Online learning has a range of benefits for the student. It has also made education more accessible to students who might not want, or may be unable, to move away or travel for several reasons.
Family or caring responsibilities
Some students will have children, or be caring for other members of their family, or close friends, so moving away to study, or having to attend a local university in person can be difficult. They may be reluctant to get outside help for caring until they’re qualified and working in their chosen profession.
Working at their own pace around caring for family can be preferable. Institutions such as Wilkes University offer online opportunities to those with existing responsibilities. Providing they meet deadlines for coursework, and applying for their chosen degree, such as the Wilkes University application deadline, they can study at a time and place that suits them.
Although students may qualify for financial aid, many can’t afford to take time away from work to study at a brick-and-mortar university at predetermined days and times. By studying online, it means they can work shifts or take on casual work to support themselves and fit in study around work.
Studying online also cuts down on the cost of traveling or moving into temporary student accommodation nearby a university while paying for their permanent residence, so they have somewhere to go back to after gaining their degree.
Being away from a support network
For many students either returning to learning after a break, or making the move into higher education, they will need the support of friends and family. Moving away to study, or spending time traveling long distances, aren’t viable options for them. Being able to study online means staying close to their support network at home. Online study can also encourage people with disabilities to further their education.
The typical working day isn’t 9-5 like it used to be. For many people, shifts are the norm and some people are required to work away from home, or often have to take on work at the last moment to earn extra money. Others may have a certain number of hours available to study, but family commitments or jobs mean they can’t sign up for a conventional university degree. Online study provides the flexibility these people, and others with other uncertain lifestyles, need to be able to gain a degree.
For example; if a student works in a job where he or she often has to travel or spend nights away from home, they can study on the move. This would interfere with offline learning and cause them to miss lectures or turn down work and risk losing their job or having to survive on less money.
Overall, online learning has made it easier for people to gain their degree, without having to spend money on moving away or traveling to study. Higher education can be a big step, so anything which helps encourage people to take that first step is a good thing.