Filling in the Gaps - Courses
Distance learning can fill in the gaps of traditional learning.
- The COVID-19 pandemic was a prime example. Suddenly many students and teachers were not able to meet physically. Mainstream education went online for the first time for many. Teachers and pupils were suddenly required to give and receive lessons online.
- However, online education providers have been providing education for students in this way for many decades. They are experienced and knowledgeable in educating others in this way. Mainstream educators therefore experienced a steep learning curve understanding the techniques, skills and knowledge already possessed by distance learning providers.
- COVID-19 is not the only example though of where online learning fills the gaps. To run a course in a physical school, college or university, a certain number of students are required. A course is not likely to run if there is only one student. This means that less popular courses can end up being cancelled. If a student was that one student, the one who wanted to do the unpopular course, they might then struggle. But many distance learning providers do not operate like that. Many operate on a rolling programme where students can enrol as and when they want to. This means that for many online providers, there is not a requirement to have a certain number of students before the course is run.
- Let’s just stop here for a second though. What do we mean by unpopular courses? An “unpopular” course might actually be a niche course. There may not be hundreds of people wanting to learn how to grow and care for crops of lavender, but some people do need to know how to do that. Therefore, a course in lavender crop production is essential. Unpopular courses may actually, then, be niche courses, specialist courses. Online education providers are able to offer these as they are not so tied down to maintaining bricks and mortar properties and a certain number of students. This means that online education providers are able to offer these niche, specialist courses to the people who want to study them.
Filling in the Gaps – People
Some people finish school or college or university and never want to return. They may have bad experiences or memories about traditional education. These are the potential students that can fall through the gaps. They may need or want additional training, but do not have good memories of education. Online courses can help them in a number of ways –
- They can train in any subject that they are interested in.
- They do not have to attend a physical school, college or university.
- They can study when they want to.
- They can have a different and new experience of learning compared to what they have received in the past.
Other people may find it hard to attend a traditional course. For example, they may –
- Have mobility issues
- Difficulties mixing with other people
- Live in a remote location
- Not live anywhere near a school/college or university that offers the course they want to do.
- Be a Digital Nomad
Some people may find it hard to attend classes as a result of their life and profession.
For example –
- Shift workers
- People who do not have childcare
Online education can help these potential students. They can study when and where they want to.
- They do not have to worry about arranging childcare.
- They can study when they are not at work. This could be the middle of the night or during the day.
- They do not have to travel to get to their lesson.
All in all, online learning can be a convenient way of learning for people who struggle to attend a physical premises. IF they can find a course in their area in the first place, of course.
Filling in the Gaps – Employers and Organisations
Online courses can also fill in the gaps for employers and organisations who wish to train their staff. IN the world there is a current trend happening cxalled the great resignation. Employers are looking to Slow the Great Resignation by Succession Planning .
Succession planning is a process where an organisation will identify and develop future leaders, managers and important staff to fill important roles in a business. The aim is to ensure that there is another member of staff available, trained and ready, to take on the role when someone leaves.
Succession planning therefore involves ensuring that staff are trained in the right skills and knowledge ready for them to take on new job roles as needed.
Employers however may not be able to send staff off to train, for a day a week, a week a month, a year, three years and so on. Online learning gives them another option. Their staff can train around their workload, at a time and location to suit both the employer and the employee.
As well as being able to study in a convenient and flexible way, online learning also offers employers and organisations the opportunity to train their staff in the subjects that the organisation requires. A small niche organisation, a hydroponics shop, for example, may need their staff trained in hydroponics. Online Courses enables them to train their staff in their niche and specialist area easily and effectively.
Benefits of Online Learning
There are many other benefits of online learning –
- Students can study when they want to. This can be early morning, in the middle of the night, in their lunch hour. They can study daily at a regular time, or at the weekend, or irregularly to suit them and their schedule.
- Students can study where they want to. At home, in a coffee shop, a library, at work during breaks, in their car, on the train. Wherever they can take a device, such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, they can take their course.
- Some online providers follow traditional educational term dates, but not all do. The fact that a student can start at any time to suit them means that the courses have a more individualised approach. A student can start when suits them and work at their own pace. They can work through a course quickly or take their time.
- As there are many different courses available, the course or courses a student chooses to study can be specific and individualised to them.
- From a business and online education provider point of view - it is possible to Increase enrolments using self design certificates or bundles which benefit the student and the workplace.
- As we said earlier, online learning providers can provide a wide and diverse range of courses. These can be popular courses that a lot of people want to study, but also specialist and niche courses focussing on certain areas. For example, a training provider might focus specifically on wildlife courses.
- Online teachers are enthusiastic and have chosen to focus in the non-traditional sphere of learning.
- Online teachers and writers are specialists in their area, but they also like the advantages of online learning. They can work where they want to. They can work when they want to. This ease of work and flexibility of online teaching means that they also benefit from the online learning environment.
- Students benefit from having enthusiastic and specialist tutors. Tutors who are keen on their subject, open to variety and change.
- Online tutors are also constantly updating their knowledge meaning that they have current, up to date knowledge and are constantly expanding and developing their knowledge to help their students.
- Online education offers many benefits to students. Online education is flexible and convenient. It also enables students to study courses that may not be available to them in traditional education settings.
- Online providers tend to be innovative in terms of how courses are written, taught and presented to students. New technologies are developing all of the time and online providers need to be at the forefront of new technologies to continue to improve and develop the way that courses are offered to their students.
- Online learning LMS Platforms (Learning management systems) make study easy from anywhere and everywhere.