If you're new to the idea of online learning, there's a lot more to it than picking up trivia from infographics on Buzzfeed (we've all done it). Advances in technology and teaching methods mean that studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification online is more straightforward - and dramatically less costly - than ever. You can get top qualifications, keep your study costs down (around £4k total for a business degree or MBA) and still enjoy a social student experience. Here are just a few reasons to think about logging on to learn...
Quality instruction and resources
Online courses run by unis can give you access to the same level of teaching you'd receive if you turned up on campus. You'll often be in contact with exactly the same tutors and have access to the same material – except you can turn up to seminars in your pyjamas from the comfort of your bedroom. (You don't have to, though.)
Other options like the Online Business School provide the same high levels of tuition from professional academic authors and tutors, and will also help you harness the full power of the internet's toolbox. They'll guide you to great online learning materials as well as providing tutorials and study guides to help you develop.
“Most people just don’t realise that high quality lectures, tutorials, workshops, video and academic reports are available free. Even if they do, they don’t know where to find them,” says OBS founder John Holden. “We want to open up this vast business educational resource to anyone who wants to use it.”
Learning alongside others is an important part of any student experience. It helps you to push and challenge yourself, explore new ideas and share knowledge with people all over the world. Studying online doesn't mean being lonely with your laptop, either: the screen is a gateway to a whole online student community.
You can interact with your fellow learners in forums and via social media, for example. Students on OBS courses have access to a 24/7 student networking platform and take part in group webinars, too, and there's even scope for one to one online tutorials to get some focused contact time with academics (definitely get dressed for those if your webcam is on).
If you want to make your studies more affordable, online learning can be a very practical option. Many online courses cost significantly less than their real-world counterparts while offering identical qualifications, and you don't need to worry about travel or accommodation costs, or spending your entire loan in the coffee shop.
Some programmes can dramatically reduce your bill, putting a qualification within reach of those who might not have been able to consider it before. For example, OBS students can study two-thirds of an undergraduate degree or MBA qualification for less than £1,000 in some cases. They then 'top up' at a recognised uni to finish the course, which costs from £3,000. As John says, “why pay £27,000 for a business degree, when you can secure it for £4,000? And why pay £40,000 for an MBA when you can get one for a tenth of the cost?”
Get recognised qualifications
At the end of an online course you can come away with a qualification that will boost your existing career or get you started on a new one. Whatever your chosen subject, you'll be able to find an online learning option to suit you and a qualification that will make employers sit up and take notice. OBS students, for example, can gain a BA (Hons) in Business Management or an MBA from unis including Sunderland, Northampton and Lincoln.
Study any time, anywhere
Finally, online learning gives you a huge amount of flexibility. You log in at a time to suit you and learn at your own pace, making institutions like OBS a great option for professionals looking to study alongside their careers, or for those who have personal commitments that might make studying in person difficult.
Plus, you can access your course materials wherever you are in the world. All you need is a tablet or laptop and an internet signal (although we don't recommend business studies in the bath). So if you're looking for an option that makes top qualifications affordable and offers the chance to study alongside students from all over the world, you might be surprised by what online learning can offer. You can log out of Buzzfeed now.
P.S. OBS offers a free guide on “10 reasons why studying online for an MBA or Business Degree is the best decision you will ever make”.
Definitely worth getting a copy.