The world of education has changed right before our eyes.  

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most students were commuting to school regularly, sitting in classrooms listening to lectures and doing lessons, and doing group activities face-to-face with their peers.  

Fast forward a couple of months and the way we were used to learning quickly changed into something new; for many people, it was downright frightening.

No doubt, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to participating in virtual classrooms.  The concept relies heavily on technology and the ability to be self-sufficient.  

If you’re one of those individuals that winces whenever you hear the idea of an “online course”, it’s time to face your discomfort and embrace the new face of education!  

With a little push and some practice, you’ll quickly get used to it.  Plus, there are many benefits to virtual learning that make it worthwhile, including:

  • It’s eco friendly and reduces your carbon footprint.
    • No paper or physical textbooks, no fuel costs or emissions, and significantly less electricity and power used – these are some of the main environmental benefits that virtual learning has. 

DID YOU KNOW? –  According to eLearningIndustry.com, online requires 90% less energy than traditional on-site classroom education and CO2 emissions per student are reduced by 85%.

  • It’s good practice for work (think “remote-working”)
    • When you’re taking a virtual class, there are several digital activities and platforms that you’ll need to use to communicate with your instructor and classmates and complete assignments.  Many of these platforms are also used in remote working environments that allow employees to work from home.  This allows for flexibility and greater work-life balance.
    • Examples of the digital platforms used include: 
      • File sharing platforms (Google Drive, Dropbox)
      • Video conferencing apps (Zoom, Skype)
      • Collaboration software (Google docs, sheets, slides)

DID YOU KNOW?   “Up to 80 percent of businesses use social collaboration tools for enhancing business processes.” (source: Bit.Ai)

  • There’s a good chance that you’ll remember concepts better.
    • Repetition – Online courses typically utilize short, interactive content that a learner can replay as many times as necessary.
    • Microlearning – Learning is divided into smaller, more manageable learning chunks.  Breaking content up helps with making the information memorable and can ease the feeling of being overwhelmed.

DID YOU KNOW? –   According to educational theorist David Kolb, one of the key ways a person learns best is by doing, not just watching, reading, or listening.  When you learn online, you’re more engaged in the process by doing things like signing into a computer, downloading a lesson, pulling it up on the computer, and interacting with the keyboard and screen. 

  • It’s convenient and flexible.
    • If you work full-time, have other types of commitments that are time-specific, or maybe if you’re just a night-owl – virtual learning offers time flexibility so you can take courses and/or complete assignments that work with your schedule.
    • Sitting in a classroom for extended periods of time is not for everyone.  Completing online classes at home allows you the freedom to get up, shift positions, or move about so you can re-energize and re-focus.

DID YOU KNOW? –   As long as you have an internet connection, you can take a virtual class on almost any device such as laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.

  • You’ll improve your self-management skills  
    • When you don’t have to physically be somewhere at a specific time, you’re forced to become the captain of your own ship.  You have to rely on yourself to log into your lessons and meet deadlines so you don’t fall behind.
    • Flexibility and work-life balance opens up the opportunity to become more self-disciplined and to learn important time management skills.
    • If you have deadlines to meet but no one physically present to hold you accountable, you learn quickly how important it is to plan well and stay organized.

DID YOU KNOW? –  Self-management skills are important in the workplace.  There are two types of self-management rewards at work: internal and external.  Internal rewards include meaningfulness, purpose, a feeling of competence, and satisfaction.  External rewards can include incentives such as greater commissions, bonuses, perks, or promotions.  You may be able to build stronger relationships and deliver higher quality work.

As you can see, virtual learning has several advantages.  Even if only part of your learning is done in a virtual setting, you will still see the benefits.  It can take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be glad you did it!  

At PALC, we have included virtual delivery in our programs.  Many of our students have never experienced online learning before.  After a period of adjustment, they are now enjoying the experience and have added digital skills to their tool belt.   Think about the things you can gain as an adult learner by pursuing your studies virtually!