Have you thought about pursuing higher education but cannot juggle motherhood, paid work and university? You’re eager to take your career up a level but need more qualifications? You want to learn new skills but you’re overwhelmingly busy? You’re not alone; many mums feel like they just don’t have the time to fit learning into their lives. With family commitments, money matters and time constraints, many mums find their options for further study frustratingly limited. Online learning could be the answer to this problem.
The concept of online learning
At its most simple, online learning is a form of learning conducted partly or wholly over the Internet. Students are provided with the online resources to study for an internationally recognised qualification without having to attend any classes on campus. Courses are usually housed within a learning-management system and are supported by interactive forums, virtual lectures and webinars.
The benefits of online learning for busy mums
1. Flexible learning
It is demanding to combine motherhood, paid work and studying but the flexible structure of online learning encourages a healthy balance. Because you’re not tied down to weekly classes, you’re in control of your own study timetable which allows you to find a study routine that works for you. You can study once the kids are in bed, or when they are at school or even on your lunchbreak at work. There are usually no set assignment deadlines and course materials are available for years so you can progress at your own pace and make studying fit around your life.
2. Ongoing support
Anyone who goes on to further study will likely feel tired and overwhelmed at times but online learning courses have great support networks in place. Studying online is no longer the isolated domain it was twenty years ago, rather students are now encouraged to engage in ‘social learning’ by exchanging ideas and resources online. Discussion forums and social network pages are accessible to help connect students with their peers, so you won’t feel alone. Tutors are also available to provide academic support online via email and webinars so that online learning students receive the same level of support as campus students.
3. Career prospects
Many mothers opt into higher education with a view to future employment opportunities. Today’s job market is crowded with graduates, many people feel that a degree will help them remain competitive. An online degree can open many doors when it comes to career prospects as the courses give students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skill sets. This is ideal for those looking to refocus their career as a degree makes you better qualified for a new role. Online learning also appeals to mothers as they can help you to increase your earning potential; courses are central to continuing professional development and put you in a better position for a promotion.
From day-care fees to dance classes, the cost of raising children is high. Very few mothers have enough disposable income to fork out £9,000 a year university fees. Online learning degrees are distinctive because they cost relatively little – dependent on the course provider, they can cost as little as a fifth of the price. In most cases, there are no associated costs such as text books or commuting costs as all course materials are accessible for free online.