Pros and Cons of Online Learning: Why Study Online?

The Pros and Cons of Online Learning: Why Study Online?

Are you thinking about pursuing studies in a specialty subject? Wondering whether you should physically attend university and be on campus or try one of the many online courses available today? Online learning is a fairly new addition to the education industry, but it’s already taking the world by storm. 

If you’re unsure about whether this option is the right fit for you and your career, here’s a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning

Online vs Traditional Learning

You probably already know all about online and traditional learning. When you complete a course through online learning, you study at home, over the internet. For courses that still use traditional learning, you need to go into a classroom to study. 

Both these approaches have their benefits and drawbacks. So, let’s delve deeper into the pros and cons associated with online learning

Pros of Online Learning

Let’s start with the benefits of online learning. Since there are a number to choose from, some of the ones that stand out the most include: 

Studying at home

There’s nothing like working in your own home and space. Some people thrive in such an environment due to the familiarity and comfort they have with their surroundings. It is also much more convenient than having to travel to campus and spend all day attending lectures or workshops that could very easily be held online. 


Online courses give you the ability to study any course, anywhere you choose. You don’t have to worry about moving to another city or country to pursue the area of study where your interests lie.

Online courses can also be recorded, meaning you can play them back and listen to them again in your own time, according to your own schedule. 

Better Lessons

When teaching online courses, professors must learn to be creative in their lessons to keep students hooked and interested in learning more. That’s why most online courses include videos, PDFs, podcasts, and anything else that grabs attention as it helps make the lessons more intriguing and easier to grasp. 


Online courses are usually much more cost-effective than in-classroom courses. This can be attributed to the fact that learning online eliminates the need to hire a space, pay utilities and other expenses associated with in-person teaching. For many students who want to pursue higher education, this is one of the key reasons why they opt to study online since they don’t have to add undue pressure on themselves by taking a student loan or working a job while studying at university. 

Suits Different Learning Styles

Sitting in a lecture hall and getting talked at isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and may actually turn some students off pursuing a degree in higher education altogether. Online learning, meanwhile, usually consists of varying elements, whether it be videos, lectures, images, and other forms of media. This enables people with different learning styles and preferences to engage more deeply and learn more efficiently. 


Lots of people want to study but not everyone can afford to take days off work or childrearing to actually do it. This is one of the most important reasons why online learning is good and has surged in popularity. Since the courses can be done at any time, it makes it incredibly convenient and much more accessible for everyone with busy schedules.

Cons of Online Learning

While online learning does have its advantages, it does also have a few drawbacks, including:  


When learning in the comfort of your own home, you tend to be surrounded by potential distractions, whether it be your phone, TV, kids, pets, or anything else. As a result, this can make it harder to focus and will eventually put you behind on your course. 

Sitting for too Long

Sitting at a desk for long hours is not only hard, but it is also detrimental to your health. Too much sitting is linked to everything from back pain to weight gain and high blood sugar. What’s more is staring at a screen for prolonged period of time can take a toll on your concentration and eyesight too. 

Technology Problems

Access to the internet is a must for everyone in today’s digitally advanced world. However, a slow internet connection can be the bane of people’s lives, especially for those who are studying online. Not only is this incredibly frustrating, but it can adversely impact your studies and motivation. 


A vast majority of people who went to university will fondly recall the friends they made and the memories they will cherish forever. The experience of studying at a higher-level institution goes way beyond what you learn in the classroom. It’s also about the different people you meet, integrating with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and experiencing things that you couldn’t do from your own home.  Online learning virtually eliminates this element of learning since emails and online messages can’t compete with real-life experiences. 

Lots of Screen Time

The blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep, damage your eyes, and have many more worrying health consequences. If you are studying a course that requires you to be at your computer for long hours, it is worth keeping in mind the potential short and long-term health hazards that you may be exposing yourself to. 

Not Always Possible

With some courses, like those in the medical field, online learning simply isn’t possible since you need to learn the practical skills required for that particular profession. As a result, online learning limits the scope of what you can study as you have to ensure that you will be able to complete the course in its entirety remotely. 

Why Traditional Learning May Be Better for You

Traditional learning, like its online counterpart, possesses both benefits and drawbacks as well. Let’s take a quick look at them, starting with the advantages: 

  • You can connect and communicate with your peers 
  • Lots of chances for hands-on learning 
  • Fewer distractions during class 
  • In-person access to your teacher 
  • Competition with other students can spur learning and produce better results 
  • Students can work in groups and learn from each other, which can increase creativity, skills and overall knowledge 

However, there are disadvantages associated with this way of learning as well, including: 

  • Restricted access to courses based on your location
  • Course material is usually not varied to accommodate different learning styles 
  • No flexibility when you have to be in class, often resulting in high dropout and absentee rates 
  • Courses are often more expensive 
  • Large groups of students mean the lessons can’t be customised to suit individual needs 

Why Study Online: Final Thoughts

To be quite frank, it isn’t a matter of one type of learning being better than the other. Traditional and online learning both have their advantages and disadvantages, and it mostly depends on what kind of learner you are and what you’re hoping to get from your pursued area of study. 

This is the real benefit of learning online. It gives you more options and better access to higher education than ever before. If you’ve been thinking about studying but haven’t been able to do so because of costs, a lack of access or other common barriers, feel free to contact the University of Sunderland in Hong Kong about the wonderful learning possibilities technology offers in the modern world.