There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Between the kids running around your feet, the extra workload your boss wants you to bring home, and those silly little things like needing to eat and sleep you don’t know how you could ever upgrade your skills. Going back to school is the last thing on your mind even though you’re sure it would move you up the ladder at work. What are you going to do? You want improve but the thought of sitting down in a class away from your family for the next three years just doesn’t cut it. That’s where online education comes in.
Credibility used to haunt online education due to people saying it didn’t have the same quality of face to face time. In many ways the platforms looked like shadows “diploma mills” where people use correspondence courses by mail. That’s just not the case anymore. The internet has revolutionized the quality of education a person can get in this generation. Online education has respect and the growing number of traditional universities using online platforms is proof. This past decade of growth in the amount of individuals taking advantage of online education is truly remarkable.
According to the Babson Survey Research Group in 2011 there were 6.7 million students enrolled in at least one online course. This is up from 2002 when there were only 1.2 million students taking some kind of online course. And the universities that used to frown on the practice? Well they’ve seen the quality and got on board. 72 percent of traditional schools in higher education utilized online education platforms in 2002. This has increased to 87 percent of traditional schools using online education in 2012. Not only that, but 67 percent report that they grant full distance education diplomas. This means you don’t sit away from your family listening to a droning professor after hours of work. Education comes to you. Quality education comes to you and fits into your lifestyle.
Did you know that the demand for education is a $1.2 trillion market? Besides that corporations were known to spend $130 billion in training their staff. That’s where you benefit from all of this demand. Corporations need skilled and dedicated employees. When they find such employees they are willing to invest in their training so that it improves the bottom line of the company. A case in point is the McDonald’s corporation. In the 1960’s they were laughed at as a fledgling company for developing a full blown campus dedicated solely to training their managers in the mission and protocol of McDonald’s.  Nobody is laughing now at the multi-national company that dominates the fast-food industry. Now, their training facility, Hamburger University offers college credit in some of their courses and you guested it―online platforms cover some of their offerings.  The great thing is that more and more companies want to train their employees for advancement through online offerings. This puts you in the driver’s seat.
Brave New World
The digital revolution has transformed how people interact on a day to day basis. If you told me that someone didn’t have a phone in their home even ten years ago I would have thought you were talking about a hermit in the hill country of the Appalachians. Not anymore. So much communication takes place in a mobile, wireless world that online education has a side benefit you might not have noticed. It trains you in how to work in today’s global economy.
If you are not a “pre-internet” dinosaur then this is not really big news. The reality, however, is that many of the middle management positions that require improved skills trainings and degrees are taken by one of two people. They are taken by the person with seniority and experience or they are taken by the person with the most up to date skills. There are a few large companies that have a few older employees that feel they don’t need to keep up. That’s not you, however. You want to be the one with the experience and the skills. You need online education.
Consider this. In the mid 1700’s a person may have apprenticed in a skill as a teenager and then worked their way up. Ben Franklin did that as a printer, publishing flyers and whatever the Master wanted. He could have stayed in that position the rest of his life after that initial phase with little to no extra training. The technology simply did not change that fast. This mentality worked until manufacturing in the mid 1950’s. That world is simply gone. Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. Bill Gates said. Technology has us in a perpetual state of needing to adapt. There are new things every day. That means we need to be educated on new issues. That means an online education will be here to get us there.
Reflect on the real world you are living in and the best, most convenient vehicle to get you where you want to go. That’s the real benefit of an online education. It is a convenient way of upgrading your skills and taking control of your tomorrow.
 Love, J.F. (1986). McDonald’s: Behind the Arches. New York, NY: Bantam.