A Student’s Perspective on Online Learning

See also: Lifelong Learning

Online learning was considered as an innovative and interactive way to study upon its launch. But, how do students see and think about online learning now? Let’s find out.

Student with a yellow tee-shirt studies online.

We can sleep more

While we can’t deny the fact that going to class and seeing friends is pretty exciting, waking up early in the morning is pretty hard. Even though this early school schedule is destined to prepare the students for the 9-5 world of work, the thing is that most students would appreciate a few more hours of sleep. Actually, according to research, a well-rested student enjoys and performs better at school, compared to a sleep-deprived student. Due to the early schedule and students’ lack of sleep, traditional schools are often filled with students who feel as tired as jet-lagged people.

However, this changes with online learning as students say they don’t have to wake up as early as they would for traditional classes. Since they don’t have to get ready and commute for school, all this time can be spent on additional hours of sleep.

There are no distractions

While some students might like the school environment with lots of students in the hallways and noise in the background, some aren’t as keen. While in class, there can be distractions like intercom announcements or disruptive students, and the focus is gone. On the other hand, online learning is an entirely different learning experience. Students report that distractions of this type don’t occur when studying online. The student is alone in their room with the technological device in front of them, focused and ready to learn.

I can study at my own pace

Traditional learning requires students to go to school every day to be there when the lectures start. With online learning, this isn’t a requirement as you can watch recordings of these lectures whenever you feel like studying. According to students, if done right, studying at your own pace can demonstrate competency, or you can move more slowly and ask for additional support. While it might seem hard at the beginning to convince yourself not to procrastinate, once you make a schedule you’ll stick to it.

I can create my study schedule

There are many reasons why a student might not be able to attend the traditional classroom. Reasons may include caring for a sick family member, watching over a sibling, or being pregnant at the time. With online learning, these people won’t be left behind but will be able to focus on their studies when convenient.

I can pursue my passions

With school responsibilities and extracurricular activities, sometimes there isn’t enough time left for students to focus on their dreams and passions. That’s why most of the students who choose online learning are those following a certain passion that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to pursue in a traditional school. With its flexibility, distance learning makes it possible for students to commit to more than one thing during the day.

I don’t have to compete to share my thoughts and opinions

Sometimes in a traditional class it’s the loudest student who gets heard and not everybody gets to make their voice heard. With online learning, however, students enjoy equity in expressing their thoughts and ideas. The best part is that you don’t always have to talk and there are other ways you can express yourself: by commenting on posts and videos, or participating in discussion boards and forums, for example. It’s great that students don’t feel pressured or anxious to speak in front of an entire class.

Skills students develop through online learning

Female student with glasses gazes beyond her laptop.

Students claim that among the benefits they get from an online education, there are also many other skills they develop. We list some of these skills below.

Responsibility and self-discipline

To be successful when studying online, students must possess a certain level of motivation, responsibility, and self-discipline—especially those who have to juggle multiple job and family responsibilities. Online learning statistics show that responsibility and self-discipline are key factors that determine achievement. Self-motivation will help students stay on top of their studies while also managing to finish all the other tasks that are required of them.

Time management skills

The target demographic of online education is mostly employed students and parents. Typically, these people don't have much time to attend a traditional school, and that’s why the flexibility of studying online appeals to them. However, online studies’ flexibility doesn’t mean that you get to procrastinate and let the tasks and assignments pile up. That’s where time management comes in. Throughout their online studies, students learn to use their time effectively so that they don’t drop behind.

Technical skills

While in the traditional classroom, students may not be required to frequently use technology, online learning is a whole other deal. Everything is done on an electronic device. Being an online student means that most of your time is spent in front of a computer reading and finishing assignments. While at the beginning of your studies, you might have had a basic knowledge on technology, after a while, you may master the technical skills required as well.

Communication skills

Communication skills are vital for online learning because students have to keep in touch with their teachers and fellow students. Even though distance communication might look simple at first sight, it also has some rules that students need to follow. While traditional students mostly talk to their teachers and colleagues face-to-face, with online learning this isn’t a regular occurrence. While a real-time talk increases your chances of being understood due to verbal cues used, in distance learning these aren’t much help. This is why online students learn to articulate their thoughts in full and clear sentences to avoid the risk of being misunderstood.

Writing skills

Writing skills are usually associated with being able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly, coherently, and concisely. In online learning, this applies too, but it also includes the ability to speed-type words on a computer. The lack of time and the immediacy of finishing written assignments teaches students to think and type faster.

Online learning has many advantages, and students seem to confirm this by the large number who are choosing this platform to complete their education. According to these students, online learning doesn’t only benefit them from an educational perspective, but also their personal development.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

Skills You Need

Develop the skills you need to make the most of your time as a student.

Our eBooks are ideal for students at all stages of education, school, college and university. They are full of easy-to-follow practical information that will help you to learn more effectively and get better grades.

About the Author

Diana Bajraktari is a writing enthusiast and loves to write about topics that tackle educational issues. As a former student herself, she spends most of her time writing about student experiences and personal development. She hopes that through her writing, she’ll be able to help students to get the most out of their studies. Currently, she’s writing for the University of the Potomac blog.