Why Do People Pick Online Learning

The benefits to learning anything online. Here’s why you should study online for your next degree or certification.

Alex from LinkedIn set up a video chat with me the other day — it was my very first video chat. Actually, it was the first time I met with an actual real live person in person. I was shocked to realize I could still be a virgin on video chat. When I made my first video call — to my son’s preschool teacher — I was delighted and confused at the same time.

It was a minor act of bravery for me. The kids are so loud. There are so many people in my house. I felt a bit claustrophobic even though I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. I imagine what it’s like to be someone like Alex with small children running all over the place. For someone like me, who hardly moves, the thought of a conference call for business purposes would be like stepping on a sharp stick. I can’t even remember what I did when I was a kid. I probably threw something into the ocean and got some water on my pants.

I met a man for the first time with a hologram.

Maybe if you’re a veteran and you’ve just returned home from serving in war, you might have been willing to jump over even the slimmest of hurdles to get into the real world. And this includes sitting down to a video conference to learn something new. Is it a bigger leap of faith for someone in their first job, like me, to attend some online training for career development or travel somewhere to learn about a field — or even just going to a job interview?

Maybe it’s that what matters is finding that person or job that makes you feel good about your future.

I had heard for months now that education and training programs can make all the difference in the world. In fact, it might be why I’m actually considering attending my first career conference, what I’ll call Adult Career Education. The premise is simple. You sit around a table with a room full of like-minded people and engage in discussions and videos in order to learn about career development.

I don’t expect A Career Education to eliminate all anxiety or make it any easier for me to solve problems, nor do I think it will necessarily lead to an easy path to the job of my dreams. But maybe the type of person who goes to these events may feel a little more confident. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. I don’t mean to suggest that my primary purpose is to be a bridesmaid, but I want to feel like I can make a go of it. I am realistic enough to know that at any time, the power of access could change my life for the worse. I’m not stupid.

Maybe the very uncertainty I felt during my first video call is exactly why I am so fascinated by this new tech. I can’t help but wonder why someone who doesn’t need to undertake the physical risk of travel, has video contacts, or doesn’t have a toddler to teach who keeps them up at night couldn’t do the same. I think about why I picked up “How to Be a Better Salesperson” and what I’ve learned in just a few weeks of “Sales Leadership.”

One of the most important pieces of advice I was given is to take it slow. I keep coming back to a three-step process I’ve found helpful in trying to figure out my career goals. First, I assess my current skills, number of (not just) contacts and the time and energy that I’m willing to put into them. Second, I pay attention to who could be my competition. Third, I ask myself how much I want to learn.

I’m no longer too afraid to try anything.

I’m not trying too hard to learn new things. I’m open to the possibility that I might not be ready for the type of steps I’m not quite ready for. But I’m trying to be positive and hopeful that this journey will go along the way I imagined. When I feel intimidated or scared, I remind myself that I already think that I’m great at selling, communications, and leadership. It’s not that hard to believe that I’m great at making sales and communicating my point of view to someone. It’s the steps that I’m really afraid of that keep me awake at night, or force me to make a one-off conversation or shy away from the career path I envision. This is part of the reason I’m taking this new path to career development — to gain more experience and confidence in the areas I haven’t tested, practice the skills that I do, and know that

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