How Does Online Learning Affect Students Who Are Not Typically Considered Self-directed?

Arguably the most successful extracurricular learning, online education, like college and high school, provides an education that is customized to the student’s learning style. Online education varies from one type of university to another, with a blended curriculum for single-track, dual-track, and open access options, all in varying degrees of diversity.

The Short Answer: The benefits of learning online can include improving flexibility and self-management.

In 2015, Startup Institute invested $1,000 in the digital work suite CourseEngine. The proof of this decision could be seen in the near-perfect ratings CourseEngine scores from the thousands of students it helped transition from classroom to online learning. The benefits of online learning for these students are numerous. According to CourseEngine, students who took just one online class outperformed their classmates who participated in face-to-face classes. Student engagement, self-motivation, and improvement in time management habits were all topics discussed in this article.

Beyond being able to attend classes remotely, electronic learning has considerable benefits for self-directed learners. In addition to improving learning speed and adaptability, online education teaches self-awareness and self-management.

Self-efficacy is a central theme of effective self-management. As stated in “Leadership,” self-efficacy is the need to strive and endure. The idea is that the needs of one’s self-efficacy are aligned with the needs of a job, the business environment, and the world around you. The more skilled and competent one is, the more likely he is to work toward the same goal.

With self-management, many factors influence behavior, including a skill set, a goal, a mindset, and time allocation.

Step #1: Skill Set

The development of skill sets is an ongoing process. While a student may have mastered algebra in high school, being able to integrate that knowledge in order to speak in a persuasive manner with your customers or navigate online courses will require an addition or subtraction. Don’t have a math background? Don’t feel confident speaking about advanced concepts to your coworkers or clients? Take time to master the basics of your education before taking on more advanced courses.

Step #2: Goal Setting

Once you have a goal established, you need to use strategies to achieve it. Traction will be the key, as this means you have the ability to turn phrases into words. Online classes are more accessible for busy individuals, making it easier to get to know your instructors and personalize your conversation. Speaking to your instructors one-on-one, as opposed to sitting in your class and listening to lecture notes, will help you learn what you need to know and step into tasks in your course quickly and efficiently.

While online learning is by no means a comprehensive solution, it can save a great deal of time, whether you are working on a portion of your degree or dropping into a new subject. It has the potential to improve not only efficiency but also self-awareness.

One study found that use of online platforms has increased in classrooms. Of the studied instructors, nearly one-fifth of professors say they do not offer the traditional lecture in their courses; in fact, only 14 percent of them offer online lectures.

The numbers tell a story. Classes are working in a variety of ways and people are finding ways to better themselves. Higher education is a crowded industry, and online learning is only beginning to find its place in the conversation. Small businesses have been incorporating online learning for a while, but online instruction is starting to take off in traditional academic settings. As the business and technology world shift, so will businesses and schools find new ways to make online learning more accessible for self-directed learners.

Mary S. Arendt, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Northwest College of Technology, and founder of the Learning Myths Conference, LJMCon. Her educational pursuits led her to write over 50 educational articles and the book “Perfect Your Eyeballs: 21 Inventions for Your Student to Communicate, Manage and Self-Serve.”

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