5 Advantages and 5 Disadvantages to Consider about Online Education

Increasingly, people are taking greater control of their careers and their learning, and with advancements in online technology, more and more people are choosing to study online. They are seeking skills to accelerate their careers and to learn in a way and at a schedule that suits them.

While far from a new concept, the pandemic era has accelerated and focused our thoughts that education needs to be more flexible. Advances in technology are playing an increasingly important role as educators seek ways for their students’ learning experience not to just mimic traditional classrooms but rather better prepare professionals for today’s modern workplace. 

Traditional bricks and mortar university degrees have been a staple of careers like law, financial management, marketing, health care, and others for decades. What’s changed during that time is how universities and private schools are offering their classes.

While online programs allow for more flexibility in students’ schedules, face to face programs offer students more personalised coursework and the opportunity to take full advantage of internships, networking, and other career resources. 

Weighing the opportunity cost of quitting a job and forgoing a salary to enrol in a traditional, in-person program against the option of maintaining employment while completing an online program is a difficult decision for some prospective students. 

Here we examine the pros and cons of online education and list 5 advantages and disadvantages to consider when it comes to deciding between an online or traditional educational experience.

Advantages of Online Learning

Online Eductation

Timelines & Timetables

The biggest and most obvious difference between online and face to face programmes is the rigidness of the timetable. Traditional programme delivery adheres to a strict timetable with students required to attend classes, submit assessments and sit examinations at set times –  often with penalties for missed classes and late submissions.

Online students are able to finish coursework at their own pace each quarter or semester, which means they could complete their programme at the ‘full-time’ pace or extend their timeline to suit their schedule. Online students can focus on their studies at a time that works best for them – this is particularly relevant for shift workers and those that work unsocial hours. Some students study best during the early mornings, while night owls thrive when burning the midnight oil!

Financial & Geographic Barriers

Online programs remove common financial and geographic barriers to enrollment that traditional education programmes maintain.

A massive decision intending students of traditional education have to face is the necessity to relocate to the university or college locality. There is mounting evidence to suggest that for many students the costs of paying for separate accommodation and living away from home proves an invincible financial barrier to further education. Cost, while always a consideration, is increasingly important during a period of rising inflation.

The flexible nature of an online programme timetable means that it is possible for students to combine work and study. This in turn provides the option of avoiding the necessity to leave a paying job removing an often insurmountable financial barrier for many students. Online learning is a great solution for people that already have a job, and still want or need further education.

Class Diversity

This has led to another advantage for online education students, online programmes have seen a trend to more diverse classes—including higher numbers of women, underrepresented minorities and geographical spread. This in turn makes it more attractive for companies actively recruiting as they are looking for diversity and are now more likely to find it in the online graduate pool rather than the traditional one.

Learning Styles

Every student has a different learning journey and a different learning style. Some students are visual learners, while some students prefer to learn through audio. Similarly, some students thrive in the classroom, and other students are solo learners who get distracted by large groups.

The online learning system, with its range of options and resources, can be personalised in many ways. It is the best way to create a perfect learning environment suited to the needs of each student.


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Online learning offers teachers an efficient way to deliver lessons to students. Online learning has a number of tools such as videos, PDFs, podcasts, and teachers can use all these tools as part of their lesson plans. By extending the lesson plan beyond traditional textbooks to include online resources, teachers are able to become more efficient educators.

Disadvantages of Online Education

Career re-skillers

The people who benefit most from a face to face education are those who want to shift careers. Take somebody that has worked in marketing. They’ve decided they want to work in finance. How do they make that pivot? Well If they are in a brand management job, that’s really tough to do. If they go to business school they get the training. They spend the summer internship at a finance job, then it makes that jump easier.


Student isolation

Students can learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, in an online class, there can be reduced physical interactions between students and teachers. This often results in a sense of isolation for the students. In this situation, it is imperative that the school allow for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. This can include online messages, emails and video conferencing that will allow for face-to-face interaction and reduce the sense of isolation.

Technology Issues

Advances in technology have allowed for faster broadband, interactive & adaptive learning platforms as well as gamification which allow greater flexibility when it comes down to both what we learn and the pace we choose to learn it at. 

However internet connectivity can be a challenge. While internet penetration has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in learning.


Online Education

Many full-time programmes encourage and sometimes require students to participate in internships. While online students may seek out internships, most of these programmes don’t emphasise the experience as much. 


Additionally, online students don’t have the same experience as traditional students when it comes to networking among classmates. Many online providers implement occasional, mandatory events in person. These, for example, may include quarterly immersions where students are expected to meet in person for networking coaching, as well as academic content and career development opportunities.


So if you are in search of the best education, but do not want to relocate, give up your current lifestyle or disrupt family life, online learning is an excellent option.

Online programs have the massive advantage of removing the two biggest obstacles to further education – financial wherewithal and geographical constraints. This has led to another advantage for online education students, online programmes have seen a trend to more diverse classes which makes their graduates more attractive to employers seeking diverse teams.

The disadvantages of online programme include the reduced networking and internship opportunities. This in turn can lead to student isolation and excessive time spent on screens. While online education has been transformed by technology, this is only useful where internet connectivity is not a challenge.

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