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Making Schedule Flexible With Online Learning

Flexibility is a must for most young adults. Another growing trend is “work-life-balance”. This of course is easier said that done. Most people know or at the least have heard of it, however if it was as easy as flicking on a light switch, we’d all be resting on our sofa beds, or learning how to cook better or learning a new language. Before online learning was even considered, it was simply a catch-phrase. Busy people took night classes after work, hopping on their bikes, cycling through the windy night as they sit in crammed classes and begin the exciting journey of learning.

Now, we find ourselves at a time where learning can be achieved anywhere through means of technology and while technology changes, our lifestyles and flexibility often don’t. 50 years ago, you’d organize everything with a pager that was marketed as an alarm clock plus belt and jeans. But these days, scheduling and flexibility has never been more important, especially for those that work beyond borders. To the average adult, that flexibility is becoming more and more of a requirement. But flexibility isn’t something that can be bought at your local gas station, or touched and be seen. Students have to make flexibility.

Our girl, Yohana, works and is a daughter to someone as well as a friend and a sister. Right off the bat, she is already working multiple jobs at once. She has commitments to her family and dedication to her job and a passion for her career. She has no choice. Online learning however, has provided students like Yohana with an alternative to accessing education. We live at a time where 18 -20 year olds or even 14-16 year olds require flexibility that a Banker in the 70s would need. Much like Yohana, many boys and girls want work life balance. Where activities such as athletics, language skills and further education can be accessed through institutions, online learning allows these students to access them with the much needed flexible scheduling and low cost alternative.

Working and Studying

The Germany Trade and Invest center suggested that, at least in Germany, the working hour exceeds no more that 40 hours per week. Thus, maintaining a work life balance is not a steep learning curve and our girl, Yohana, could sure use that extra time to better communicate with her clients. In the sense of both, having the freedom to enjoy speaking in the same language and clear-cut audio.

Information from Diana G. Oblinger, author “Education and Information technology”, stated that at least 5.6 million students are enrolled in an online class as of 2009. Now, that number is 6.3 million and that’s only in the US. In fact, a study done by UNESCO in their IDEAL project (Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning) states that the most active online learning countries in Europe were Greece, United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

If we translated these statistics, we would get the answer that the education industry is shaping and changing. Traditional adults like Yohana, studied at a traditional university and now that she’s in the real world, it’s time for her to take a step further. Adults, like Yohana, require flexible scheduling and need a non-traditional method to fulfill her family and career expectations. Authors such as Oblinger, suggested that adults can ease up their scheduling and not murder their calendars via online learning means.

The word “classroom” will soon have a different meaning. When you first hear the word, you’d think back to your old high school, with rows and rows of seats as far as the eye can see, filled with students docked down with hoodies and sweatshirts. The word “classroom” will mean nothing when adults can learn and access whatever class they’re taking at home, in a cafĂ©, in a holiday home and more or less any part of the Earth.

Like Yohana, these adults aren’t concerned with prestige, labels, branding, what exotic town their learning institute is in, or whether or not the business is associated with social status. These are people who are concerned with solving real world problems, whilst battling time constraints and schedule issues and she recently had clients who speak multiple languages from different parts of Europe. But that doesn’t matter; she takes language classes through online learning to help her with that. What she needs is flexibility.

Live Online Learning

Choosing an online learning platform is like finding night classes, only the process is simpler. Much simpler. You screen out the shady, untrusted ones that are too far from your house or office and pick the ones that are close. Except that you don’t even have to do that anymore with online learning. You can join a session held in Belgrade, while you are in Hamburg. That one step already eliminated. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, one of the most noteworthy is Live Online Learning, or the abbreviated LOL. The first thing you’ll notice is how incredibly easy it is to sign up. No paperwork or tedious application process. You fill in the details and in 5 minutes, you’re set and ready.

Yohana, like most adults out there, has international clients and wants to learn English. The nearest language school is a 5 km bike ride away and she has other priorities, such as university classes at 8 in the morning and preparing meals for the weekend. She can go through the process of reading thick phone books and cold-calling teachers to tutor her at home, adding transport costs which will be out of Yohana’s expense and given her finances, she’s not in the mood to borrow from the bank any time soon. So, she turns to online learning. She goes back home, turns on her laptop, arranges a meeting with her teacher and on the knowledge train she goes.

The beauty of online classes is that it’s repeatable anywhere and at anytime. She can be learning English while she’s visiting her family in Spain and afterwards take guitar lessons while on her USA trip.

Let’s be honest, most of us avoid commuting like the flu. What better way to wind down from a stressful day at work than to sit in a traffic jam and endure more stress. Students and professional workers have priorities, and sitting in traffic is most likely not one of them. The weather isn’t exactly helpful as well, as snowstorms and blizzards are not only dangerous, it is also unproductive. The economic costs of canceling classes is devastating, for both students and teachers and is highly inefficient. No more time is wasted and days gone without learning won’t be a problem.

Not to mention the cost of accommodation in som extreme examples. With traditional night classes, you’d probably spend hours on end, searching for close dorms and accommodation, because like the average college student, you’d try to find the sweet spot, only to find out that all the rooms have been taken. You’re not exactly keen on spending half your budget on transport and accommodation, so you’ll have to make decisions.

At this point, Live Online Learning is the Band-Aid to your open wounds. You sit at home, on a futon or your work desk and dive straight into class. After all, why buy a cow when you can buy milk from the grocery store? We are in the midst of a global transport-pocalypse. Except that this isn’t the fun kind where you can fantasize about saving the day. The only apocalypse that’s going to happen is to your wallet as you cash out euros after euros just on transport and commuting alone.

The focus of online learning is flexibility. To say that online learning will grant you flexibility is an understatement. You earn it by default once you’ve registered for a class. You’re flexible class-wise as well. Some offer classes from plasma physics to learning how to speak Indonesian. We’re talking about an institution that offers traditional classes and taught in a modern way. It’s not every day that you can wake up and take any class you’d like, but with online learning, students like Yohana can easily decide to learn painting in the morning and study coding in the evening.

Online Learning – Available in a local shop near you!

Don’t be mislead, Live Online Learning is a tool for teachers as much as it is for students. In fact, Online learning has paved way for new industries and a way for small businesses to reach their customers. Moving away from textbook studies and theories, there are of course real life examples. Interact! is a language school situated in Hamburg and it offers online learning as an alternative for its students. Business is as usual, but every dog has its days – sometimes, customers are overwhelmed and their available times don’t match with the teacher’s time. The result is a schedule-organizer’s worst nightmare. The solution was simple: what if teachers and students were taught using video cameras, so students can stay at home and teachers can stay at home and communicate through the internet.

It doesn’t stop at language schools. Several multinational corporations organize meetings via web cam and online platforms. This example is not strictly “learning”, it is however a useful concept to know. Back in the day, you’d have to send emails to each other back and forth, organize phone calls and possibly flights. Now, from Mumbai to Sydney, you can discuss business.

Online learning is a part of a new era of simplicity. We used to listen to music through CDs, now we YouTube it. We used to watch movies on DVD and now we stream it. Online learning is next on the conveyor belt. Educators have been asking the wrong question. It’s not about the what, or the whys or the whos. Rather it’s all about the how. How is it helping the students and how is it helping the teachers. Textbooks, for example might not even be necessary. 20 or so years ago, if you were to say. “I think textbooks are useless and will die out”, people would immediately think you’re some kind of hippie weirdo who’s only job is to wake up in the morning and blame the government for everyone’s problems. Books have been a part of human culture since the dawn of time and there’s no way people will ever stop using books.

But now, with online learning, it’s perfectly logical to ask “will we need textbooks anymore?” Of course, textbooks will always be part of education and learning, however with Live Online Learning, how we use textbooks could be entirely different. For one, it’s important to note that no matter who you are, student or adult, you’re probably sick and tired of having to travel around everywhere carrying tons of thick books, when it could all be traveling light weight and have everything in a laptop. Online learning and e-textbooks go hand-in-hand. When Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, first proposed the idea of streaming movies and TV Shows through the internet, traditional retail giants of entertainment laughed the idea off and passed it on as “frivolous”. However, much like online learning, Hastings believed that what people want is to stay at home and achieve their needs without having to leave their front door. Think of online learning in the same light. You’re achieving the same output with fewer resources.

Online Learning – It’s for Everybody

So far we’ve covered Online Learning for adults, students but as a matter of fact, online learning is accessible by just about anyone. Even the youngest pupil can learn their favourite subjects at home. This also gives them more useful and productive activities to do, rather than increasing their high score on candy crush. Here’s an idea, why not increase their IQ scores instead and with online learning, children can stay at home and access videos and catch up on last week’s Math homework. Sharing information has never been easier and only today has online learning been put on the spotlight.