Earning a graduate degree is a rewarding way to invest in your vocational calling and your intellectual journey after completing your undergraduate program. However, with all of life’s responsibilities, it can be hard to think you have the time to go back to school while balancing your current commitments.
Pursuing a graduate degree online can be an excellent way to expand your knowledge and increase your career potential all from the comforts of your home. Here are eight reasons you should earn your graduate degree online.
1. Online learning is more flexible.
One of the biggest advantages of earning your degree online is flexibility. Unlike traditional in-person learning, online programs allow you to have greater control over when, where, and how you learn. Graduate students learning online can create their own dedicated learning space from the comfort of their own home, their favorite coffee shop, or while traveling. They can also have greater control over their schedules, which is beneficial for people with children, families, and other responsibilities.
2. Virtual learners have great information retention.
Students who learn online often have better information retention. A study from the Research Institute of America showed that online learners were between 25% and 60% better at information retention compared to in-person learners. Online education has endeavored to maximize engagement and minimize burnout for students, and it’s been effective to help students absorb the material.
3. Interactive quizzes help improve test scores.
Online quizzes or games conducted during a lecture or learning process have been proven to improve test scores, according to one study with graduate students. These bite-sized interactive elements can help students engage more closely with the information, bolster their comprehension, and strengthen their motivation for learning. Since games lend themselves well to a virtual or online setting, they’re easier to integrate into online courses.
Some prospective students wonder if online learning can match the high quality of traditional, in-person learning. However, several studies show that online learners remember more and perform better. Online students often end up covering more material than their in-person counterparts, since they can learn at their own speed. The myth that online learning is lower quality isn’t supported by this encouraging data on students’ success.
4. Multimedia elements reinforce learning.
Online learning diversifies your learning experience, which helps you retain information more easily. For example, using video and audio in addition to reading or lectures helps to reinforce the information you learn. When the format changes, you’re able to review the information using a different part of your brain and keep yourself more engaged with the material.
Some prospective students wonder if online learning can match the high quality of traditional, in-person learning. However, online learners remember more and perform better. Online students often end up covering more material than their in-person counterparts, since they can learn at their own speed. The myth that online learning is lower quality isn’t supported by this encouraging data on students’ success.
You should also keep an open dialogue with professors and advisors to ensure your individual learning needs are met. Find out what type of learner you are (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or reading and writing) and try to maximize your studies in those areas.
Which learning style is right for you?
|Online Learning||In-Person Learning|
|Great for students with children or family responsibilities||Ideal for students with lifestyles that allow regular class times|
|Learn at your own speed, individualized goal-setting||In-person collaboration, greater emphasis on group learning|
|More flexible schedule||More structured schedule|
|Learn from the comfort of your home, coffee shops, or while traveling||Commuting to campus is a must|
|Focus on balancing work, life, and education||Enjoy a space dedicated to education|
|Perfect for those returning to education and older students||Ideal for those accustomed to in-person student life|
5. Skills are transferable to virtual work.
Work-from-home, virtual, and hybrid workplaces are experiencing rapid growth. Even in-office roles now rely heavily on online components in every industry. Skills you acquire from online learning — like virtual communication, technology proficiency, and time management — can help become more confident in your growing career. Becoming familiar with online programs, communication platforms, and digital citizenship can help you navigate all kinds of professional online spaces.
Connecting with colleagues in a virtual environment is one valuable skill that online learning will help you develop. Discussion boards and virtual study groups are great for connecting and collaborating with fellow students and provide good practice for expressing yourself concisely.
6. E-textbooks are affordable and effective.
Textbooks present a significant cost to students. It can sometimes be challenging to find them or to decide whether to get new or used copies. Thankfully, e-textbooks are often more affordable than physical editions. They also come with interactive materials like workbooks, audio recordings, or quizzes.
Some in-person courses require textbooks that you bring to class daily, but online students are often free to use textbooks if they’re available.
Research has found that students using e-textbooks outperform those using physical textbooks in open-ended test questions. The interactive elements, especially ones where professors could add annotations to the textbook readings, helped students understand the material on a deeper level than a print textbook.
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7. Save valuable time by not commuting.
It may seem like a less important factor, but commute time is a significant part of our day-to-day lives. Commuting can be costly, stressful, and time-consuming. Earning your degree online can save you valuable hours each week which can be used for extra study, self-care, time with your loved ones, and more.
8. You’re not alone in independent learning.
Although online learning has many independent aspects, remember that you have support available to you. At PLNU, for example, our exceptional professors and advisors will help you navigate your schooling and will work with you to get the most out of your education. Whether you’re choosing classes or discovering how to apply your classroom knowledge to the professional world, PLNU will work with you individually to pursue your calling.
Earning your graduate degree online can help you take strides in your educational journey and professional prospects — all without uprooting your personal life. PLNU offers master’s programs in many in-demand fields, including business, nursing, organizational leadership, education, kinesiology, and more. Take the next step and apply today to the graduate program that’s right for you.
Learn more about PLNU's online programs.