The Pros and Cons of Taking Online Lessons

10/2/10 by Karen Harrison

Are you thinking of taking online lessons to earn your college degree?  Pursuing an online degree is an excellent way to fit postsecondary courses into a busy schedule.  Online learning allows you to study from the comfort and convenience of your own home without ever having to set foot in a classroom.

Despite its innumerable advantages, online learning isn’t for everyone.  Prior to enrolling in an online program, it’s a good idea to explore the pros and cons of this learning method to determine whether it’s appropriate for your needs and situation.


Isolating – If you’re hoping to make new friends and lead an exciting social life as a student, online lessons may not be right for you.  Online lessons are isolating since you spend little to no time interacting with other students.  In addition, people who find that they learn better while interacting with other people may want to consider attending classes on campus or at least pursuing a degree program that is only partially online.

No Face Time with Instructors – If you enjoy talking with your professors face-to-face, you probably won’t like taking online lessons.  When you take online lessons, you do get to interact with your professors often and receive plenty of personal feedback, but you won’t be able to meet them in person.

Need to Be Computer-Savvy – If you are a technophobe or you have a medical disorder that makes it uncomfortable for you to spend long periods of time using a computer, online lessons probably aren’t a good fit.

Little Support – Online lessons are ideal for people who are self-motivated and disciplined.  If you need somebody to constantly be over your shoulder, telling you what to do and when to do it, you may find that you just don’t have the discipline to keep up with your coursework and turn your assignments in on time.


Convenience – There’s no arguing the fact that taking online lessons is highly convenient.  When you take online courses, you can stay at home, which means you don’t have to spend time commuting to and from campus.  You can take your online lessons anywhere, as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection.  Best of all, you can take online lessons in your pajamas or even your birthday suit, if that suits your fancy.

Affordability – Higher education is expensive, but taking online lessons can save you a lot of money because you don’t have to pay for gas or parking.  Plus, you don’t have to spend as much money on learning materials since most of the texts required for your classes will be available on the internet.  And in general, tuition for online lessons tends to be cheaper than tuition for traditional college courses.  The costs of housing and food are also lower when you live off campus.

Self-Direction – If you work well independently, you will thrive in the online learning environment.  You will be able to work through online lessons at your own pace, and you’ll have more control over your curriculum.  Some online universities even allow you to design your degree program.

More Interaction – In online lessons, you will find that you have more opportunities to interact with your classmates, albeit online.  There are also fewer students in each course, so you will have more chances to interact with your professors than you would in a traditional classroom setting.

Gives Technical Skills a Boost – When you take online lessons, you will learn how to work in an online interactive learning environment and improve your technical skills.  This technical know-how will look great on your resume and might come in handy on the job.

More Time to Work – Since online lessons are more flexible, it will be easier for you to work your class schedule around your work schedule.  In the past, working adults had to take evening classes or quit working altogether in order to pursue a higher education, but thanks to online lessons, they can now pursue a degree while holding down a full-time job. There are many different folks that pursue a college degree while working: electricians, au pairs, gardeners and even teachers to name a few.

More Educational Opportunities – When you take online lessons, you aren’t held back by your geographic location.  Even if the degree program you’d like to pursue isn’t offered at any of the universities in your local area, you can take online lessons and pursue your degree without having to move to a new city or state.

As with anything else, taking online lessons has both its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not right for every career path, lifestyle, and learning style.  But if you work well independently, online study can be very beneficial because it saves you time and money and gives you the opportunity to pursue a higher education while working and/or raising a family.

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