ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Education

Updated on March 9, 2016

Comparing the Cost of an Online Education

Online learning often provides the maximum return on your education dollar. Accredited online universities allow students to obtain degrees of equal same value as campus based colleges, but offers it at a lower financial risk.

Tuition costs of online classes are often significantly lower than the tuition and fees of campus based colleges. With online classes, students can often pay course by course, month by month or in full any time during their programs.

Some online classes include online books in their tuition costs while others charge extra. At campus-based colleges, students can often expect to pay up to $1000 in books. Digital libraries are also available for online students. These libraries contain thousands of e-books, articles and databases available at a few clicks of a mouse.

Online education also save transportation, fuel costs, and and prevents the expensive cost of campus housing and costly meal plans.

Don't confuse economy and flexiblity with diluted academic quality. Degrees obtained online are challenging and provide an education equal to that of traditional institutions at a fraction of the cost.

Like all accredited institutions, online universities have access to federal financial aid programs.

For years, I wanted to get my degree. I had tried to go back to school, but transportation from the obscure little town where I lived to the two-year college almost 40 miles away. For me to get the four-year degree that I wanted required a drive of over 100 miles. That and the cost of a college education plus the fact that I had children at home gave me all the excuses I needed to put off getting that education.

Four years ago that all changed when my husband decided to try to go to school online and he talked to the university recruiter about getting started on a four-year college degree completely online. Determined that it was now or never, I too applied for the online school. My husband decided at the last minute that he wasn't doing the online class, but undaunted, I started my first class. Now, four years later, I finished my bachelor's degree completely online

Advantages of Online Learning

Online learning can accommodate different learning styles and that are not possible in face to face learning experiences.

Learning online reduces travel time and expenses of attending campus based institutions.

Some classes allow for students to work at their own pace in self-pace learning modules. If these students have difficulty, online tutors are often available to assist students over the rough patches in the learning process.

Students have the ability to study anywhere there is access to a computer and an internet connection.

When students learn online, classes are more student centered. Students have more flexibility in their choices of learning materials that meet their level of interest and knowledge.

One of the best advantages that I have found with my online education is that I can schedule my class work around work and family obligations. In October 2013 my father died and in Nov 2013 my brother died and i had to travel from Missouri to Pennsylvania to attend their funerals. Because my education was online, I was able to fit my classwork between traveling, visitation, and funerals. It wasn't easy to do, but i was able to do my classwork without interruption. I couldn't have done it if I had been in a traditional campus based college.


Harvard University Commencement Exercises are pictured May 30, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University Commencement Exercises are pictured May 30, 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts | Source

Disadvantages of Online Learning

The other day I was talking with a friend who attends a campus based higher education program and she told me that she had heard that online classes are more difficult than campus based learning. It was at that moment that I realized that online learning is not for everyone.

Online learning requires a lot of research and writing and some people are not as adept at written communication and would find it difficult to use this mode of communication effectively.

In addition, some students are not as highly motivated or have difficulty disciplining themselves to meet classroom deadlines.

More verbal and social students may feel isolated from their instructors and other students. My middle son, who attended a campus based college had taken a few online courses and hated them because he liked the social nature of the campus based experience.

Some students who do not have access to high speed internet may find it too difficult or time consuming to access online course materials. For instance, when I first started my online education, our internet connection was poor so we decided to get satellite internet. Even this wasn't optimal, but I made it work by getting online early in the morning.

Some students may not have the digital management, technical ability, or computer skills required to handle the complexity required for downloading files and keeping organized.

In addition, instructors may not always be available when students need them. Many of these instructors have other jobs and other classes that they are conducting at the same time that yours are in session.

In some areas, it may be difficult to get a reliable online connection in your home. Fortunately, most online universities have online technical support that can walk you though most online technical problems. However, if your wi-fi or internet service is less than high speed internet service, you might need to reconsider getting an online education.

Some degrees require hands-on lab work that is difficult or even impossible to simulate in an online classroom. However, most universities have programs that are hybrid programs that can include both online and on campus experiences.

Finally, some schools that charge more because they are private schools may not be considered as good as traditional schools. As will everything else, it is important to do your homework before deciding on an online school.

Is Online Education Right for You?

I discovered that an online education is a perfect fit for me. The fact that I am good at organizing my own time, working around family obligations, and not having to go outside of my home to complete my classes makes an online education a perfect fit for me. An honest evaluation of these advantages and disadvantages of your own situation will help you determine if this type of education resonates as the best choice for you.

© 2013 Cygnet Brown


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      6 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Thanks KoraleeP for the condolences, but my mother is still alive. It was not a misprint when I wrote that it was my brother that died. It certainly was a shock.

      I appreciate your other comment about the pros and cons of online learned too. I hope that the ones who really need to read it do.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 

      6 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      I'm sorry about the loss of your parents.

      Your Hub is of course very well written, and its great how you pointed out both the pros and cons. People thinking about enrolling in an online college, can learn a lot from your Hub about whether or not it is a good fit for them.

    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      6 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Thanks for the comment, dilipchandra12.

      Exactly, thanks for your feedback, srsddn.

    • srsddn profile image


      6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      cygnetbrown, online education has become quite popular in many parts of the world. I think it has all its advantages like limited financial implications, time management and so on. But it requires more commitment and you have rightly mentioned some of the disadvantages too. Subject to having certain skill, it can prove to be a better option for employed and home-bound persons. Thanks for sharing.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 

      6 years ago from India

      Great hub, useful info.

    • cygnetbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygnet Brown 

      6 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Thanks, Bill, I think you would do great if you took an online course.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad it worked out for you, Donna. I've never taken an online course so it was interesting to read your accounting of it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)