Continuing education is a term generally used to refer to any learning which takes place after formal education is complete. Sometimes this is a one-time class to introduce students to new ideas, and sometimes it is an entire program that takes place over a more extended period that will provide a student with a deeper understanding of a new subject or skill.
Either way, continuing to build on current skills and education is not only good for personal development, but it has also become necessary in today’s competitive job market. As technologies evolve, so do the industries associated with them, meaning new tools are in development every day that make many jobs easier and more efficient—getting to know them is key to keeping a leg up on staying in-demand in one’s career.
So, why are online studies a beneficial path to choose for continued education?
Try It for Free
A lot of online resources will allow you to audit courses to try them out. This allows you to get a good sense of a subject before committing money to a more extensive specialization or certification.
Pros: This is an excellent option for people who aren’t quite sure where they want to start their new learning journey—they are simply interested in exploring subjects and seeing what captivates them. It is a testing of waters, of sorts. What’s more, if you’re disciplined enough, most places will let you pay a small fee to have your work reviewed by instructors who can grant you certificates upon completion.
Cons: Most of us don’t have the self-disciplined to stay on track without accountability structures in place, so the completion rates for these courses and certifications tend to be lower than traditional ones.
Go At Your Own Pace
While the online courses that offer certifications usually offer some structure, they also allow you to watch lectures, complete readings, and do assignments at your own pace (sometimes). This provides you with the flexibility to work around your job, home life, etc. Do keep in mind that these courses usually schedule a final assessment. So, while you can complete the coursework in a way that suits your life, you will have to be prepared for the deadline(s) if you plan to get any sort of documentation of completion.
Pros: You can work around your existing schedule to complete courses that might help further your career, or even help you get into a new one.
Cons: If you are terrible at time management, then the deadlines and final assessments can creep up on you quickly. Like any formal education, you have to show up for tests and other deadlines. Without the ritual of a daily or weekly class structure, this can be difficult for some.
Explore Learning Styles That Works For You
Are you a visual learner? An auditory one? Do you like an instructional approach? Or a hands-on approach?
Whatever learning style you enjoy most is also likely going to be the one that is most effective in having you retain the information. With all of the options out there now, it’s not hard to find a fit that works best for you.
Pros: Retaining information is easier when you learn it in a way that feels natural to you.
Cons: Finding an educational resource that is customized might be a challenge if your subject-matter and learning style is a highly specific combination.
There are a lot of high-quality, reputable learning portals available online for continuing education. So, if you’re looking to gain some skills that will take you to that next step in your career, or you are merely interested in learning a new subject or skill, online is a great place to get your learning journey started right now!