Flexible, Modular, Unifying: How to Harness the Power of Online Learning
March 30, 2020 | Liz Joyce
The power of online learning goes beyond the unique flexibility and access that only an entirely online program can offer.
Learn more about how to unlock all of the benefits of this powerful way of learning, from taking full advantage of the flexibility to study any time, anywhere to using modular online classes to build skill sets that set you apart to forming lasting connections with fellow learners around the globe.
Take Full Advantage of Flexibility
By design, online learning is flexible. You have the freedom to work a full-time job, spend time with your family, and schedule your online course time for when and where you learn best.
Whether you’re burning the midnight oil or squeezing learning into empty spaces in your day, there are tips and tactics you can use to structure your learning experience in ways that make the most of the time you spend on it.
“I had never taken an online course before. Courses are efficient, effective, and incredibly flexible. I can set up my personal schedule and pick and choose when to listen to the lectures. I didn’t have to sit in a classroom, push off my own career, and add stress to my life. Without a program like MicroMasters, supply chain managers can struggle with having to self-teach and bring themselves up to speed on their own. The MicroMasters course teams and course content make this process easy,” said Danaka, an edX learner and supply chain consultant who completed a MicroMasters program in supply chain management from MITx.
Stack Modular Learning into Unique, Valuable Skills and Credentials
Modular learning is the foundation of all learning programs available on edX. Online education offers the unique ability to partition traditional learning packages—associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees—into smaller, Lego-like building blocks, each with their own credentials and skills outcomes.
These modular pieces offer two big benefits:
- Learn new skills and knowledge in smaller chunks, which allows you to begin, advance in, or explore new careers without putting life or work on hold, no matter what level you’re starting from.
- Tailor and customize your education to better position you for job prospects and career mobility. Augment your education with a specialized credential or portion of a degree and/or combine skills that aren’t usually taught together in traditional education programs, piecing humanities skills with technology skills, communication skills with coding skills, analytical skills with design skills, etc. In fact, these hybrid combinations of skills are what Burning Glass Technologies call “the secret of career success in the digital world ahead.”
“If you’re comfortable in your current role, try some small online courses that will help showcase your experience. It won’t be hard to squeeze it into your everyday life and will be very powerful when an interesting promotion comes up. For those of you that are actively looking for a new job or a career change, this has to be your most powerful weapon!! Not only does it allow you to get impressive certificates from ‘big name’ universities on your CV, but it also allows you to ’test the waters’ in other fields of interest. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of working in human rights, but don’t know what this would entail. Finding a short course can give you the insight you need to decide whether you should take the leap,” said Mike, an edX learner who took the Thunderbird International Business Management MicroMasters® program from ASUx.
Connect, Network, and Broaden Your Perspective
The interest in making personal and professional connections isn’t always top of mind when starting an online course program, but learning at scale comes with connections at scale, and these types of connections can be invaluable.
Students may begin with apprehension, but leave with a strong sense of community. Not only will online courses and programs offer you access to world-renowned faculty working at the cutting-edge of their disciplines, but also diverse, passionate learners from around the world. You’ll study with fellow learners solving problems thousands of miles away, broadening your perspectives and approaches to your own work.
“The fact that you’re able to learn from anywhere in the world is also an incredible benefit. I had classmates from Yemen who were there to learn how to do a PV installation for their community that hasn’t had reliable electricity in years, and another one in Brazil who was developing solar modules to install on boats sailing through the Amazon. The multicultural aspect was just priceless,” said Bertram, an edX learner, PV design engineer, and instructor at Solar Energy International in the Netherlands who took TU Delft’s Solar Energy Engineering MicroMasters® program.
Your First Step: Explore Online Courses and Programs
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) first appeared nearly a decade ago, beginning with free online courses from schools like Harvard and MIT. Today, the world of online learning is limitless. More than 25 million learners and 6,000 instructors connect on the edX platform to learn together.