Online learning – constant learning anytime and anywhere – part I
How e-learning supports lifelong learning
If lifelong learning becomes the norm, it must be available everywhere and at any time. In today’s age of digitisation technological innovations and renewals are growing exponentially. It is important to not only be constantly informed, but also be able to educate yourself further and to demonstrate corresponding knowledge and skills. However, it is not always possible to complete a long-term course of study or to attend the necessary presence courses. This is where online learning comes into play. But what is online learning? How is it recognised and what advantages and disadvantages are there?
Let us guide you through the area of Online Learning with this blog post.
What is online learning?
Online learning is a method of learning independent of time and place and using digital media. It is often used as a synonym of e-learning, which is a generic term that covers all forms of learning in which electronic of digital media are used. E-learning allows the user to intervene and control learning while using different ways of receiving information via sensory organs, such as listening to podcasts or watching videos. It uses various digital media such as eBooks, video players, audio books or e-lectures.
Why should you learn online?
Online learning allows you to broaden your knowledge, enhance your CV with new skills and get to know different topics at your fingertips. It offers many different possibilities to educate yourself constantly and everywhere. The various methods, which will be discussed in part II, allows to find a suitable format for everyone. However, before you decide to use e-learning, you should be clear about the benefits and align them with your goals. You should ask yourself whether the further training is only for your own interest or whether it should serve the next step in your career or even a career change. Based on this decision it is easier to choose the right course and format. The duration of the training, the time required and the financial resources you are willing to invest, should be considered as well.
Degrees and recognition of e-learning
Whether a degree or certificate is recognised in your own country should be clarified before starting a course in order to avoid disappointment. In Switzerland, information about recognised degrees and universities can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI. Many online courses and offers can be obtained free of charge today and only the degree or certificate has to be paid for accordingly. But here, too, caution is advised as to whether the certificate is worthwhile for your further career. It is therefore important to first discuss with your employer whether a certificate obtained through online courses is valid and supported for your professional development.
If you are looking for a career change with e-learning, it is recommended to clarify with future employers or the SERI to what extent a certificate is recognised. Ensure that your degree will support your application for the role you are looking for.
In principle, degrees, even if not recognised, can be mentioned in CVs and LinkedIn profiles, given they support or enhance your current career path. It will show a future employer that you are continuing your education and are interested in expanding your knowledge and skills in various areas.
Advantages and disadvantages of e-learning
E-learning is not suitable for everyone. The following advantages and disadvantages are therefore only a list of a few points that come into question when you consider e-learning as an option to further educate yourself:
- Learning independent of time and place
- Self-determined learning and time management
- Large selection of topics
- Low cost
- Consistent quality of the teaching material
- Requires high self-discipline
- Lack of or reduced exchange with other learners
- Few opportunities for questions, often delayed answers
- Uncertainty whether certificate is recognised
- Technical requirements
If you have never taken an online course before and you are not sure if this form of learning suits you at all, it is advisable to start with a simply inexpensive course. Get to know the different methods and see, which one suits you most.
In part II of Online Learning, we introduce methods, technologies and forms of e-Learning in more detail. The blog post will be released soon, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, check out our list of online learning courses.
This article is also available in German here.