Currently, knowledge, skills and experience are of particular importance in the context of economic relations and fierce competition in the labor market. Acquiring new knowledge and skills, practically useful in the work in the era of the information society significantly expands the possibilities of self-realization and promotes career growth. However, the shortage of time is the main drawback facing those who want to continue their education (while most of them already work).
Most people do not have the opportunity to come to school every day. Another significant obstacle is the distance. If the school is located in another city, frequent attendance is also uncomfortable and expensive.
The “classical” off-campus study often does not justify its purpose. The student’s knowledge is often superficial, and the lessons themselves are unproductive. In addition, the learning process continues for a long time.
Online learning (e-learning, distance learning) is a method of acquiring new knowledge using the Internet in real time. Currently, the e-learning industry is one of the most rapidly developing technologies in the world in the field of education.
Due to its convenience, distance education is becoming an increasingly popular form of education. According to University of Texas El Paso, over 6 million Americans are enrolled in online courses and 68% of the online students are experienced professionals. In the age of information technology, online education allows us to solve one of the main problems that impede education and self-development – the reluctance to return to the “school desk”. The undoubted advantages of online distance learning courses are also:
- Ability for the learner to independently build a training schedule, as well as determine the duration of classes.
- Free choice. The student chooses any of the available courses of study, as well as independently plans the time, place and the classes’ duration.
- Availability. Regardless of geographic location and time, a student has an access to educational resources and course materials.
- Technical flexibility – the use of the latest achievements of information and telecommunication technologies in the educational process.
Who is online education suitable for?
Anyone who is interested in his or her development, both professional and intellectual. In addition, e-learning is popular among students, young people who just start their career, new entrepreneurs, and for specialists in their field, who want to expand their knowledge in a particular area.
Online training helps to start a business. New entrepreneurs always face the same problems – they often lack experience in new areas of knowledge, such as online marketing, team building and sales.
Such skills can be obtained in one of three ways:
- Learn from your own experience.
- Attend seminars, refresher courses.
- Take online courses.
Often we choose the first way, and this significantly complicates our lives. We make mistakes by mastering everything on our own experience while many of them could have been avoided. The cost of such errors is calculated in thousands of dollars and months of wasted time.
The second method requires a lot of time and money – not everyone has an opportunity to find time for attending seminars and trainings, which cost up to 50-80 thousand dollars.
Hence, there is a growing demand for online courses that have clear advantages over traditional training programs:
- Easy access. All you need is a computer with Internet access.
- Time saving. It is much easier to allocate 2-4 hours a week for self-education when there is no need to go anywhere and you can study at home or at work.
- Money saving. The same program can cost 5-15 times cheaper in the online version than in the traditional offline version. This is not surprising, since once having recording the material, the teacher does not spend his or her time on lecture.
- The effect of “test drive” – often we want to try to explore a new topic, like a new car, to understand whether it is necessary at all. Instead of spending a week and $1,000 on a program, you can spend few hours for $100 and understand how important and interesting the topic is.
- Permanent access to course materials. You will not miss a lecture because of illness, and you have the opportunity, if necessary, to listen to the material again and consolidate your knowledge.
At the same time, the online learning has obvious limitations:
- High requirements for students – you need to have greater motivation and self-discipline in order to listen to the course from beginning to end, when there are no lecturers, colleagues, or rigidly defined time limits nearby.
- Lack of live contact with the lecturer – it is not always possible to ask a question and difficult to get feedback.
- The need for high-quality Internet connection.
These limitations are gradually overcome by various technical and organizational decisions. For example, there are hybrid courses in which there are homework, live meetings and discussions, a time frame and consulting hours for teachers.
Online training increase the level of employees’ competence in companies and thus can prove to be an effective way to improve workplace productivity.
Studying online has become an integral part of medium and large businesses. A grooving number of companies are switching to online training forms, as it not just saves funds allocated for employee training, but also allows staff not to break away from the work process.
For many employers personnel development, including advanced training, has become a very important component of their business.
They understand the more professional employees are, the higher the quality of their products is, the faster and easier the whole company adapts to technological and organizational changes, and its competitive position become strengthened.
Employees, having been trained, gain a number of advantages over their colleagues.
Pro-Papers concluded that the modern pace of business development and high competition in the field of entrepreneurship have led to the modification of modern education form. Education via the Internet is becoming more popular in our time. Moreover, the profits are made not only by companies that have increased the level of competence of their employees, but also by educational institutions that develop and provide online training.