Are Online Learning Classes Right for You?
Are you thinking about taking online classes? There are many benefits to taking your courses online, including the amount of flexibility when it comes to your schedule. Remote classes allow for learning on your schedule, at your own pace. This option brings the learning straight to you without the hassles of going to a traditional classroom.
Being on active duty, onboard a Navy ship, or stationed overseas can make taking courses nearly impossible. With the option of taking online courses, you can work toward earning your degree around your military priorities.
“There’s likely a place in paradise for people who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that’s your mission.”
– General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army Retired
So how do we change? How do we prepare ourselves for what is going to be a rough few years — and beyond that, a new economy that is likely going to mean more remote work and more tech?
Why Should you Pursue an Online Education?
Getting a higher education is a great way to gain faster promotions in the military along with setting yourself up for a successful career after the military. With online learning there are many options, working towards a degree, licenses and other certifications are all possible with internet access.
- Success Rate - With 24-hour support, it’s easy to get yourself started on your courses and the convenience of working from your laptop allows you to do classes anywhere.
- Affordability - There might be a time investment when it comes to any course but, the monetary investment doesn’t have to be unbearable. Being a service member has the benefit of using Tuition Assistance, GI Bill, and other education benefits.
- Faculty Accessibility - With the classes being online it’s easy to connect with your instructor. If you have any questions you can typically talk directly to instructors through email.
- Technology and Teaching Capabilities - Online classes can be presented in many ways. Class can be conducted through email, video streaming, website assignments, slide shows and video conferencing. No matter how you learn there are options to suit your learning style.
- Customer Service - Schools that offer online classes are focused on making the process easy for students. They are very responsive to help you get enrolled in courses and on your way to graduation.
- Graduation Schedule - Most online degrees can be completely in as little as 2-3 years, while taking classes part-time.
Choosing an Online School
Sorting through all the online schools to find the right fit will require some research. Knowing your goals and what to look for can help with your search.
- Knowing what degree you want to pursue is a key factor in choosing a school. Look for schools that offer the program you want to take to launch you into your desired career.
- Any online school you choose should have regional accreditation. Depending on your intended degree look for program-specific accreditation, such as education or nursing.
- See what feedback employers have about graduates from these schools. Are these graduates in demand?
- There are several ways online classes can be presented. There are instructor-led classes that are presented online. Independent study courses allow the student to move through the material at their own pace. And, some courses are hybrid, with online and in-person classes. Knowing which of these types of classes fit your schedule and learning style is an important factor.
- The cost of an online school can be high but, most offer substantial financial aid. If you choose an accelerated program and without the cost of living on campus you can save on the overall cost. You can also look into which schools are approved for use of your GI Bill.
- Find out the time commitments for your desired classes. How many hours per day and how many days per week will you have to attend class? Does this workload fit your schedule?
- Depending on the degree you are pursuing, make sure the program includes relevant certifications and prepares you for any license you’ll be testing for.
Study Skills for Online Learning
Online courses are a great option for soldiers that are unable to get to a classroom. Whether you’re at sea, at a remote duty station, or have career and family obligations, you can work towards your degree or professional certifications at home. Developing good study habits is key to having success with online learning.
Prepare a quiet study area away from distractions. This will help keep you on task when you sit down to do coursework. Planning time for these study sessions can make a big difference when it comes to juggling your education with other obligations.
Paying for Online Education
The thought of incurring debt can be a big deterrent when deciding to pursue higher education. Paying for your online education doesn’t have to be such a big hurdle. There are many options for financial aid, grants, scholarships, and those all-important military education benefits.
Everyone deserves a chance at an education. Many of us have so many other duties - military, familial, or just the plain old paycheck - to attend to.
That could mean pursuing a college degree. Even traditional schools are pushing online learning with the pandemic raging, though there are a lot of online-first schools that have years of practice delivering the knowledge (and diploma) you need, wherever you are stationed.
Or, perhaps you are already on a career path but need to fine-tune skills or round off your skillset: upskilling is Silicon Valley-ism for just that – adding new skills that enhance your current career path or help you find new opportunities. You can learn a lot on the job, but often, the path to true career advancement is to use some of your spare time going above and beyond by taking an online class or pursuing a certification.
Of course, with your budget stretched while trying to survive this pandemic and economic shutdown, you’re probably thinking, “Great. Now how do I pay for it?”
Here are some options for paying for your education.
- Direct Financial Assistance
- Armed Forces Tuition Assistance
- VA Benefits
- Federal Student Aid
- Indirect Financial Assistance
- Military Experience and Training Credits
- Credit by Exam
Related: 4 Smart Degrees Veterans Should Consider
Below we have a curated list of our most important and most popular articles regarding online learning to get you mission ready for the world to come.