In today’s unstable times (on the job market), a continuous self-improvement seems to be mandatory, at least as far as education and new skills are concerned. Indeed, since the competition for jobs is so high, in order to keep up with what the other people who want your job can show, your resume must be forever improved with an extra line about the newest course or training you’ve graduated from. But in spite of the pressure that can derive from this sometimes, this isn’t as tedious as it may sound. As many of you probably already realized, going at a new training program every now and then can actually be quite fun and interesting; besides being instructive in whatever field you’re preparing to practice in. And being able to muster at least a bit of enthusiasm for it can certainly help you accomplish greater things with it.
But, for everyone who, by will or by need, is interested in tapping more into the rich offer for further education, a dilemma ensues quickly, about what is preferable: an online course or, rather, a traditional one held between four walls in an actual classroom or teaching space. In this post, we will synthetize together some of the most important issues pertaining to this topic, so you can then decide for yourself what suits your goals and your situation best. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enrolling for both kinds of courses – both traditional ones and the ones which come in the form of online training – from time to time, since each has its own perks, as you’ll see. But to properly sketch out this comparison, we need to draw out some criteria for it. A good starting point would be to compare the two categories of learning by difficulty to complete, by safety (in all possible aspects) and by efficiency.
As far as difficulty is concerned, which courses are preferable? The regular ones or the online training variety? The answer to that is that it depends. Of course, popular belief states that online training is somehow less serious than “normal” courses, and sometimes people who don’t actually plan to do any learning enroll in paid online programs in the hopes of getting an easy to obtain diploma for virtually no effort (besides the fee paid upon admission). Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, studies suggest that online training can sometimes be more difficult to follow through precisely because of such presumptions; it seems that people enrolled in them somehow don’t take it seriously enough and just postpone studying until it’s all too difficult to comprehend anymore.
So the answer to this topic is that online training programs are just as easy or just as difficult as regular ones in terms of how much they will solicit your brain or your skills. This is especially true if you enroll for a program within a prestigious university. Let’s suppose that you want to attend some LSU online courses, if you live in Louisiana. It’s going to be just as demanding as going to regular classes, only that it will be online. The only aspect in which it’s easier to attend a course online is the fact that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, on your own hours, and without wasting the required time of actually getting to class and back.
Moving on to the second criterion, which is that of safety, it’s important to mention that this can be divided into two different sub-aspects. If we are talking about actual physical safety, then it could be argued that it’s safer to stay indoors than to commute to class, but beyond this obvious and quite banal statement, there’s not much to add. Going outdoors always poses that minimal risk at any given point, but basing your decision to go out of the house on that is, of course, ridiculous. The second safety-related issue is, in contrast, far more important. If you’re going to enroll in an online training program instead of a regular one, you need to make sure that you’re going to receive a recognized and valuable certificate. There are two main ways of taking that precaution: you either enroll in the online version of a reputable university – like in the example already mentioned above, with the LSU online courses – so that you can be sure you’re getting the real thing; or, if the course isn’t hosted by such a university, you need to perform a background check. It’s as simple as making a couple of phone calls to your state’s educational authority, but it could make all the difference.
As for efficiency, the comparison between online courses and regular ones is again a matter not easily settled. If you’re an adult who has other responsibilities than this, like a job, for instance, then it might be better to attend the desired program online. If, on the other hand, you suspect that it might be hard to motivate yourself outside the pressures of an actual classroom, then you just may be better off going to a regular course. Only you can decide what’s best, but the most important thing is that, one way or the other, you already took the decision to start looking into the extra educational possibilities there are.