Why Are Students Increasingly Being Drawn To Online Learning?

courses interviews Dec 25, 2016

The Fashion Student Hub interviewed a 1st year fashion design student to get an insight into her views about online learning and its benefits. Here’s what she said:


What Is It That Makes Online Learning So Attractive To You?

I can use the time I would commuting to and from university to sleep in. This may sound like a rather trivial answer, but the reality is: we do tend to need more sleep! I work better late at night and really do not work at all well early in the morning. I am not intending to do a fashion job that fits the traditional 9-to-5 mould. I’m aiming to work odd hours from home and the design office to suit my own lifestyle. That’s my ambition so having flexibility in my study time is what I prefer.


Why Do You Think The Traditional University System Is Losing It’s Appeal To Online Learning?

I find that working in a classroom environment just does not give me the time or the place to focus or pursue my dreams and passions. There are too may distractions. Obviously there are some things that you can’t do with an online course but there’s so much that you could if it was available.

Several of my friends are now learning online and doing well. They’re not doing fashion so perhaps their subjects are more suited but even so they are able to pursue their other interests because they have more free time which they wouldn’t have if they worked in a traditional course.

Some of my friends are lucky since they have parents who can provide funds for the opportunity to compete in dance/drama and sporting competitions, or get coaching on writing, acting, or filmmaking. But many of us just spend our days sat in a classroom environment where we waste a lot of time, and do nothing much on the campus apart from this. Ina typical Uni day there’s a lt of wasted or unproductive time which is of no fault of the students. It’s just the way the system works.

Personally, I tend to be more productive on my own at home in my bedroom so the more work that I can d online the better, especially when it’s ‘theory’ and not practical work.


Do You Think A Classroom Environment Can Be Better Because You Are Working With Others?

It may sound really negative, but sometimes our class is full of students sat in a huge lecture hall, some of my friends prefer to skip this experience, because they know the lecturer won’t notice they are missing.

For me, and I know for many of my friends too, this environment is hugely distracting. I’m guilty of it as much as anyone, having access to our phones constantly is a distraction or people have their laptops open. It’s not encouraging learning when people we are more focused on their social media than on listening to what is being taught.

So, in answer to your question, when I am online I tend to place all of my attention on learning.


Do Online Courses Allow You To Move At Your Own Pace, And, If So, How Important Is This For You?

I enjoy participating in an online courses because many tutors use interactive videos, audio and live chats that make the class more intimate and the material more intriguing. This is of tremendous benefit to me, and allows me to work at my own speed, and gives me the chance to receive additional support if necessary, and to get feedback on a one on one basis.

What About The Fact You Don’t Have Any Competition In An Online Environment?

For me, it is perfect to have the ability to easily share thoughts and ideas, I don’t have to battle with the student that constantly seems to answer in class, or the one with the loudest voice!

I have lots of opportunities to view and review lecture videos to cover material several times if necessary. You don’t have that when attending “live” lectures.

I definitely prefer to type my discussions and questions rather than speak up in class, and there are endless opportunities in place such as commenting on posts, videos, and student work or participating in discussion forums.


Are You Able To Find More Interesting Courses Online, Or Is The System Still A Bit Behind, Compared To Going To University Or College?

No. there is more and more choice becoming available online. I would say it is still quite difficult to find a choice of fashion related courses on one platform especially if you’re just looking for some support material like a short course on a particular subject. So The Fashion Student Hub is just a fabulous idea providing you develop enough content for us!

I think taking these courses online in one place will help increase the chances of me getting a job placement in the industry or certainly was a big help in winning my place at my university of fashion.


Are You More Able To Learn With A Schedule That Meets Your Needs?

Yes, this helps me. Sometimes I have forgeont some of the work I learnt in class and need to review in depth and remember the more important concepts I have been taught.

Online, I have the ability to stop, replay, review material at will, rather than feeling uncomfortable in the classroom by having to go in person to my tutor and admit I have forgotten what she was teaching me!


Does Doing Online Courses Work Out More Cost Effective For You?

Well, I don’t have to buy expensive text books as most reading material is free within the course itself or found freely available on the internet, so yes I think it is cheaper in the long run.

I have friends who study online a lot and this reduces their transport costs, babysitting, and other expenses incurred by attending classes in a traditional setting, as all or much of the work can be done at home.

When we go to Uni, we are paying for the college experience, the dining hall, parties, communal activities, sports teams, clubs, and so on. Our fees are contributing toward the cost of these things one way or another so if you can study without paying toward these things then the course should be cheaper.


Is There Any Chance Going To University Or College Might Not Give You All The Skills You Need?

Well, Uni is quite good for giving you general critical thinking skills that build a foundation for the rest of your life, I suppose, but it can be a problem if I graduate without any hard skills and experience needed in the fashion industry, especially when it comes to tech jobs. It’s great having a degree but I know that employers are still critical of some courses because they don’t give us some practical skills and experiences we need.

Unfortunately, most universities fashion courses don’t offer courses on some important kinds of digital skills or even let you know the importance of learning them, whereas on-line I can find these courses and brush up on them easily and relatively cheaply.

I’m doing some research for myself on what I need to learn that wil help me when I leave UNi, subjecst they don't teach me as part of my course.


How Easy And Important Is It To  Communicate With Your Tutor Online When You Need It?

I speak from experience when I say there are definite benefits to speaking with your tutor in the virtual classroom. I can also choose the courses with particular or favourite tutors when  it is an online class. There are loads and loads of teachers/lecturers writing online courses so I can choose the very best in the fashion world or subjects that I think I’ll need in the workplace, whereas in a class I have to accept whoever I am given to teach me. I do not have the choice!


But Can You Easily Communicate With Your Classmates Whenever You Want, Or Is This More Difficult?

Actually, some traditional classrooms discourage me from communicating with my classmates, as it is disruptive to the lesson being taught, or just limited by the sheer number of students in the classroom.

Our tablets, laptops, and phones are extensions of ourselves, and so it is just as comfortable for me to “meet” new friends online, as I would on Twitter of Facebook. In fact, I think it is true to say my friends and I engage much more than we would in a traditional classroom atmosphere through chat on our devices.


Would You Choose Online Instead Or As Well As The Traditional University Or College Courses?

Well, to be fair, a benefit to taking online courses is that it offers much greater flexibility. This is a great option for those who already have a time commitment with family, or work. I have a part time job to support myself at Uni and online classes mould with my own schedule.

I log in to my online course subjects at a time that works best for me personally, as opposed to having to attend a lecture at a specific time. So this is best for me!

However, traditional education may be better perhaps for those who have a little more time in their schedule or where the subjects demand that you have face to face input in your lectures.

So if you’re hoping for a little flexibility, on-campus courses ‘can’ still offer day and evening schedules so you can still coordinate with your daily commitments, but you do need to remember to factor in where you live and work in proximity to the campus, or your finances as a student suffer bigtime!

Life or college? I don’t have to choose!


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