10 Benefits Of Online Learning for Adults

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Simon Mclellan

Writer, developer.

In our busy world, it can be difficult to get back to school and get that degree you need to advance your career. Luckily, with the advent of online learning, it’s become easier than ever to go back to school. Whether you were employed straight out of high school and want to get your bachelors, or you’re just looking to sharpen your preexisting skills, online learning provides a unique service you can’t really get when you try to take night classes to get a degree. Not quite sure online classes are for you? Here are ten reasons why they’re much better for adults than a regular college classroom.


It’s way more flexible

When you’re working, you can’t always attend classes from morning to afternoon. You’ve got work and kids and other obligations that you just didn’t have when you were in college.

With online learning, you can learn at your own pace. If something’s really throwing you for a loop, you can get some extra help. If something’s super easy, you fly through it. The class schedule is your schedule and really, now that adults have lives outside of school, that benefit is golden since it lowers the stress associated with taking classes in the evening.

Being an “Adult Learner” is hard in college

Let’s just get this out of the way. People are jerks. If you went to work straight out of high school and decide later to go back to college, prepare for the professors to treat you like a second class human being. Coming into a quote on quote “academic” environment and not being in your twenties really rubs professors the wrong way for some reason.

Being treated differently can really isolate you from the rest of your classmates. It’s embarrassing when professors treat you like garbage and who wants to deal with ridicule when they’re just trying to get an education? Many adult learners end up not going back to college due to the poor treatment they receive. And really, who can blame them?

Online courses allow adult learners to take classes without the fear of being treated terribly by their professors. It’s a shame that adults can’t enjoy the college experience like 20-something college students do, but one person can’t really change an entire stigma themselves, so for the time being, adult learners take online courses.

You’re in a more comfortable learning environment

When you take online courses, you can learn pretty much anywhere you want. If you like going to your favorite cafe to do your homework while drinking a cup of coffee, you can totally do that! If you have social anxiety and you’d prefer to stay at home and learn in your pajamas, that’s perfectly fine, too!

Granted, I think just about everyone wants to learn in their pajamas, but I digress. The point is, online learning gives you the freedom to choose where you want to learn. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, you’re golden.

The costs of online learning are lower

Taking college courses online negates the need to pay for room and board. Some courses don’t even require much in the way of supplies, so you can save even more money in that regard.

You can also take classes through other websites such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that are virtually free and provide valuable classes in business, computer science, math, and foreign languages. Sites like Skillshare provide unlimited access to their courses for only 99 dollars a year. Compare that to college tuition that easily goes into the tens of thousands and you can learn some interesting skills that you previously would have had to pay a premium to learn.

Companies will often help you pay to go back to school as well– especially if you’re a particularly good employee. So if you think you’re interested in getting that bachelor’s or master’s degree, talk to your boss and see what kind of education packages they offer to employees. You might be surprised how important education is to companies.

Online courses are great for your resume

Taking a class online requires a completely different skill set than taking a physical class. You have to be largely self-motivated and able to balance work, school, and personal life. It also shows you know your way around a computer (which we’ll explore a bit more in depth later on).

When you put an online class on your resume, you demonstrate to any future employers that you’ve done that balancing act and were extremely successful. Those kinds of soft skills are incredibly important in a work environment and put you ahead of the rest of your coworkers. Think about it. Would you, as an employer prefer someone who simply said they were self motivated and able to meet deadline, or someone who had proven they could do the same things? I think the answer’s obvious.

And who doesn’t want a little bit of an advantage? Those online courses you took a while ago could actually end up making you more favorable when considered for a promotion or raise.

More money? Yes, please.

There’s a large variety of courses available

When you can take online classes from all over the world, you can learn pretty much anything you want to learn.

Were you interested in one major and the college you attended didn’t quite have what you wanted? Now, you don’t have to get into prestigious colleges to get that one area of study you’re really interested in.

Online learning levels the playing field for everyone. There aren’t these huge hurdles like figuring out how to pay for travel, tuition, or room and board. I’d even argue you could very well call it the great equalizer in terms of the opportunities it offers people of all different backgrounds and walks of life. You don’t have to be dripping in money to take online courses or study certain subjects. If you have an interest, you can sign up for the classes and enrich yourself in valuable ways.

It’s easier to concentrate

While college isn’t necessarily this terrible place where students are yelling and screaming and bouncing off the walls (Although it might be a bit interesting to see what that would look like), online learning gives adults more control over the environment. There won’t be that one noisy roommate that makes it harder to study, and there won’t be miscellaneous noises from parties.

When you’re an adult with a job and a family, you don’t have the same tolerance you had back in college. Even then, loud roommates are incredibly distracting so really, it’s just best to take your classes online.

You don’t have to leave your job to obtain a degree

As previously stated, going to back to college to get a degree is expensive and can force you to move really far away. You’ll have to move far away from your family and your job. If you’re in school for an extended period of time, your job isn’t necessarily going to be there for you when you return. If you’re a college student with a part time job at some fast food place, this isn’t a huge deal, but when you have a career, it isn’t so easy. If your family relies on both you and your partner’s income, you can’t quit your job and go back to school.

Online learning is the perfect solution. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can learn just about anywhere you want.

Credits transfer just about anywhere

Because you’re most likely going to take online courses from a college, they’ll transfer over to pretty much any other college. So if you’re completing a degree at one college, you can take some online courses and put them toward your major. Or you can shop around and find the best prices on the courses you need. Regardless of what your decide to do, online courses are highly transferable so check with your online program to see how to transfer your credit hours over!

And finally, the last reason online learning is great for adults:

It improves your computer skills

This is probably the most important reason you should take online classes. Computer literacy is becoming mandatory in more and more professions. Online learning helps you become more accustomed to using computer programs you’d encounter in a work environment. Being familiar with programs you’ll encounter in the workplace lowers the learning curve when you finally enter the job.


If you’re an adult looking to advance in your career or just pick up a new skill you’ve been interested in for a while, online learning is the best way to learn what you need to without spending an excessive amount of time or money traveling to a college. The flexible schedule allows you to learn when you can while in the environment of your choosing. The lack of travel allows you to keep your current job and build your resume at the same time. Truly, online learning is the best way for adults to improve themselves while still on the job.