During a time when online training becomes more popular, here are five misconceptions you might have about online education and how to address them.
Within the last decade, online education has gained more importance. People have been preferring online education for various reasons such as convenience, price, or flexibility. Especially due to COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions have switched to online training. So, distance learning will probably become even more common during a time when traditional methods are challenged, reinvented, and tailored according to changing needs. This inevitably raises some concerns or preconceptions about online education. Here are five misconceptions you might have about online education and how to address them.
1. “Nobody will take my degree seriously because it is online.”
This is not true since it all boils down to the credibility of the institution from which you receive the education. Many well-known universities are offering online programs, with the same content with on-campus instruction. The more prestigious universities provide online degrees, the more employers will be familiar with the format and the value in distance learning.
Completing an online degree is taken seriously. Because it shows your skills – besides the knowledge that you get from your education, It implies that you are self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and a dedicated learner who can take the initiative. If anything, online education should be appreciated more, because many students who prefer online degrees also juggle life between full-time work and family too.
2. “I don’t know if I can do everything on my own.”
If you think that you must do everything on your own during online education, you are gravely mistaken. Sure, discipline is something that you should bring to the table. Still, all the sources for your education are already provided by your institution: the course videos, exercises, worksheets, sample questions, discussion forums and more.
The rest is motivation and discipline to follow through your commitment. Your instructors, tutors and your fellow study colleagues will form your academic support system in this online education journey. If you are feeling overwhelmed by work and studies, just remember the benefits of your program – including flexibility. You can choose an hour you feel more efficient, you can select a place you love to study: a café, your sofa or garden. Creating an academic, mental, and physical support system prevents you from feeling as if you were carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
3. “It will be lonely, or I won’t have a network.”
This is also wrong, and much depends on your attitude towards your professors and colleagues. As this pandemic has shown, we do not have to physically be somewhere to feel connected to people who have the same motivation and goal with us.
To feel less lonely while studying, you can form virtual study groups. All you need is the same equipment you use for following your courses: a computer, an internet connection, a headset. Your meetings could be mere with audio. Or you can have a video call to share screens, do presentations, or use virtual boards to organize a group project or solve questions. Connecting with people in your program gives you a great chance to have an international network from various ages, whether in academia, the private sector, or NGOs.
4. “I won’t be able to find the time to study.”
One of the most significant advantages of online learning is the freedom to shape your schedule around your work and private life. This brings flexibility and versatile road maps for your studies. However, if you overestimate the flexibility of your program, you might have a problem with time management. Though overestimation of flexibility is one of the most common issues, you can overcome it with some change in your attitude towards your studies.
To manage your time well, you must set aside the necessary time and show dedication to take your commitment to courses seriously. Online courses are divided into parts just like the traditional on-campus ones. You can use this structure to set a deadline to study a subject. Keep your study goals prioritized, use calendar apps, or keep a progress diary. There are many mediums out there just to help you stay organized, manage your tasks and, thus, time, well. This approach will keep you on schedule and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Plus, the very nature of online materials, constant access to lecture recordings, easy access articles and discussion forums, are designed to keep you on track. This gives you the necessary time to repeat and revise as much as you need to before moving onto the next subject. Despite all the available tools and convenience, studying is up to you.
5. “Online Learning Is Easier Than Traditional Learning.”
The conveniences that come with online learning sometimes lead people to believe that it is more relaxed, less formal, and less demanding than traditional, on-campus learning. However, this is one of the misconceptions about online learning. Online learning is learning too, and a quality program will probably demand as much effort and commitment as on-campus learning.
There are assignments, exams and responsibilities entailed in these programs, perhaps even more so, just to make sure that you are learning what is essential. Also, though online studies are flexible, they still require self-disciple, motivation, and commitment.
If such concerns have been keeping you from attending an online program, whether to get a master’s degree or a certificate; we have hopefully addressed to them in this article. If you are considering further education in Solar Energy Engineering, our master programme and certifications are designed to alleviate these concerns and provide one of the best training in its field in Germany.