Just a few short years ago, online learning was the exception. It was available as an alternative experience for those who were not able to enroll in a traditional in-person program, but at that time, many were unaware of the benefits of online learning. Now, in the post-pandemic era when everyone has learned to navigate digital life, many students are finding that they actually prefer the online educational experience.

What Is Online Learning?

Online learning is an educational method where students participate entirely in the virtual realm. Classes are taught by instructors who rely on video and other digital tools to provide their lessons, and students submit their work through online portals.

How Do Students Feel About Online Learning?

Today's students have grown up during the digital revolution—they have always relied on the latest devices to complete their tasks more efficiently and know how to creatively incorporate technology into their lives. So, for many students, online education is only natural—and they love the freedom and flexibility it provides.

Why Students Enjoy Online Learning

1. You Have Time to Take Classes and Still Work

College students are often balancing a wide variety of responsibilities, and many need to work to afford their education. Most students report that one of the main benefits of online learning is that it allows them to continue to work while completing their coursework. Many students enrolled in online classes find it easier to hold down their job when their classes are in an online format, especially if lectures are offered asynchronously. As long as they turn things in by their deadlines, working students can fit their schoolwork around their work schedules—a much more difficult feat when classes are in-person.

2. You Have Fewer Distractions From Classmates

In a traditional classroom, it can sometimes be difficult to stay focused when other classmates are asking questions, engaging in off-topic conversations, or simply being disruptive. An online learning environment allows you to focus on the task at hand in a space where you can stay focused and be present.

3. You Are Able to Take Classes Wherever Is Best for You

The structure of online classes can vary, with some instructors creating a fully “asynchronous” course that allows you to work more at your own pace and others scheduling virtual lectures and discussion times. Regardless of the structure of your course, you can participate in a location that is convenient for you. Some students can take their classes during a lunch break from work, while others sign on at the park while they watch their children play. Online learning allows students to manage their own time easily and effectively.

4. You Get to Learn on a Schedule That Fits Your Lifestyle

One of the largest disadvantages to a traditional, in-person degree program is that it requires students to be present in a physical classroom at a specific time for an entire semester. This rigid structure can prohibit some students from enrolling. In an online learning environment, however, you can create a schedule that suits your lifestyle. You can complete coursework in the early morning hours if that works best for your job, or you can work late into the evening after you have tended to your family. The choice is yours, and most students love having that autonomy.

5. You Can Build Relationships With Your Classmates

You will still have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with your classmates through online learning. Many online students connect with one another during video conferences and virtual breakout rooms, while others prefer to rely on social networking platforms to meet their classmates. There are many innovative ways to connect and begin networking.

6. You're Able to Communicate and Talk to Your Instructors

Many students report that they feel less intimidated to reach out to their instructors in a virtual setting. They can rely on a variety of tools and resources to communicate in a way that is comfortable for them, whether it's through e-mail, live chats, or a video conferencing session. Instructors are readily available and able to connect with students at a time that is convenient for them.

7. If You Have Health Issues or Are Sick, You Can Still Attend Class

In an era when health and safety continue to remain top priorities, online learning offers a level of accessibility that in-person learning simply cannot. Even when you are feeling under the weather, you can still log on to your class and complete your coursework. This flexibility makes online learning a possibility for anyone, regardless of any health issues that they may have.

8. You Don't Have to Worry About the Traditional Stresses of Going to Class

Online learning can effectively eliminate many of the common stressors of living life on campus. When you are enrolled in online classes, you won't have to worry about commuting to class, the weather forecast that day, or making it to your next class on time. In addition, the virtual classroom can be a less intimidating place than a traditional classroom. You may find it easier to participate in written class discussions, especially if you are introverted.

9. You're Able to Study at Your Own Pace

Students enrolled in online classes have much more control over their daily schedule than those participating in an in-person program. You have more freedom and flexibility to study at your own pace, in a time and place that works for your lifestyle. This can help reduce stress, prevent burnout, and lead to more successful results in your classes.

10. You Have the Opportunity to Take a Variety of Classes

The number of online programs at the University of Minnesota continues to increase year after year, allowing online learners to take advantage of the vast array of classes available. Through online learning, you can explore your interests and discover your strengths in a way that is cost-effective and convenient.

11. You Don't Have to Compete to Share Your Ideas with the Class

Participation is a lot easier—and much less stressful—in a virtual learning environment. You don't have to worry about that one student in class who constantly answers every question. Instead, you can ensure your ideas are heard by relying on video conferencing tools, chat features, online forums, and more.

Impact of Online Learning on Students

For many students, the benefits of online learning have made education more attainable. They have found that they can pursue an online education while still balancing their personal responsibilities and professional obligations, which can make the idea of earning a degree much less intimidating. By increasing accessibility and reducing costs, online learning has ushered in a new era for students.

Learn More, Today

Now is the best time to take advantage of the online learning opportunities available at the University of Minnesota. Our online programs are of the same caliber as our in-person programs, with all students enjoying world-class instruction and access to useful resources. Find out more information about our online education programs today.