Could online study become the new normal for higher education?

higher education

Online study has become hugely popular over the past few years, so would it be possible for this type of learning to become the new normal for higher education?

Most experts in the online learning industry believe that this could definitely be the case, but let’s take a look at some of the reasons why online study, in general, is proving to be so popular.

The COVID-19 outbreak

The popularity of online learning was growing at a rapid rate before the pandemic, but it would be fair to say that since the early part of 2020, many people got involved with online study because they essentially didn’t have any choice in the matter.

The restrictions that were put in place all over the world meant that online learning was the only option open to anyone who wanted to learn a new skill or further their knowledge in a profession that they were already part of.

The result of this situation took many people by surprise in that they found that they actually preferred online learning as opposed to the more traditional methods.

Admittedly, the thought of actually going out and risking infection played a big part in this attitude, but as time has progressed and the threat of COVID-19 has somewhat diminished, the popularity of online study does not seem to have waned.

There is also the concern that future waves of the pandemic will return at a later date, not to mention various other diseases, the news of which the international media like to frighten everyone with – so the ‘staying safe’ factor will continue to play a big part in the popularity of learning online.

Time constraints

Depending on the type of online learning, it is usually possible to fit in the learning around various time constraints that learners face during an average day.

For example, a working mom would be able to spend an hour or so learning in the evening when the children have gone to bed and people are able to plan their learning around their jobs.

Compare this with having to go to college in the evening once or twice a week and everything that goes with that, the time and money spent on travel, and having to go out in the dark, for example.

You don’t have to look very hard to realize the many benefits of studying online, so it is of no surprise why so many people much prefer learning in this way.

The ability to learn at your own pace

No matter what the subject, different people learn at a different pace. It could be that someone already knows the subject well, so they are able to breeze through the learning modules, while other people may struggle to get a grasp of the lessons.

This has always been the case, from schools to colleges, but learning in this traditional way does definitely have its drawbacks.

For example, if someone is learning quickly, they can often be held back in a group by people who are experiencing some difficulty, while those who are learning more slowly can end up feeling embarrassed and eventually dropping out of class.

The ability to learn at one’s own pace negates these problems and leaves the student able to get far more out of the online learning.

The cost

The cost for online and offline study programs can at first sight seem to be pretty similar, but when you take into account the costs involved with offline study and travel costs, for example, studying online can usually represent big savings.

In these times of economic woes, the savings are not to be sniffed at, and when you also consider that the qualifications are the same for online and offline study, the cost is an important factor that often sways the decision of students who are unsure about which route to take.

It should be noted, of course, that the cost of online study can vary greatly, depending on the type of course that is being undertaken.

For example, studying for a higher education teaching certificate will be more expensive than a basic course in bookkeeping, but these differences in cost apply whether it is online or offline study.

Choose your home study provider wisely

As the most cynical of you would probably expect, not all home study providers are as reputable as they would have you believe, so it is important that you take the time to research the credibility of a provider to ensure that any qualifications you achieve are actually worth anything.

As an example, in the case of an MA education online, Exeter University is ranked as one of the top 125 universities in the world and comes with a reputation that can only be described as first-class.

At the other end of the spectrum, if a home study provider has only been established over the past year and has a qualification that you have never heard of, is it really worth taking the risk in terms of time and money studying for something that may have no value at all?


There is no doubt that the future for online study is bright, especially if you are learning with a reputable organization that offers a recognized and respected qualification on completion.

The benefits of studying at your own pace along with the savings in travel costs are a big plus for home study, not to mention the peace of mind if another pandemic raises its head at any time in the future.

The only real downside is that some students will miss the company that a classroom-type setting offers. However, when everything is taken into consideration, it is not difficult to understand why online learning is proving to be so popular, and there is no reason why this trend will be slowing down at any time over the months and years ahead.

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