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Online learning: how will it benefit you?

本文作者: rofessor Helen O’Sullivan
For many years now, professionals have recognised the benefit of upskilling through furthering their education once they have laid the foundation of an undergraduate qualification and gained several years of experience in the workplace. For some, taking time out from their work to return to university and earn their postgraduate degree is a viable option.

However, this approach is not best for everyone, and many working professionals have found they can no longer financially afford to take a significant break from their jobs to study full-time. This risk, combined with an uncertain economic climate, means professionals tend to be wary of making big changes like this to a higher degree.

For professionals who were previously unable to leave home and stop working to study for their postgraduate degree, there is still an opportunity to upskill. In recent years, research has shown an increased cultural acceptance in China for embracing digital innovation. This expansion fuels the rapidly growing interest in online learning, a suitable alternative to attending an on-campus university.

Regardless of whether students attend online or on campus, finding the right university is crucial. When researching online programmes, it is important to check the institution’s credentials with an organisation that monitors and advises on quality and standards in higher education. Potential students will also want to find out about programme accreditations at the university that are relevant to their chosen industry; it also makes sense for them to check that the online programmes have the same status and standing as equivalent degrees awarded to those who studied on campus.

The benefits of online higher education are numerous, including the opportunity for professionals to remain in work whilst studying for a postgraduate degree. This approach allows them to have the best of both worlds – the support and interaction of a traditional campus model and the autonomy of the distance-learning option. Students can dive into their studies at a time that suits their busy schedule. Like any masters or doctoral programme, there are deadlines to meet and essays to submit, but online students can study at their convenience, which is the true advantage of online learning.

With the University of Liverpool’s online programmes, for example, there are no fixed lecture times, and the classroom is always open. As one of Europe’s largest providers of fully online postgraduate degree programmes, students are attracted to the world-class university for its more than 30 full-time online degree programmes that provide the opportunity for collaborative learning.

In the online classroom, students are connected with other members of the class as well as with the faculty member as they engage in their curricula, which feature online discussions, videos and reading materials. Students follow a structured framework with specific deadlines that help keep them motivated throughout the programme.

Generally, online learning appeals to working professionals who seek to sharpen their leadership and management skills, allowing them to progress through the ranks of their current business or to change industries completely. One of the many benefits of the online classroom for students is that they have the opportunity to interact on a regular basis with like-minded professionals from other countries and learn international business practices. As a result, the global online classroom allows students to apply what they learn to their workplace and share findings with their classmates to further explore theories and define best practices. For many students, the relationships they build throughout their online programme come to life when they attend graduation. For Liverpool students in the online programmes, having the option to attend graduation twice a year on campus provides the added value of meeting their fellow classmates and faculty members in person to further develop their personal and professional networks – and this is likely to benefit them for years to come.

The advantages of online education extend beyond the student and their employer to the economic impact on the country. Online education allows professionals to remain in their country and contribute to the economy around them. With the help of quality-educated professionals, China will continue its rise in the global innovation rankings.
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