The Benefits of Online Learning for Personal and Professional Learners


Whether you’re a personal or a professional learner, you may be interested in taking classes online. If you haven’t engaged in online learning before, you will discover that there are many benefits to taking classes online rather than in a traditional classroom setting.

Defining Personal Learners

Personal learners pursue knowledge in areas or personal interest. A survey showed that 74% of these learners took a class within the past 12 months because they wanted to learn something new. There were a variety of motivating factors for these learners:

  • They wanted to be more effective with helping others: 64%
  • They had the time available to pursue their interests: 60%
  • They wanted to turn a hobby into an income-generating business: 36%
  • They wanted to assist their children, grandchildren, and others with homework: 33%

In addition to taking classes, personal learners also attend meetings and other types of events to explore their interests. Personal learners have reported that they experienced these benefits:

  • They felt more capable and well-rounded: 87%
  • They developed new perspectives about their lives: 69%
  • They made new friends: 64%
  • They felt more connected to their communities: 58%
  • They felt encouraged to volunteer: 43%

Defining Professional Learners

Professional learners are employed adults that are interested in learning new skills or enhancing their current skill set. They are also interested in increasing their expertise for career advancement, and 63% took a course or engaged in some type of training within the past 12 months.

Career advancement tends to be the main motivation for people to take classes online. Since they’re often working full-time, this is an effective way to address this goal. A recent survey showed that 46% of online learners are engaging in online learning for this reason.

Students in Higher Education

It’s not surprising that so many students are opting for online learning. A survey showed that 64% of these students appreciated the freedom to study when and where it was convenient for them.

The Babson Survey Research Group report for 2013 showed that over six million students have taken at least one of their courses online. Students participating in higher education programs are also taking at least one online course as part of their degree programs.

A large percentage of students take online classes so that they are better able to balance their work, family, and social responsibilities. This was the case with 68% of online students that stated they were able to balance their lives with greater ease due to participating in online courses.

Explore the Benefits of Online Learning

Are you a personal learner, a professional learner, or a combination of both? Given that there are so many benefits to taking online courses, chances are that you’re interested in doing so as well. Once you take your first class online, you’ll be able to experience the benefits directly.