While a regular income and steady employment seem advantageous, many professionals find it difficult to move past a certain stage in their career without an additional set of skills or knowledge. Apart from being a barrier to their personal growth, many companies also have certain requirements for higher positions which often leads to stagnation.
Distance learning programs are a great way to overcome this hurdle and upskill oneself without quitting work or compromising on a steady flow of income.
What are Distance Learning Programs?
Courses that are taught or delivered remotely and allow students to take up their assignments and coursework without needing to be physically present in a classroom can be called distance learning programs.
Some of the most popular distance learning programs happen through video conferencing or online courses, making it convenient for students to access their coursework whenever and wherever convenient.
Why should working professionals consider choosing an online learning program?
Such programs prove extremely advantageous for working professionals for numerous reasons, some of which are listed below.
- Affordability: Online learning programs are a lot less expensive than a full-time college program, which not only includes tuition costs but several additional costs including boarding, lodging, supplies, and food. The former only includes the program fee. Many universities grant lifetime access to their educational content, making it easier for working professionals to learn at their own pace.
- Flexibility to work while learning: A full-time course would generally mean a complete halt to the influx of income. In many cases, it may also mean taking an expensive loan. One of the biggest advantages of distance learning programs is the ability to manage work while pursuing higher education. Such courses also allow you to practically apply concepts in your workplace and hence understand them better.
- A lot of choices: While picking a major or specialization for a full-time course, there are several restrictions a student has to face, including the availability of seats, qualifications, whether or not they can afford the course. But with online programs, the choices are endless. The same goes for picking a B-school. While you’d generally have to consider tuition cost, distance, financial aid, and a lot of other things before picking one, in distance learning programs, you get to pick whichever one you want to learn from.
- Access the study material anywhere: As a working professional, you might want to access the study material whenever you’re free to go through the videos. This may be a free hour during lunch or on the cab while coming back home. An online learning program gives you the freedom to access the study material anywhere and anytime that is convenient for you. This might just be impossible with a full-time course, which usually requires you to be part of a classroom program, and most times, the study material usually issued may not be available online.
- Ability to put theory to practice: When you earn while you learn, you often get to put theory to practice at work. The ability to get a clearer understanding of the concepts you learn is another advantage of distance learning. A lot of organizations might even let you handle bigger projects and encourage your decision to upskill. As somebody who’s working, you get access to actual projects in an organization to help you learn more about the skills you develop in your course.
- Company funding: A lot of organizations recognize efficient employees who are more than capable of higher positions than the ones they’re currently in. They offer funding programs where they help you financially and might even consider you for a promotion once you’re done with your course. Try talking to your superiors before you go ahead and enroll in the program of your choice. Some of them might even offer advice about the kind of courses you could choose to be most advantageous for your future in the company and the field.
- Choose subjects that are most relevant to your job: When you begin your course with the goal of advancement in your workplace, you can accordingly plan your subjects and specialization to best suit your career goals. For example, if you work in the software industry and are trying to get a Master’s degree in Computer Applications online, you could try to include programming languages that will help you the most as you progress into a higher position at work. While this might be difficult with a full-time program, since the syllabus is usually fixed with a limited number of options, online learning programs let you customize your course to fit your goals.
Online learning is an apt choice and a flexible option for anybody trying to balance their academic assignments while efficiently keeping up with work commitments. Distance learning programs prove to be particularly useful when you’re in a position to test out the theoretical concepts you learn in your program at work, making the entire learning process more wholesome and fruitful.