Accelerated online education: Boosting professional development on every level

Jennifer E. Engen

Accelerated online education: Boosting professional development on every level

The past decade witnessed a gradual shift in education as more and more institutions engaged with the internet and turned to online solutions. COVID-19 positively catapulted online learning into hyperdrive as physical instruction migrated to virtual platforms.

But the coronavirus cannot take all the credit. Pre-pandemic indicators pegged the online education sector as a $350 billion industry by 2025. However, the pandemic may have boosted these forecasts significantly.

Digitized education makes career advancement not only possible but also affordable. Additionally, it enables accelerated online learning to fast-track qualifications and professional development.

Accelerated online education

Accelerated online education is the completion of set courses or qualifications in shorter periods compared to traditional timelines. Typically, it is a multi-tiered approach that allows students to control learning acquisition speeds and methods.

Courses, such as shorter degree programs, are naturally more complex. Accelerated learning opposes conventional academic systems and affects everything from content to the prescribed hours in which to master this content.

It incorporates collaborative and practical in-context elements to speed up the study process. Essentially, accelerated education is more hands-on. For example, nursing students will study newborns presenting with jaundice to identify trends rather than submit a lengthy paper on the phenomenon.

Benefits of accelerated online learning

Today’s workplaces are in constant flux. Societies see ever-changing advances, especially in technological fields, from year to year. Accelerated online learning answers the call of these demands by keeping pace with modern developments.

Consequently, online learning empowers job candidates to seek and gain relevant knowledge and skills. This encourages professional growth and the opportunity to keep on growing professionally.

Individuals and employers benefit from quickening the time it takes to complete a qualification. Nanodegrees, for example, can be completed between six and 12 months and include a modular component for continued learning. It thus builds on prior knowledge while filling in the gaps with new concepts.

One such program is the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing post-baccalaureate ABSN online. This accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a hybrid learning program that merges online education with clinical and lab experiences.

Multi-level interaction

Many misperceive online education as a solitary endeavor with robotic feedback. In fact, it is highly interactive as students regularly engage with fellow learners, peers and instructors.

Most courses entail different levels of interaction, some of which form part of the learning material. Group sessions and discussions are common, while practice-based candidates are often placed in specified facilities where they work with professionals in various capacities. Some feel these different planes of interaction equip candidates with multi-functional communication skills essential to any job. 

Cost-effective and time-saving

As stated, online learning is more affordable than its brick-and-mortar counterpart. There are minimal utility and infrastructural overheads.

Accelerated online education not only saves time on a course itself but it also cuts out things such as traveling time and transport expenses. Essentially, this educational approach saves time and money on every level.

Convenience

People often think accelerated online learning entails rigorous time management with little room to move. However, online studies actually allow students to mold their learning programs around their work and life schedules.

Not being tied down by a specific timeslot in a physical lecture hall affords certain liberties to manipulate a study program and make time for family, work and other activities. It is easier to balance these things and still manage online sessions, assignments, reviews and practical coursework.

Accelerated online learning also gives one freedom to move. All that is needed is an internet connection and a suitable device. This makes it easy to select the best environment conducive to one’s studies.

Ready availability of learning material

Virtual sessions and digital material are freely accessible on learning platforms. During any time, students can access or go back to recorded lectures and resources.

This availability helps a great deal with assignments and preparations for exams. It also limits the costs of additional textbooks.

Individual learning styles

People have different ways of acquiring and processing information. For instance, some are good listeners, while others need to map things in writing for better memory retention. 

In a physical setup, students attend lectures, take notes and eventually return to these notes to study. Online learning breaks away from this norm and offers students the chance to review the content in line with their unique learning styles. Here, they can integrate their dominant visual, auditory, reading and writing approaches to optimize learning.

Support systems

Effective support accompanies online learning. Course candidates are not bound to in-office consultation times and can simply drop an email to their instructors when needed.

Students can also access online discussion panels, video calls or instant chats to get the support they require. This not only extends to their instructors but to administrative support as well.

Many online institutions encourage regular contact to ward off feelings of studying in isolation. To help with this, most courses offer voluntary contact between students to soundboard and brainstorm ideas. 

As students in similar courses and work circumstances often share the same stressors, it creates a support network that strengthens outcomes on personal and professional levels. Communicating through different media on different platforms reinforces communication skills.

Practical placements

Online learning institutions establish placement agreements at suitable facilities for the practical complement of hybrid courses. This means students do not have to source or create their own practice-based learning.

Flexibility

COVID-19 taught companies how important flexibility is – not just to stay afloat through difficult times but how to remain competitive as well. The global economic crisis showed how survival and success often rely on embracing technology and rapid reskilling initiatives.

Online learning provides a tangible solution that benefits companies and individuals alike. It functions in a virtual sphere that can cater for evolving economic and market-specific dynamics.

It seems the pandemic highlighted a much-needed and practical paradigm shift in education. It proved that even practice-based qualifications such as nursing can thrive on online platforms.

All in all, the benefits of accelerated online education outweigh any likely disadvantages. It is learning designed for a future digital era.

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