Even before the world was hit by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has seen immense growth. Despite South Africa easing steadily and slowly into the transition of online, over the last few months, educational institutions and students have had to fast track and adapt to e-learning.


What is online learning?


Online learning is an educational approach in which students and teachers follow a structured curriculum programme through the use of an electronic device. However, with the concept of traditional learning radically changing, online learning has seen a rapid increase due to its convenience, cost and accessibility.


And while online learning and distance learning are used interchangeably, the two are entirely different. Online learning offers a more blended approach which can include in-person interaction, whereas distance learning doesn’t.


The benefits


  1. Flexibility


Enabling you to learn and teach no matter where you’re located, online learning takes the need to physically attend class away and instead allows you to learn from the comfort of your own home. This means that people no longer have to worry about commuting to being caught up in traffic to attend class.


  1. Maximise your learning abilities


Since you’ll have more freedom, you’ll be able to tailor your schedule in a way that suits you. While online learning is still relatively new to some students and educational institutions, it allows students to learn at their own pace, allowing them to teach themselves and take their time in processing information before moving on.


  1. Career opportunities


By teaching you to be independent and solely accountable for your learning, online learning forces you to improve your time management skills following your own study time. 


This, in turn, results in you being able to take ownership and responsibility, which is a great example that can be used when undergoing a job interview. It showcases that once you’re committed to something, you’re able to persevere and see it through until the end, which is a skill that is desirable to many employers. It also showcases that you are dedicated and self-motivated, which are considered valuable skills within the workplace.


With access to multiple digital resources that can be integrated into lessons and forums, such as Microsoft Excel, google docs, slides and zoom, you’ll also be gaining digital skills and exposure that could help you in the future.


While some schools and students may still be adapting to online and digital learning, it is clear that online learning can be just as effective as traditional learning. While it may be weighed against several challenges, South Africa is weighed against many challenges, it still shows a positive process, preparing young minds to take on the digital environment and fourth industrial workplace.


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