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Getting Started | 2 min read

Why do students still pay for online courses, when so many free resources exist?

Why does a student buy an online course over free information available on the internet? What is the benefit that a student gets while clicking that buy button? These are some of the questions we get asked often.

You see with what has happened over the last few years and recently in 2020 is that online learning has become the new way of life. It is not just a buzzword anymore, it truly has become the need of the hour. According to the 2015 research done by MIT, students are 11X more likely to complete a course for which they have paid for.

Online Course Vs Social Media


We all usually associate “free” to something that is not of value. As such, learners mostly assume that free information won't be of great use. By paying out of pocket certifies that they will be more self-conscious for the money that is being spent on a particular product. As such, students often feel that most of the information that is extracted out of YouTube, Instagram or Facebook does not really cater to their learning needs. Students are now aware that social media content is not really intended for learning. As such learning from social media is not really conducive neither is reliable. As a student who is learning and is not an expert, the difference between what is the right information and what is not just cannot be interpreted without validation from a credible source.

Students also pursue online courses because course creators have established credibility in their expertise and skills and with that, there is a sense of the reliability of the content in the course. Social media enables credibility and visibility for the creator, however, its content lacks reliability.

Why take the online route?

“You get what you pay for” stands true for online courses too. Online courses in this case not only provide a holistic and compiled information structure, they even help in having a fair bit of ROI. Additionally, certifications offered by online courses are also used by the students for their career enhancement, something not available with learning gained from social media. According to a survey, 81% of the online course takers found some amount of career benefits after completion of the course. These benefits included pay rise, promotions or even a better job. Even looking at the psychological aspect of it, students get a morale boost after completion of the online course. The sense of achievement and fulfilment brings out a greater meaning for the learning of the course.

It’s no wonder that governments across the world are also looking at new education policies that would give prominence to online learning just as mainstream education in the foreseeable future. The infrastructure and the credible sources needed and the speed at which the courses/ curriculum needs to be updated are somethings that traditional education methods cannot keep up with anymore.

Benefits associated with learning online

All things considered, peer learning is also of great advantage to the learners while they are learning. While learning online, the lack of interaction isn't beneficial from the perspective of a holistic learning curve for a student. Learning is always backed by discussions and taking the views of your peers. Online courses by having their Portals, Forums, Facebook Groups also facilitate Peer Learning. Interactions and absorbing views from the other side of the story help them get a fair idea of the subject. Being backed by the videos, pdf’s, presentations, question and answers, tests help in getting a clear picture of one's knowledge.

The shift to online education will be beneficial in the long term. The ever-increasing reach of the internet, and with more learners coming up online to get their needs taken care of a huge market exists already. And with the lack of credibility and other issues with the generic internet sources, online courses are the best way in which learners can get a credible and reliable source to get their knowledge base increased.

Learning online - the new normal

With no end near to the global pandemic crisis, online learning will take the center stage in the lives of students and professionals trying to learn a new skill for career enhancement. With all spheres fighting to create solutions that resume lives in the pandemic, education is following suit as well. And with demand for education to go online having already caught steam, the timing has never been better for course creators to provide for the learning needs with their own online courses geared for the masses.


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