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Online learning: The modern alternative to college

Welcome to the first blog in our ‘Parent Series’ looking at college education vs online learning.

Updated on 20 July 2020

The aim of our parent series is to educate and inspire the next generation of tech professionals and demystify the age-old preconceptions surrounding learning online.


Let’s look at why online learning is best for the younger generation

Whether you like it or not, our kids are firmly part of the dreaded ‘screen’ generation.  And yes, overuse can lead to insomnia, problems with their attention or even social and emotional issues.  However, if utilised correctly and managed well, the ‘screen’ generation can and will naturally interface with technology from a very early age, which means a ‘no fear’ approach when engaging with any given virtual environment for most applications.

“The next generation of workers and professionals already seek what they need and want online, organically finding a way with technology.”

We all like (and benefit from) learning at our own pace – not having either the constraints of those slower than us or even the sometimes detrimental and somewhat negative experience of those speeding past. This is very obviously why 1-2-1 tuition is favoured over the average of 20/1 classroom-based ratio – and is often where online learning comes into its own. Think of a 1-2-1 teacher that you can switch on and off (on demand), plus being able to rewind and pause where necessary. Self-paced learning is not only good for the mind but can be good for the soul too.

Is online learning worth the money?

When learning any specific skill that provides training, certification and preparation for the big wide world, there is obviously a cost. However, this cost is significantly reduced when learning online. The need for travel, accommodation, venue and associated overheads are all removed.

Thanks to advances in technology, not only is immersive instructor-led video content widely available, but real-time online ‘Practice Labs’ are too – for genuine hands on ‘real world’ experience.

“When comparing online entry-level IT certification course costs to the classroom – we found that online costs were 32% to that of a classroom alternative…”

How will my child benefit from online learning?

When anyone of any age ‘gets something’ for the first time, a natural eureka moment occurs.  This frequency tends to be increased with self-paced learning, due to a genuine feeling of individual achievement, and can also be enhanced due to a lack of distraction from peers.

Online learning means that young people can work around their own concentration cycles, they can take breaks when necessary and plan for milestones of achievement step by step.

How does online learning compare to college?

Online learning is always current, industry-specific and relevant to actual careers. The sad fact is that by the time an academic syllabus for technology is written, it’s already out of date. Unfortunately, our experience of student’s gaining university degrees for IT or coding and not being able to gain employment is more frequent as time and technology moves forward.

The cost is significantly reduced to that of a University degree, and in terms of practicality, will empower our future workers with tangible job-ready skills. Technology certifications are written for the industry by the industry – if you want to become an IT technician, you’ll learn and certify to the CompTIA A+ Technician standard, the same goes if you want to become an ethical hacker, you train and certify to the EC-Council certification standard of the CEH.

Another benefit of certification training is that the certifications are globally recognised meaning that the professional can deliver work in all 4 corners of the globe.

“According to the 2017 Career Advisory Board tech skills survey, 60% of employers said that most job applicants don’t have the tech skills that they need for their careers. Also, half of the employers said there’s a tech skills gap in their employee base…”

What are the advantages of online learning over classroom-based learning?  

Flexibility is the key here. Our kids can still pursue their hobbies, sports and interests while learning online. And can also very importantly at the same time engage with gainful employment, providing real-world work experience and in turn development of social skills which will crucially enhance and advance them in their chosen career…

The immediacy of online training is also a huge benefit over classroom learning. Removing the travel time and scheduling of attending a classroom means you can actually spend more ‘down time’ upskilling. The 45 minutes each way to class suddenly turns into a 1.5-hour lesson.

If you’d like to discuss the options of professional certification training in detail for your child, then simply get in touch with one of our career consultants who can help you navigate through the courses to find one that’s perfect for them.