Online courses are gaining popularity year on year with millions of students worldwide seeking out the flexibility that online learning courses offer. Students all over the world now enjoy being able to learn anything, from marketing to beauty, and programming to journalism, online. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a career changer, there’s a course out there to meet your personal and professional goals.
If you’re new to online learning, where should you start? Which course should you pick? What should you look for in terms of accreditation? And, how do you juggle other commitments with an online course? Online learning has a tremendous amount of benefits, but here’s a few to get you thinking.
- Achieve your career goals with online study
In the last few years, more and more businesses have recognized the benefits of online learning. Whether you wish to deepen your knowledge or change career paths completely, online study is a great option.Gone are the days that you choose a career for life and leave education after you finish school.
Research by IBISWorld states that online education in Australia has grown annually by almost 11%; citing the trend towards upskilling in the ever competitive job market, as the reason for the growing popularity of the industry.
Over 700 000 students have studied with Open Colleges and the numbers have been growing steadily. Open Colleges has produced a number of student success stories, helping people to realize their true career goals.
- Freedom and flexibility
Possibly the biggest advantage of online learning is the flexibility that comes with it. You can plan your studies around other important aspects of your life. Busy parents can fit their schedule around their kids’ school hours and holidays. Entrepreneurs can further their knowledge in the evenings. Night owls can watch lectures at night, outdoorsy types can study in the fresh air. You have total control.
Freedom and flexibility also mean that you are responsible for managing your own time and keeping motivated. Make sure you use a combination of useful productivity tips to help with motivation and apps and tools to keep you focused and organised.
- Faster and more reliable internet connections open up opportunities
In 1995 less than 1% of the world population had access to the internet; this figure is now at 40% with more than 3 billion people accessing the internet globally.
As internet connections get faster and more reliable, studying online becomes a more accessible option for more people. Even remote and rural areas are becoming better connected with access to satellite Wi-Fi; therefore you can take your studying with you just about anywhere in the world.
This doesn’t just increase the number of potential students who can study online as an option but makes the process of studying online easier. Videos can now be streamed or downloaded at much faster speeds, and can even be watched on mobile devices.
And if you’re worried you’ll miss out on having study buddies, you can now connect online and revise together using Google hangouts or Facebook groups.
So, what types of qualifications are students gaining online?
Australian students can access a range of qualifications online, from advanced diplomas, certificates and general interest courses.
Open Colleges also offers a large range of TAFE courses. Many online courses and modules can be counted as credit for traditional university courses. Others offer direct articulation into university courses.
Who is online study for?
People of all ages and backgrounds study online in Australia. According to studies by the Australian bureau of statistics, 46% of people use the internet for work purposes. More than two thirds of 15–24 year olds say they use the internet for studying.
The average age of online students is around 30 years and the majority are female. Interestingly, the majority of students are employed either full- or part-time, which shows how flexible the courses really are.
What can you study online?
Open Colleges offers around 150 different courses so there’s definitely something for you.
Traditionally, courses such as business administration and writing have lent themselves to e-learning. But now, there’s a wider choice of courses across all fields. Looking only at available writing courses, they range from script writing to non-fiction, and from science fiction to professional writing and editing.
Community minded students can choose from a large range of community and aged care courses, as well as counselling, vet nursing and allied health courses.
Classic marketing has been updated to include 21st century digital marketing strategies and social media marketing. Aspiring entrepreneurs can choose from small business courses, accounting, bookkeeping and more.
Creative students are spoilt for choice with courses ranging from creative writing to graphic and digital design, photography to fashion design and dressmaking.
Traditional courses like HR and accounting are of course, still popular, as are technical subjects like IT and programming.
How online courses are accredited
Before making any decisions on courses you’ll have to research one more thing – accreditation. In Australia, the body that takes care of educational recognition is the AQF, or Australian Qualifications Framework. The AQF ensures national consistency and quality control of all courses nationwide.
Studying on an accredited course has many advantages. For example, your qualification will be recognized across the whole country and will have the same status as on-campus courses, so it won’t matter if you study in Brisbane, Perth or online. Many of Open Colleges courses are accredited by the AQF – meaning that you can take your qualification with you anywhere within Australia.
Are you ready to study online?
As you can see, these are just a few of the benefits of studying online. The flexibility that e-learning offers allows you to fit studying into your life, no matter whether you’re a new high school graduate, a single parent, or you want to change careers or start a new career from scratch.
So, take some time to review the range of industry-developed courses available now.
Are you looking to start your career, up skill or change careers completely? Please share with us in the comments.