Your Essential Guide to Online Learning

20 April 2016

Online learning has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not difficult to see why. Offering the chance to study at any time from virtually any location, for many people it is an attractive alternative to traditional classroom-based teaching. If you’re weighing up whether e-learning is a suitable option for you, this simple guide should help to shed some light on the matter.

Does it hold the same value as a classroom-taught course? 
In most cases, e-learning programmes are of equal value to their classroom-taught equivalents. Online study options are now available for a wide range of industry recognised qualifications, including degrees, diplomas and certificates - and they are currently being used by major universities and companies. For example, financial education providers such as offer industry-approved e-learning courses for a range of professional financial certificates.

Online learning generally has a high success rate and most programmes come with the same workload and reputation as classroom-based instruction. However, it is always worth checking to make sure that the course is properly accredited and meets the industry standards in your chosen field. 

What does it involve? 
Online learning is a type of study method where structured courses are delivered through the internet. The course content is taught by qualified instructors through a variety of online media, such as forums, virtual learning environments, video, text and audio. The time you need to spend on the modules will vary from course to course, and each module will usually end with an assessment. You also benefit from the same experienced teachers and mentors that you would with a classroom-centred experience, as well as gaining access to a range of learning resources and online communities where you can interact with fellow students from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

What are the benefits?  
One of the main benefits of online learning is the flexibility it provides. This style of course allows you to study from anywhere as long as you have a computer and internet access. You can also learn at a pace that suits you and be in greater control of your learning. For many people, it also offers the opportunity to study around work or other personal commitments and it provides a better work/life balance. E-learning can also be a more cost effective option as it removes commuting expenses. 

What else do I need to know?
Of course, home study isn’t for everyone, and it’s worth bearing in mind that it does require self-motivation and discipline to manage your time effectively and commitment to developing your knowledge and skills. While there will be support available and professional instructors on hand to help you along the way, the majority of the course will consist of independent learning and, ultimately, it is your responsibility to complete it.

Some qualifications are also available as part home study and part classroom instruction, so you can get the best of both worlds. You can find out more about your options over the web.

This post is written in collaboration with Simply Academy.


  1. I did my degree corse from home. It was great as I could get things done slightly in my own time, BUT was hard as i didnt have the support of people in a classroom.

  2. I was doing a degree online through the OU before I got ill - I absolutely adored it, one day perhaps I'll be able to finish it. x

  3. I studied at Uni for 6 years and part of my education was online studies which i loved. I prefer a mixture of both in class and online. Online gives more flexibility especially as a mother.

  4. I've done a lot of online courses as you can fit them into your life a lot better than classroom based learning. I've learnt loads from them as well x

  5. I think in life the best thing you can gain is knowledge, why not learn something in your free time! :)

  6. I prefer to complete online learning as I can fit it in to suit my schedule. I'm doing an online journalism course now which I'm really enjoying.

  7. I'd like to do an online learning course one day! I like the flexibility, they'd fit in with my lifestyle a lot better than going to college or uni. Great post. xx

  8. I home online learning a couple years bag and loved it and now will be doing my masters part online part class based

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