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How online education can help you save money and time

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 15 July 2019

In an increasingly digital world, the rise of online education opportunities isn’t an all-too surprising one. The industry has amassed more than three billion dollars in Australia, consisting of over 1,000 online education providers. With constant technological developments underway, – such as the rollout of NBN Internet and improvements to mobile technology, – this number’s only set to increase in the coming years. 

But what has made online education so successful, and how does it compare to traditional forms of learning?

Skillstalk discuss the significant difference between these two academic modes, and its prevalent financial and time-saving benefits.

Online education: Is it worth it?

  1. Online education vs. traditional education.
  2. Is online education effective?
  3. Online education saves you tons of time.
  4. How online learning can fast-track your career.
  5. Be financially-savvy with online education.

1. Online education vs. traditional education.

The biggest difference between online forms of education and traditional learning is, of course, the internet-based content. Traditional practices in academia would require students to attend a campus, absorb information through live lectures and workshops, and abide by a fixed classroom timetable. 

Online education, on the other hand, has far more flexible content delivery, and provides students with the opportunity to learn at their own pace and schedule. Your studies are constantly accessible, and can be completed anytime, anywhere – allowing you to acquire a qualification while tending to other personal or work-related commitments. 

2. Is online education effective?

mum studying online with daughter

In short – yes. Numerous studies have demonstrated how online education outcomes are on par – or in some cases, outperform – that of traditional, on-campus studies. 

In a paper by David Pritchard for the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (alongside a few other researchers from MIT and Harvard), findings pointed to greater learning outcomes from online studies, compared to that of a traditional, “lecture-based” course. In their study, even the students most unprepared for an online assessment nevertheless displayed a substantial understanding of the online content.

A study by Gallup released early this year showed that graduates of the U.S.-based, all-online Western Governors University had greater career success and overall wellbeing than those from more traditionally-modelled colleges. 72% of these students reported a highly-positive experience under the university’s curriculum, doubling that of all national graduates and those other traditional universities.  

Forbes writer, Brandon Busteed, attribute such successes to the flexibility and engagement that online education has to offer. With greater, constant access to learning materials and academic support, students are likely to gain a more positive, efficient, and impactful academic experience. 

3. Online education can save you tons of time.

 With the convenience of having all your resources available online – from class forums and exclusive school intranets to digital readings and recorded lectures, this form of study can help you effectively optimise your schedule.

Hour-long drives or commutes to a physical campus will no longer be necessary, for example. This not only adds valuable time to your day; students also needn’t worry about “missing” or being late to classes due to poor weather conditions. 

You can jump right into your studies from the comfort of your own couch, bed, or wherever best suits you. Students can also choose to work as late or as early as they wish, without having to consider the “opening hours” of campus facilities.

Additionally, there’s the advantage of studying at your own pace. Whether you require more time and effort to grasp your coursework or can breeze through it in half the average time – as a student of online learning, you can split and schedule your time investment in whichever way works for you. 

(On the flipside, this online delivery may also benefit your instructors: a 2017 Brandon Hall report revealed that eLearning options can take up to 40-60% less time on-boarding and training new employees.)

The ability to set your own schedule also provides you with the opportunity to focus on your hobbies, or other personal, family, and work commitments. You can choose to listen to audio lectures at the gym, tend to readings while supervising the kids at home, or pursue part-time work experience while completing your qualification – as we discuss in the next point.

4. How online learning can fast track your career.

The opportunity to seek career opportunities on the side is another prominent, time-saving benefit of online education – proven to have accelerated the career paths of many graduates. 

A 2013 survey by The Learning House reported that 44% of online students experienced positive employment outcomes upon graduation, such as acquiring a full-time job within 12 months of completing their qualification.

Due to the flexibility of online learning, individuals have the convenience of pursuing work experience in their desired industry, alongside their studies. This will undoubtedly stand out to employers upon graduation, who are likely to prefer the qualified individual with valuable, practical experience – over the qualified graduate with none. 

Melanie Gibson, a senior recruiter for the recruitment firm, Keegan Adams, states that “…if anything, we can sometimes view online courses as more positive because it shows that the candidate is managing their commitments and time often with the goal of finding full-time employment to support themselves, which can be desirable qualities to employers.”

With an online course, you might also have the option of transferring credit from previous work experience or qualifications.  

5. Be financially-savvy with online education.

saving money concept

Finally, students can experience plenty of financial benefits from online learning. Apart from saving on commuting, petrol, and textbook expenses, individuals may even be eligible for tax-deductible self-education expenses.

According to the Australian Taxation Office, those who pursue self-education in relation to their current work activities (e.g. employees who pursue courses to upskill in their role) may be able to claim a deduction. In some cases, some are able to reduce their tax claim by up to $250. Eligible courses would have to lead to a formal qualification and display a sufficient connection to one’s current work role. 

Additionally, online students may benefit from government-funded courses.  

With Australia’s government committed to retraining and upskilling the national workforce, a variety of funding schemes are available per state, providing individuals with the incentive of pursuing further education. 

Upskilled is an RTO that includes such funding with their courses, making it easier for participants to improve and advance their career prospects with online learning. Citizens can take advantage of these subsidised courses.

So, is online education for you?

The demanding investment in traditional, continued education can be a barrier for many – but not with online learning. With all your study materials and interactions set in the digital realm, this academic format successfully rids of all unnecessary time-sinks and expenses. Students are able to enjoy both its time management and financial advantages, while still acquiring their desired qualification.

As mentioned, Upskilled is an organisation that prides in delivering such academic options – with qualifications in a wide spectrum of industries; from information technology to retail and sales. Enquire today, and get started on your online educational journey. 
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