There is a growing trend of universities and organizations offering online courses in lieu of, or combined with, traditional classes. It makes a lot of sense: with nurses and other professionals struggling to find even a moment of spare time for any activity, it can be a challenge to attend classes physically, especially if those classes are only offered at a specific time. Nursing schedules are infamously chaotic and unpredictable, so it’s nearly impossible to find a time that works for a lot of students. On the other hand, traditional classes offer a slew of benefits that online classes simply can’t match. If you’re trying to decide whether to take online or traditional classes for your continuing education, have a look below at what we’ve found.
Why Online Classes are Awesome
Online classes can be really great for a lot of people. If any of the following reasons are especially attractive to you, you may want to consider going online.
- Study anywhere. With online classes, all you need are your computer and a decent internet connection. Your classes are as mobile as you are, so you can take your work anywhere you want. This is particularly helpful for those busy nurses who work crazy hours and odd shifts. If you are a night-shift nurse, take advantage of some of the midnight lulls to do some reading or work on an assignment, then continue seamlessly when you get home. Or, consider hopping over to the local library for free Wi-Fi and all of the reference material you could ask for.
- Study at any time. One of the biggest restrictions for in-person classes is that they occur only at certain times on certain days. If you can’t attend that lecture on Wednesday at 3 pm for the entire semester, you just won’t pass. With nursing schedules so sporadic, it’s sometimes impossible to know when you’ll be free. With online classes, however, there are usually very few requirements for when you have to study. Sure, assignments, readings, and projects will have due dates, but you’ll be free to do the preparation for them in your own time. Occasionally, however, classes will have a few real-time chats or lessons. Most professors of online classes are quite understanding of time restraints for busy professionals, so missing one or two most likely won’t be a big problem.
- It’s cheaper. When there are few real-world resources needed, costs will go down immensely. For example, the professor in charge of the course isn’t required to be “in class” a certain number of hours, which means your tuition is not going to their salary. Your study materials will also be mostly online, so you won’t need to purchase those huge and expensive books that often account for a large percentage of your costs.
Why In-Person Classes are Awesome
There are so many reasons that online classes are becoming more popular, but there is something to be said for the reliability of traditional education that makes in-person classes a viable (and perhaps much better) option for the nurse looking to continue his education.
- Familiar territory. Most people in the United States grew up participating in traditional educational environments. From kindergarten through college, we’ve grown accustomed to the desk and blackboard version of learning. It can, therefore, be quite helpful to take traditional classes as an adult. There is something about the familiar setting that helps you realize you are in a place of learning; it can help you mentally prepare to listen, ask questions, and learn. With online classes, it can often be difficult to focus on studying if you aren’t in an expected “studying” place.
- Collaborative learning. For the self-motivated, online classes can be ideal. However, many people learn better in circumstances where they can learn actively from and with others. This collaborative learning allows students to work together and offer real-time feedback to questions and concerns. If you are a person who prefers meeting face-to-face or working in a classroom setting where you can benefit from the knowledge of peers, traditional classes may be your best option.
- It’s all well and good to want to study in a time and place of your choosing, and if you can do so successfully, all the more power to you. However, many people, especially those with busy lives, benefit greatly from the rigid structure of traditional education. Attending classes is crucial to maintaining stability and motivation for studying. Without it, many people fail to make the best decisions for themselves and might not make time to study on their own. It’s ok to lack a little bit of self-discipline when it comes to studying, but you should make sure to choose the setup that’s right for you; in this case, traditional classes will help you most to stay on track.
- Less need for technology. If you take online classes, you absolutely must have a reliable connection to the internet. Any kind of technological snafu and you may suffer from a bad grade. But with in-person classes, there is less of a need for technology; your success certainly does not rely on your possession of a laptop and internet access. Instead, you’ll have paper books, notebooks, and writing utensils, which are often more familiar tools anyway. You won’t have the added struggle of trying to learn new software or how to live-chat group members. If you’re more old-school in your view of technology, traditional classes are probably for you.
If you’re looking to continue your nursing education and can’t decide whether to choose online or traditional classes, hopefully the above list has given you some guidance. Whatever you decide on, make sure that it is something you can stick with for the entirety of the course, and you’ll be bound to have success.