Following the COVID-19-induced shift to remote working, people are increasingly turning to digital learning to develop the skills needed to navigate today’s ever-changing workplace. In 2016, 21 million students enrolled in online courses with a provider, which rose by around 7 million per year over the next two years. However, as the pandemic spread, new registrations tripled, bringing the total to 71 million in 2020 and 92 million in 2021. These increases reflect the growing global acceptance of online education, including an increase in remote learners enrolled in higher education courses and those from vulnerable or remote communities.
Living in a very digital world promotes the output of more multimedia content, which has made online degrees more accessible and engaging for students across the globe. Technological advancements and digital innovations have also made learning more manageable while giving students increased agency regarding their education. When you study for a degree online, you will have access to the program dashboard, where you can access course materials and assignments, participate in forum debates with your cohort and professors, and watch recorded lectures. Furthermore, as you learn to self-manage and work in a virtual setting while juggling responsibilities outside of your studies, you will improve your time management, organizational, and research skills. So, how can you put these additional skills to use?
The case study
A DNP program is the best option for registered nurses with a BSN or MSN who want to advance to the highest level of nursing practice. In this example, we’ll look at Baylor University’s online DNP programs, which are aimed at registered nurses; it’s clear where these skills can be utilized. Here are some ways the skills learned through online education can also be applied to the nursing field.
- Time management – Using time management, nurses must organize and prioritize patient care, internal administrative tasks, educational responsibilities, and personal obligations. Even though nursing is a demanding profession, nurses who learn time management skills can achieve balance in the face of time constraints.
- Organizational skills – Because a nurse’s priorities can change quickly, organizational skills are essential, and a well-organized nurse will perform better in daily activities. They can effectively manage their time and allocate daily hours to prepare for, conduct, and follow up on events and activities. When problems arise, highly organized nurses can easily access and analyze procedures to handle them. Nurses with well-developed organizational skills have higher levels of productivity, complete tasks more successfully, and are, therefore, generally more likely to be promoted.
- Research skills – Research is required to advance and improve practices in any professional field. Nursing is no exception, and nursing research has the potential to transform healthcare. In addition, nurses with research skills are better equipped to practice evidence-based care and ensure higher standards of care.
- Self-management – Nurses are often so focused on caring for others that they neglect to care for themselves. They are constantly chasing time and never seem to catch up, leaving them physically and emotionally exhausted, which can lead to aches, back pain, mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, work errors, and memory loss. Exhaustion and burnout can be the result. These issues will be less frequent if you have the tools to improve your self-management skills. Furthermore, these skills can boost productivity, which can help you advance in your career and achieve your personal and professional goals.
There are many transferable skills, but the most apparent advantage of studying a DNP course online is the flexibility it offers working nurses. Students have complete control and accountability when learning online. Rather than being required to attend an in-person class, they can choose and allocate time for their learning. This control allows them to plan their education around their work and life commitments and ensures they learn at the most appropriate time. Some students, for example, may work better in the evening, but traditional education may limit them by only offering classes during the day. Flexible learning enables students to learn when and how they want by tailoring their course to their specific requirements. As a result, they remember more and produce better results.
The new normal
With all of the positives of this learning method, it seems clear why many North Americans are turning to online education. Any lingering stigma surrounding this method should fade in the wake of the world’s shift to remote work and learning in 2020. It is also past time to stop wondering whether online learning is as “effective” as face-to-face learning. The fact is that online education is growing in popularity for a reason. It is a responsive, localized, and collaborative way of providing meaningful education for a more and more diverse body of students. Teaching and learning work best when faculty, instructional staff, and students are invested and engaged, and online methods have been demonstrated to create a learning environment.
Many people considering an online graduate program are concerned about the credibility of a degree earned online. They may worry that their peers and employers will view their education as less valuable than those who completed their degrees on a physical campus. While this is understandable, these doubts about the value of an online graduate degree can finally be dispelled. Even traditional, long-standing universities recognize how students value and expect the benefits of online learning and have begun integrating these degree programs into their offerings.
Many employers also see the benefits of online courses, so there’s no reason not to look into them and see if they’re a good fit for you! With so many advantages to online learning, it’s no surprise that this method of education is gaining popularity. Students can learn at their own pace, become acquainted with new technologies and earn a degree from the comfort of their own homes. Online learning is convenient, comfortable, and will be around for a long time.