There are many advantages and disadvantages of online certification classes. For some students the advantages of online certification outweigh the disadvantages of attending traditional classroom courses. Students interested in professional and personal networking, socializing and sharing with others of similar interests might prefer on-campus certification classes. Taking online classes limits the amount of personal interaction a student may have and requires a great deal of self-discipline.
Attending certification classes online has the potential to be socially isolating since students attend class alone through their computer. Students in online classes attend class after work or during free time in their schedule, which may be in place of social activities. This isolation can prevent students from being able to develop and maintain social skills that may be useful in their personal or professional lives. It is important for students to find a balance between school and social engagements to find success in an online program.
Lack of Academic Collaboration and Interaction
A great disadvantage of attending online certification classes is the lack of opportunity for academic collaboration and interaction. While it is true that online classes afford students the chance to interact with one another, create personal connections, and exchange ideas, interaction in an online environment can reduce the opportunity for collaboration. Asynchronous online classes can also eliminate the opportunity for a continuous, sustained class discussion among a potentially diverse student population. Learning from others and being exposed to different ways of thinking can be considered a large part of the educational process.
Reduced Opportunity for Networking
Attending class in an online environment also reduces the opportunity for planned or chance professional networking. When students interact in an environment with only one objective, usually an assignment or reading, there is a great potential to miss opportunities to interact with other future professionals. Professional networking and making professional contacts is essential for students who are looking to enter the workforce. Having the opportunity to directly interact with others may not only help students understand the working world of their chosen profession, it may also provide a jump start to the task of job hunting.
Demand a Specific Skill Set
Online classes and education carry an implied requirement. In order to be successful in an online environment, a student must possess a skill set that includes above-average time management and strong self discipline. Students in an online program must be motivated to study, attend class when necessary and avoid the urge to postpone assignments. Additionally, students must possess time-management skills in order to complete online work while not neglecting other personal and family obligations.
Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on Education.com, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.