised qualifications to boost your employability in an ever-competitive job market.
Kickstart your career in ICT today, and enquire with our experts on a course.