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What is the main thing preventing you from going back to school — name it. For a lot of people, the answer is easy: they have family and work commitments that simply don’t allow for a full class schedule. Often, it’s not worth it for people to take the time out of their busy days to go to a campus and learn, even if they’re only enrolled part-time. Indeed, even a part-time class schedule is a schedule. You can’t make your own hours, and you can’t expect classmates and teachers to accommodate your specific needs. Most of the time, classes are taught at least twice a week, and sometimes even four or five times a week. It’s one thing to find time out of your day to devote to learning — it’s another matter entirely for that time to be the same every day. Whether you want to finish a degree or start a new one, or simply sharpen your skills in one specific area, you have options. In this day and age, many people are studying online rather than attending in person classes. Online lectures can serve as an alternative for typical college courses, or simply as a means through which students can better themselves academically. Let’s look into how online lectures work, and what the benefits are of taking advantage of them.

What Sets Online Courses Apart From Traditional Courses?

Obviously, online classes are taught online rather than in person — this is the biggest difference you’ll notice between the two options. The format of your course will depend on the type of course you’re seeking specifically. Some don’t offer lectures, especially if the course you’re taking doesn’t necessarily require them. A math course, for example, might involve you completing work online and talking on the phone with your instructor, rather than watching lectures online. A history course, conversely, would benefit greatly from recorded lectures. In some cases, lectures can even occur live. Rather than watching a pre-recorded lecture, a student can use video conferencing technology to watch a lecture as it happens, and sometimes even ask questions. Online courses are not just for people who don’t have any time for traditional courses — lots of college students take online courses alongside traditional courses, with 32% of higher education students now taking at least one online course. But what are the advantages of choosing an online course over a traditional course?

How Can Online Courses Benefit Students?

Depending on your program, online courses can often be taken for credit equivalent to that of traditional courses. Online courses allow you to make your own schedule. Usually, only courses that have live lectures require any kind of specific timeframe. Instructors may set dates by which certain assignments must be due, but other than that students shouldn’t find an issue with doing their classwork on their own time 68% of online students report that they appreciate their abilities to balance work, family, and social responsibilities. Meanwhile, 64% love being able to study anywhere, anytime, and at their own convenience. There is a certain community that comes with online learning — it’s not quite the same as what you’d find in a traditional course, but it’s certainly not lesser. 64% of people who took online courses reported that it helped them make friends. Certainly, being able to take a course online allows you to make more time for your personal life — even if you don’t make friends while taking your courses, you’ll be able to keep track of the friendships you already have thanks to your flexible schedule.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate For Online Learning?

There is no specific “ideal candidate” for online learning. Lots of different people can benefit from online learning, and it’s a great option for anyone looking to go back to school without the hassle of returning to campus. Whether you’re looking to take an online course because of work, family, or health reasons, all you have to do is talk to a guidance counselor about how to get started.