The Benefits of Online Learning for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs.
In recent years, the internet and technology have changed the landscape of humanity. Gone are the tedious days of brick and mortar businesses; they have been replaced by online companies. The current revolution in our new era of the Information Age, a business boom of tech companies and start-ups are the new way of doing business. No longer confined to the cubicle, business owners, their employees, and entrepreneurs all enjoy a new freedom: mobility. Mobility encompasses both the ability to move around physically (that coffee shop located on the corner, always full of various folks busily typing on their laptops are not just university kids looking for a caffeine kick and free WIFI, they are business owners, SEO moguls, that are making money and are ridiculously successful). Mobility also includes the ability to learn and communicate, to conduct business across the globe with ease. It’s instant. No more messy flights and enormous expenses for business meetings, nowadays there are online meetings that can be joined no matter the time zone or thousands of miles of separation. This current revolution we are seeing unfold right before our eyes also include education. The online education industry has seen a boom that is similar to the tech boom. More and more schools are offering an online learning component in addition to their regular brick and mortar class selections.
The Benefits of Education
What are the benefits of education? Education is the sharpest tool in a business owner, employee, and entrepreneur’s tool belt. To be able to create an online business or marketing firm, or write blogs, there is a lot of education and training that first needs to take place before venturing out into the wilderness of the world wide web. If it were still in the 1980s, students would need to attend a traditional brick and mortar college, university, or trade school. It would be incredibly time-consuming. And costly. Think of all the steps involved in attending a brick and mortar school. There’s the drive, the parking (both costly), time spent in lectures, the hours spent walking around campus to get to the next 90-minute lecture. The costliest item in the list mentioned above is time. Time is a commodity that is now being traded and is in high-demand.
In the last decade, for brick and mortar schools to remain relevant and compete in the new era of the Information Age, which moves at lightning speed, esteemed colleges and universities have offered online options for associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees. This means that the drive, inconvenient class times, and long lectures have been replaced with classes completed during the hours that work for you. Instead of cramming into a lecture hall, courses are completed in an online discussion forum. This means that employees or burgeoning entrepreneurs can get the education that they need, at the time and pace that works for them. This means that schooling has become mobile.
Convenience and Comfort
Since education is something that is so vital to every field, including continuing education and training, the benefits of online learning are incomparable. Online learning offers what is called “rolling enrollment.” This rolling enrollment means that students can apply for a program, or multiple programs, at several different times of the year. Traditionally, almost all colleges and universities had an application deadline of February. If the deadline were missed, students would have to wait until the next year to apply. Online learning is also timed differently, to allow for a more flexible school year and keep the rolling enrollment momentum moving. Online courses through a certification company or traditional institution typically follow an 8-week schedule. That means that a course only takes eight weeks to complete. If the deadline to enroll is passed, a student only needs to wait a small period to enroll, rather than a whole calendar year. The eight-week schedule allows for a convenient timeline for completion. If terms end every eight weeks, and new courses are offered at that time interval, the completion for either associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree is almost firmly planted in the hands of the individual. The ability to finish depends on how quickly the individual wants to finish.
Online learning has an additional benefit: comfort and ease. Instead of slogging through the rain and muck to get to classes, online learning e-courses can take place anywhere there is an internet connection. Courses and assignments can be completed at home, on the couch while the game is on. Instead of having to hire a sitter to watch the kids, classes can be completed at the dinner table, while the kids do their homework; entrepreneurs, employees, and business owners can complete their online work right alongside them, never having to miss those precious moments. Online learning can take place in the late hours of the evening, or in the early hours of the morning, the beauty of mobility is that tasks and assignments can be completed wherever and whenever is convenient and comfortable.
Virtual schools are cheaper than the traditional brick and mortar campus. At virtual schools, there are no grounds or commons to keep up. There are no buildings that are in constant disrepair, or bills for heating, cooling, or replacing fluorescent light bulbs in the many classrooms and buildings. With those costs eliminated, online tuition is cheaper. The difference is staggering when the costs of upkeep are eliminated. For example, the average two-year master’s program at a run of the mill brick and mortar campus costs a whopping 35,000 dollars, on average. Conversely, for a master’s program offered at an online school, the average cost is around $11,000-$15,000 on average. A difference of around 20,000 dollars. With the money saved not paying for the cost of mowing the lawn in the commons, the cost saving benefits of online courses save money that can be invested back into the business, rather than into landscape. $20,000 could mean the difference between being able to invest in new companies, or in equipment for the business. While this may seem like a drop in the bucket in business volume, think of saving $20,000 per employee that completes the program. A company now has an educated and trained workforce, and extra capital.
If various employees do not need a full four-year degree program. Online learning has a plethora of online certifications and professional development. For businesses that are focused on internet marketing, licensing, and certifications there are several online options available. For example, if an online business needed to train employees, or an entrepreneur wanted to learn the skills of SEO (search engine optimization) there are several online options available for them. Continuing education can, in some cases, be completed in-house. Virtual classrooms and courses offer incredibly efficient learning modules at a lower cost. When all the resources are digital, professional development costs lower exponentially. A PDF link is virtually cost-free, whereas printed materials costs grow with the more resources and materials needed in a brick and mortar environment.
Online Study Tools
Online study tools and accounts are incredibly convenient for earning different licenses and certifications. In the app market, there is a multitude of study apps for whatever the subject you need. Online tools such as text-to-speech, audible read aloud, and other tools such as testing algorithms and highlighting options make studying or learning a new concept that does not require a certification or license exceedingly easier. Depending on the program, online study tools can offer tiered pre-tests, which can target areas where an employee or student need to target before investing in a test for certification or licensure. Online study tools have produced markedly better results in certifications and licenses.
Transferability and Relevance
Electives are classes that are required to complete a degree in upper secondary education. Electives are built into a course to offer a well-rounded program. In the online education format, many schools are offering extra certification paths in addition to electives. For example, if a student is on a path to complete a degree in online marketing, some schools have streamlined the process to include certifications. Online schools also offer ways to complete degrees that may not have been finished the first time around in a brick and mortar university. This allows entrepreneurs and business owners to allow either themselves or their employees to complete degrees by taking classes and courses online, then have them transferred to the institution that they completed the first portion of the degree under. By allowing the flexibility to complete a degree that is relevant and timely for entrepreneurs and business owners, the online world of education offers yet another avenue of learning.
Networking is incredibly important in both traditional businesses, and in online businesses. What online learning offers is the ability to network not just with the person sitting next to you, but with the person that is across the country from you. Online courses include students from the international arena. This opportunity to meet, communicate, and engage with fellow business owners and employees is a gold mine of online learning. The network of online cohorts is vast and deep. Depending on the area in which students and business are completing their education in, the benefit of having other professionals coming together in an online learning forum is tenfold. The ability to share ideas, learn from other student experiences, and collaborate to complete projects creates a lasting bond between professionals. In the business world, no matter what your company is, networking is everything. Relationships established in an online cohort pay out dividends as business contacts in an increasingly relationship-based job market.
The Future of Online Learning
It is abundantly apparent that the internet will continue to be the driving force of the Information Era and beyond. Businesses will continue to streamline processes like training, meetings, and educating their workforce in the years ahead. To be a competitor and remain relevant, businesses will continue to look for online tools for educating their workforce, and keep up with the demand of the fast-paced internet economy. As businesses continue to streamline and upgrade their systems, education, and training in various online programs will only continue to rise and be in high demand.
Tech-startups will continue to be a driving force that changes the very landscape of the economy and business. With a booming internet revolution, entrepreneurs will depend on online tools, training, and programs to not only educate themselves but also educate their employees. Online learning will continue to be an area of service that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, enrollment in online programs continues to be on the rise. With the ease and adaptability of the internet, online schools can quickly adjust courses and specializations to meet the need that business owners and entrepreneurs set with the creation of jobs and new sectors of the economy.
It is clear that the internet has provided a complete transformation of human nature. Business and e-commerce are quickly adjusting to meet needs and continue to offer innovative services. Education in the various ins and outs of the internet and e-commerce will continue to be a necessary and vital tool for entrepreneurs and business owners. Employees will always benefit from training, and with the lower costs involved in online learning and training, it is often the preferred route for securing an education.
In the last decade alone, online education and course offerings have boomed from a small area of the market to virtually taking over the education market. From podcasts to full on courses, the online education platform is revolutionizing the educational field, as well as the technology field. New apps are created and are available every day. New podcasts and online training and videos are just one click away. With the ease and convenience of online learning, entrepreneurs would be advantageous to take advantage of the vast and deep online market of education. No matter what field of business folks are in, everyone can benefit from online learning.