From online degrees to Kaplan's own Virtual Learning Environment, digital learning has existed in various forms for many years. Now lots of institutions are adopting this technology as a solution while face-to-face teaching is suspended — so what are the benefits of digital learning?
1. Recorded lectures
One big benefit of digital learning is that some of your classes will be recorded. This means that if you miss something, or realise later that you don't quite understand a particular topic, you can go back and watch the class again to get the answers you need.
You'll always be able to ask your teacher if you're struggling with anything, but solving a problem by yourself can be a great feeling!
2. 24-hour resources
Perhaps you find it easier to focus in the evenings, or you just can't sleep and want to get some extra study in after hours — with digital learning, you won't have to worry about the library or the lab being closed.
You'll be able to access your learning materials online any time, and with advanced tools like lab simulations you can even carry out science experiments from the comfort of your own home!
3. Connected learning
When you choose online learning, you'll be part of a connected community. If there's something you need help with, tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams can connect you with your classmates so you can find the answers you need right away.
And, although your teachers will still have a timetable of classes to teach throughout the day, instant messaging platforms and email mean you won't have to wait until your next lesson with them to ask any questions you may have. Although they might not always be able to answer you right away, you'll both have the freedom to communicate at times during in the day that suit you.
Finally, although you may be physically distant from your classmates, technology like video calling means you can easily keep in touch with your new friends.
4. Self-directed study
Self-directed study is an important part of higher education. It refers to the time you spend learning away from your classes, when you're not being directed by a teacher.
This time is important because it helps you to identify the things you're good at, and the areas where you might need to work a little harder.
Although you will still have plenty of contact with your teachers while you're studying online, there will also be times when you will have to make an active decision to study, and choose for yourself what to focus on.
Taking charge of your own education like this can be very empowering, and can give you a sense of self confidence that helps you to do even better. University-level study also involves a lot of self-directed learning, so it's great preparation for your degree.
5. Flexible choices
These days, we have a wealth of technology at our fingertips, and that's especially true when it comes to digital learning — you'll be able to mix and match the programs and software you use with different people, and for different activities.
So, even if your teacher always uses Zoom to broadcast lectures, when you're working on a group project with your classmates you'll be able to play around and find the method of working together that works best for you, whether that's Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams or even WhatsApp!
6. Written language skills
Digital learning could help you improve your written language skills. When you're studying online, you will likely use instant messaging apps to quickly get in touch with people, so you won't be able to rely on the hand gestures and facial cues that can make communicating easier.
That means you will learn how to write in a way that that is clearly understood — great practice for all the essays you'll be writing.
7. Familiarity with technology
Our hyper-connected world means that more and more businesses are going global, with overseas offices and remote workers in lots of different countries.
It's not always practical to fly across the world for a meeting, so many businesses are adopting online connectivity tools to create virtual meeting rooms — just like the tools you use when you join your seminars online, or get together with your classmates to discuss your homework.
When you graduate, you'll have plenty of experience using software that some working professionals are only getting to grips with now, which could help you with the transition from studying to starting your career.
8. Tracked progress
Digital learning doesn't only help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, it enables your teachers to track your progress too. They will have an easily accessible online record of all your work, and they'll be able to monitor your engagement as well.
For example, your teacher will be able to see if you are attending all of your seminars, but not contributing to some of them. That could be because you are struggling with that material, so they will be able to reach out and offer guidance. They might even realise you're having a problem before you do!
9. Fewer emissions
Like many other young people, you may be trying to reduce your "carbon footprint" — the things you do that contribute to CO2 emissions and may have a negative effect on the world's atmosphere.
If you study online, you will be able to easily cut down on the number of journeys you make as you won't have to travel to your classes every day. You'll also have more time to yourself, as your longest commute might between the couch and your quiet study space!
10. It's fun
Last but not least, studying online is highly effective because it's fun! That's why Kaplan integrated digital learning techniques like interactive quizzes into our classroom teaching some time ago.
This kind of course material is highly engaging, so it encourages you to participate more in your classes. You might even find that you absorb a lot of knowledge without even realising, because you were too busy enjoying yourself!
Find out more
We're currently helping international students start their path to a top university in the UK or USA by teaching our pathway courses online. You can join us from your home country and still progress to your university degree, so you don't have to delay your dreams, even if you aren't able to travel right now.