Online School Builds Independence and Soft Skills
There are many benefits to attending an online school. For example, you get to avoid crowded dorm rooms, stay at home as you earn your degree, and keep your full-time job. This study route is ideal for thousands of students of all ages due to its flexibility. Truly, one of the barriers to education is that it comes between people and their responsibilities. Students sacrifice a great deal of time and money away from their families and loved ones and may struggle to keep their jobs and, thus, their income. But there are more benefits to virtual colleges than you may know. Notably, online school builds independence and self-reliance in its students.
Learning to be independent is important for several reasons, some more obvious than others. You learn to take care of yourself, solve your own problems, self-advocate, and be more successful in many endeavors. Frankly, it can be difficult to get through life if you’re always waiting for help. Problems go unsolved, work goes uncompleted, and you’ll likely feel frustrated by certain tasks.
Part of being independent is knowing when to ask for help as well. There are some things that we just can’t do for ourselves. For example, not all of us are or should try to be aspiring electricians. Someone lacking in independence may simply leave the issue alone, waiting for someone else to notice the problem and take care of it. An independent person will recognize the issue and either learn how to solve it or call someone who can.
Ultimately, online school bolsters many soft skills that are paramount to success in the workplace and everyday life. Keep reading to learn how.
5 Ways Online School Builds Independence
College itself is known as a place for self-discovery, burgeoning adulthood, and the first step toward independence. However, it still doesn’t prepare students for the workforce as well as an online institution. Notably, most students are more pressured by their classmates, friends, and instructors to show up to both work and social events.
Some students even skip going to class every single week and only show up for the final exam. You don’t have that same sort of pressure with virtual classes. While you’re not alone online, you won’t be seeing your peers every lecture or day.
Indeed, when you’re working in the online sphere, you must find the motivation and follow through on your classwork on your own. In addition, there are no classmates or professors in your immediate vicinity who can help when they see you struggling. You must reach out for help, and you must find solutions on your own at times.
Consider one of the main benefits of online classes: you get to do the work whenever it fits your schedule. For some, this time is in the late or super early hours of the day when the kids are asleep and you’re off work. Your instructors aren’t (usually) going to be online with you at three in the morning. Of course, you can send them a chat or an email and wait for normal office hours. Or you can figure it out on your own.
Below, we will go over five of the ways that online school builds independence in its students.
1. You Alone are Responsible for Your Progress
As we mentioned, when you’re studying online, you must find the motivation to log in and watch your lectures. At a traditional college, you may have attendance grades or a professor who will notice your absence. Similarly, you may have peers that will see you’re not in class and reach out. You may even show up at class just to see them on some days.
When you’re studying online you can still talk to your peers electronically. They’ll still be there, but it’s not the same physical presence, which takes away that accountability.
Online lectures are often prerecorded or you may have regular Zoom meetings. And, let’s be honest, they’re not always fun or exciting. Even when you’re interested in a subject, it can be difficult to remain focused throughout an hour-long lecture. Especially when your environment is full of distractions. You may miss out on those friends and peers who make class interesting.
When choosing between virtual vs traditional, it’s important to acknowledge this tradeoff. Some people want that social experience while others are more focused on maintaining their quality and way of life, especially when family is involved.
Ultimately, online school builds independence through this process, and it will better your work ethic going forward. Notably, think of some of the coworkers or supervisors you’ve had at other jobs. Not everyone puts the same amount of effort into their work. When you find that internal motivation, it’ll help you become a top performer at work as your tasks will always be done. Thus, your time at college will boost this desirable soft skill and allow you to get promotions and raises faster than your peers.
2. You Learn to Problem Solve
We’ve talked briefly about how online school builds independence through building problem-solving skills. This vital soft skill is valued by employers across every field for good reason. Employees who can get through issues on their own often finish tasks faster, discover issues that need to be resolved, and find solutions for said issues. They’ll save the company money as they satisfy clients and improve software.
Truly, some individuals may either struggle to reach out when they need help or they will not move forward until someone is available to solve their problem for them. They either don’t know how to troubleshoot or don’t care to figure it out. And it can be genuinely stressful for some to admit they don’t know how to do something, especially at work.
In an online school, you do not have the option to sit around unless you want to miss deadlines. As we mentioned, you may be completing your work when everyone at the online college is asleep. They may have 24/7 IT assistance, but you’re not going to be able to get ahold of your professor at any given hour. Thus, if you have a question about your assignment, you’ll need to try to find out the answer on your own, wait for a reply to the email you sent, or turn it in as is and accept a lower grade. Most will try to troubleshoot on their own to avoid any delays.
As you continue through your program you will learn three main things: how to find quality resources, how to use said resources, and how to implement solutions. You’ll become an expert at finding information online and won’t need to bug IT every time your computer mouse stops working.
3. Time Management is a Necessity
Notably, time management is a skill that students of both online and traditional schools need to learn. Many students today continue to pull all-nighters to complete important essays and study for final exams at the last minute. While students can succeed in their classes by taking this path, it comes with one huge downside.
First, you’re less likely to remember information long-term if you’re cramming it all into one big study session. Not only can you hurt your progress in your degree, but you might find you don’t know key concepts from your studies long after you’ve graduated. You take home a diploma but lack critical knowledge that prevents you from succeeding in the workplace. Truly, studying properly impacts a lot more than just your grade.
When you’re studying virtually, your ability to procrastinate comes with a lot more limitations. Notably, you
Most tests and quizzes are timed and will either submit themselves or erase your work if you fail to turn them in on time. Additionally, as we mentioned, your instructor might not be around when you watch lectures and do your work. You may need to be flexible with your study days to get the best results in class. In other words, working on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of just on Sundays.
Ultimately, online school builds independence by encouraging you to create a schedule that allows you to do your best work on time. This skill will take you far in the workplace as it helps you meet your deadlines on time.
4. You Figure Out Your Preferences Faster
Another way that online school builds independence is that it helps you understand yourself better. Notably, most traditional classrooms run the same way: lecturing, reading, discussions, and quizzes. Maybe your professor will have an interesting PowerPoint or video to show you from time to time, but most of your learning will occur through listening. This type of learning is referred to as auditory, and it’s not how most of us learn effectively.
Indeed, most people learn best through visual learning. In fact, around 65% of people learn best this way. Yet most professors do not teach using this method. This discrepancy comes down to two main issues: not enough resources and not enough training for teachers. Remember, most professors did not go to school for teaching. Most tend to go for lecturing as it’s what they grew up with, have access to, and know how to do.
However, when you’re studying online, you get some say in how you learn. You can listen to the lectures, view your professor’s slideshow, and also utilize all of the resources your professor provides. You may also seek out the information on your own on YouTube or a similar medium.
Professors cannot take the time to show every kind of resource available in class. They have extremely limited time and must give equal attention to every student. Asking that they dedicate the whole class to meet your specific needs is not reasonable. But when you’re studying online, you can pick and choose and bolster your education with every resource available. You may spend several days on one lesson and zoom through another that you already know well.
In the future, you can use this knowledge of your learning to better understand new concepts at work and in life.
5. Your Independence is Rewarded
Finally, online college builds independence in students by rewarding them for their independence. Think back to your schooldays in middle school and high school. You or another one of your classmates was likely called out for reading or working ahead. It was against the rules and punishable, even though the student was likely learning at their own pace. In virtual classes, your independence is rewarded through higher grades, a faster degree track, and a degree at the end of it all.
Indeed, in a traditional classroom, your independent study of a topic may go unnoticed or unwanted. You may want to spend more time on a concept than everyone else does. Or vice versa, you may be beyond ready to move on while the class lingers on one topic.
As an online student, you can pursue your own interests a little more freely in each class. Your learning experience focuses on you and your needs, yet you can still get the value of group discussion through boards, posts, and feedback as you go. And these conversations can go on for weeks in enough parties are interested in the topics at hand.
Ultimately, being rewarded for your independence will encourage you to maintain those soft skills and put the same amount of thought and effort into your work going forward.
Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.
Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!