Pros and Cons of Taking an Online Educational Course

For a few years now online educational courses have grown in popularity, allowing people to study at their own pace, from a vast array of topics and irrespective of their location. Some say that these could never replace physical classes in universities, and to some extent, these could be true, so maybe they should be seen as more of an extension to education, rather than something trying to eliminate the current structure of formal education.

Below we look at some of the pros and cons of taking an online educational course and hopefully it can help you decide if it is something you would like to pursue.


1) You are not limited by your physical location

One of the biggest barriers to social mobility is a person’s location. If they do not live near schools or have decent quality formal education, then they usually have weak job prospects. Online courses change all that. Sometimes internet access is easier to get than getting to a school or university so online courses would be an ideal alternative. Online courses can give access to higher-quality educational content as it could be provided from the best education systems yet be available to anyone with an internet connection. This improves inclusivity by a huge amount.

2) It can be much cheaper to take

An online course would not require you to move city or country, rent accommodation, pay transport costs to and from your school or university – all huge costs to consider with education. All you would usually need is an internet-connected device and possibly course fees (which would be much lower than taking a physical course). Online courses take down the often huge financial barrier to entry.

3) There is much more variety

If you want to take just a unit or one topic associated with a subject, then this is possible, unlike formal physical educational institutions where you would usually be required to take every subject available within a course. Some courses may not be available in some institutions, but this is no longer an issue with online courses. If you want to take up only a section of IT where you learn how to develop visitor management systems then this is possible without having to apply for the whole IT course. The only decision to be made now is which institution to choose from!


1) You won’t have the same social benefits as studying in person

Sure, you can make friends online, but can’t compare to friendships borne in person and spending time with each other. It is not as easy to ask questions or bounce off other people’s energy and ideas when done online either. This is pretty much the price you pay for convenience.

2) You are reliant on the internet

In some places where the internet connection is unstable or weak, this may be a barrier to the quality and availability of online courses. While you can choose from a huge amount of resources, if you are offline, it could make learning difficult.

As we can see there are various pros and cons to taking online educational courses. The pros are heavily in favour of it but what is important to understand is that online and in-person studies can work hand-in-hand, it is not a case of one or the other.