By Leslie Campos
Everyone in the education field – students and instructors alike – had to transition to some degree of online learning since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, colleges have been developing and perfecting the delivery of online education for a number of years, working to ensure they have viable options for those who want to pursue a degree while still holding down a job. If you’ve never taken online classes, the prospect might seem a bit daunting at first. However, once you understand how the process works, and see the many associated benefits that come with online education, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with these tips courtesy of Stairway to Leadership.
Necessity of Continuing Education
The way we work and learn is continually evolving, and according to Kiplinger, the jobs of the future are changing as well. That’s why it’s important to regularly assess your skills as a business owner or career trajectory and take steps to ensure you have the appropriate training and education necessary to adapt to fluctuations in your industry. You may opt to pursue a degree related to your current profession, as a way to advance in the field, or you might look to the fast-growing and critical areas of information technology, computer science, and cybersecurity – all rapidly advancing careers of the future. Graduate education, in particular, can help prepare you for people leadership and management roles.
How Advanced Degrees Help Your Career
While undergraduate degrees introduce you to the main tenets of your particular area of study, advanced degrees take your insight and knowledge to a new level. This is especially important in continually changing fields like IT. You’ll often have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, gaining relevant, timely knowledge that you can begin incorporating into your work right away. You’ll also interact with other students who may be working or running a business in the same industry, giving you the opportunity to learn from the experience of others while making valuable professional contacts.
Elements of Online Education
While in a traditional higher education setting, students typically participate in lectures, discussion groups, and some degree of project work, leading universities have found a way to replicate and even improve this system in an online setting. You’ll still have an opportunity to interact with fellow students, professors, and guest lecturers – you’ll just be doing it in a virtual environment. This may include real-time and/or recorded lectures or presentations, group chats or discussion boards, and commentary posts. You’ll likely have access to online resources and reading materials, rather than hard-copy books, which is a highly efficient way to research, study and prepare course assignments.
Flexibility of Online Learning
Depending on the type of online education you’re pursuing, you’re likely to have a great deal of flexibility about where, when, and how you study, interact, and complete assignments or take tests. This system provides an exceptional degree of freedom, which can be especially useful if you’re caring for children or parents or working full-time. Additionally, studying from a remote environment can provide for greater focus and concentration, which can improve your overall productivity and learning outcomes. Keep in mind, professors, academic advisers, and university resources all remain accessible to you in an online learning environment.
For entrepreneurs and those climbing the ladder, a degree isn’t the only reason to go to school. IF there are skills you’ve always wanted to learn, particularly if they’ll be useful to the business. You’ve got a good eye for photography but have never taken a class. You think you’d be good at graphic design but have never tried. You could learn web design, digital marketing, or coding. The more you do to support the business, the more you’ll grow along with it.
Just this last December, Maggie has graduated from a fully online executive MBA program at Jack Welch Management Institute. This 3-year journey allowed her not only to become a better coach for her clients but also to run her own business more strategically.