Online courses, commonly viewed as twofold: The cheaper alternative for schooled education, and faster method of learning outside of school. The key takeaway in these two statements? Online learning does not involve school. Of course I am not suggesting school be abolished, I am instead highlighting that learning can take place effectively outside of the traditional classroom environment. And as recent trends show, online platforms for education are becoming increasingly popular.
In recent years, renowned education bodies even took a leap into adapting online learning. In 2013, NUS was the first university in Singapore to offer free online courses. Thereafter, NTU followed and launched two free online courses that garnered over a whopping 27000 participants, even offering undergraduate participants a way to earn additional credits.
The appeal is not at all difficult to grasp. Being able to learn while in pajamas, not needing heavy textbooks to lug around, no need to catch the morning buses and trains, nor frantically search for parking spaces, online learning certainly seems beneficial in a myriad of ways.
Participants of online courses are also given the luxury of time, being able to choose their own hours to study. An early bird or a night owl, what’s your preference? Learn at your most optimal hour.
There is also the advantage of greater student participation online than you typically have in a classroom. If you happen to be an introvert, fearing that the teacher picks you to answer the question instead of the other kids raising their hands, you would feel at ease being able to contribute to online debates.
These are the physical comforts online courses grant their students but such courses also allow the enhancement of one in a certain profession, even advancing his career further. Keeping abreast of current technologies and other work ethics can be tricky when already a member of the workforce, and at times it isn’t feasible to just drop work for an extended period to participate in a workshop, postgraduate degree and the like. And sometimes it isn’t that easy to juggle both working life and night school to pick up those extra skills. Online learning therefore serves as the perfect solution for this working demographic.
Currently, the recently launched SkillsFuture initiative offers over 10000 courses of various fields to anyone, no matter age, status or vocation, as an opportunity to further or gain new skills and knowledge. Powerhouse organisations are backing the initiative with companies like Singtel granting its staff two additional days of leave annually to attend SkillFuture courses.
While this scheme is extremely beneficial, you can see how companies are still challenged by time constraints in granting longer and stable periods to employees to pursue these courses. Are two days really enough to learn new skills? To address this problem, companies should implement online courses from within as opposed to external schemes.
At London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), an eLearning platform, “agileLearning” was launched to provide over 800 courses that can be accessed at any time, any place, and on any device. Purported to provide a flexible learning experience to anyone no matter if they are new in their career, or an established professional or manager, agileLearning allows the learning or refreshment of knowledge and skills.
For the individual, pay a small monthly fee of $9.90 for a computer skills course, or pay a monthly fee of $19.90 for soft skills course, or pay $99.90 for soft skills and computer skills course bundle of 50 courses, it is entirely up to you. Or go for the corporate rate and equip everyone with access, while at the same time having the capability of customising and even creating your own courses. Always wanted to brush up on those Excel spreadsheet skills of yours? Or just wanted to improve or gain some nifty soft skills? agileLearning is the platform for you.
As LSBF sets a shining example of promoting lifelong learning while engaged in the hustle and bustle of working life, we need to acknowledge that not only time but one’s own comfort stresses the success of online learning. Being able to leave the office and go home instead of night-school and being able to catch your favourite TV shows without sacrificing time for online learning are just some of the advantages of online courses.
As the trend suggests, online learning is only a new feat that is garnering massive popularity and support. Already education institutions and global corporations are embracing the concept of the furtherance of personal skills and interests and are fostering a healthy learning environment. Online learning is essentially becoming a mainstay of ceaseless education and is only evolving to greater heights.