When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it changed life seemingly overnight. Social distancing measures meant that students, who were previously learning in classrooms, had to swiftly move their studies online. 

By Sarah-Jane McQueen

While this cataclysmic shift was a challenge for all, it has sparked real change in the e-learning sector, making this route to education more accessible to individuals than ever before. 

Some commentators suggest that this educational pathway helps students retain five times more information than traditional options, that’s positive news for the wider community. E-learning has become an option for everyone from students to professionals. 

Flexible study options 
If you’ve already got commitments elsewhere, time flexibility is a must and finding a learning solution that doesn’t involve having to attend classes could be the answer. One of the biggest benefits of online learning is that you can do it whenever and wherever you want. With many of these courses, you have the opportunity to ‘log on and go’. That means that whatever individuals have in their busy schedules, they will be able to access their chosen course at a time that suits them. This newfound level of flexibility is one of the major advantages that draws many people to the notion of online learning as a viable option. 

Support and additional materials 
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to online learning, is that you are simply paying for a course. That is not always the case. When you sign up for a course with an e-learning provider, you get much more than that. Learners also get access to a wealth of support and resources through their chosen platform. Should they have any problems when it comes to their course, they can reach out to customer services to get help. This level of intricacy makes gaining a qualification from the comfort of your home a straightforward process. 

Learn at your own pace 
For many individuals, the fast-paced pressure of traditional education can prove stressful. Fortunately, most online learning options negate this entirely. A real advantage of taking an online course is that you can learn at a pace that suits you. 

Much of the time, that means stopping and starting your studies as you need to. For example, should you find that your lifestyle is unpredictable and subject to change, you may have to take an unexpected break from your course. When you’re studying online, doing that could not be easier. Content can often be revisited and accessed whenever you need it. Additionally, if you’re watching a video as part of your course, you can literally pause it and come back to it at a time that suits you. 

Support for people with visual or hearing impairments
One of the barriers to learning for people with visual or auditory disabilities is a lack of support. Luckily, many e-learning courses make provisions for individuals with these challenges. For example, you may be able to switch on subtitles on educational videos or have text-to-speech functions. Ahead of choosing any course, it’s worth checking out what the specific features are to ensure that they align with your requirements. The better you understand the course and its criteria, the easier it will be to commit to it. 

The pandemic has changed the way that the world works, in some cases for the better. The surge of interest in online learning could open up countless opportunities for people living with disabilities. Moreover, there has been a huge expansion in the types of courses available, many of which teach people in-demand skills. For that reason, it could be the ideal time to look into e-learning options and see whether this pathway suits you.

Sarah-Jane McQueen is General Manager of online education provider, Courses Online.

Courses Online host hundreds of courses from the UK’s premium education providers with a search tool that can create a personalised list of courses in under 30 seconds. They’ve matched over 40,000 students with their ideal course.

So, whether you’re looking for a career change or are upskilling, returning to work or looking for an absorbing hobby, they’ve got a course for you.