The most recent study of online education in the US stated that a staggering 7.1 million students were choosing to learn online, while in contrast the number of students enrolling in college is declining. The reality is there has been a mighty shift in the way students can learn valuable and in-demand skills. Where traditional 4-year degrees were favored by employers in the past, online learning has since proven itself as an accessible and affordable way for students to learn job-ready skills.
Since opening our virtual doors back in 2012, we’ve helped over half a million students learn to code online. Many of those awesome individuals applied their new skills to becoming developers, designers, software engineers, and more. Now with our new Techdegree program students can become a certified developer, preparing them for an entry-level position in the tech industry.
Why are more and more students learning online?
For those students who choose online learning over traditional education, there are some unique advantages to their decision.
With online learning, a student benefits from a focused and accelerated curriculum. Take our students for example. When a student joins Treehouse they have a set goal: Learn the skills they need to land a job in the tech industry. By choosing to learn online, the curriculum they’ll work through will stay streamlined and focused, helping to master those job-ready skills. At no stage in the learning process will a course be irrelevant or require time towards unrelated work.
In contrast, anyone who has a college degree is guaranteed to be able to name a handful of general core courses that were irrelevant to their chosen degree. Other than taking the focus away from their goal, there are bigger disadvantages to those mandatory courses: They cost time and money.
With a traditional education, a student’s focus is also – in large part – to obtain a degree, that valuable “piece of paper” you’ve been told you need to guarantee a future career. But the reality is very different. Studies show that 51% of 2014/2015 graduates in the US alone work in jobs that don’t require their college degree. That’s a lot of time and effort focused on skills that are left behind at college.
There are also the practical advantages of learning to code online. To measure the competency and level of a skill, it makes sense to use the appropriate tools for the subject. Learning to code online integrates the essential tools for tech – a computer and the web – into the learning process, familiarizing a student with a digital environment from the start and helping them to retain that new knowledge.
Learning online also has the added benefit of eliminating distractions and creating a focused learning environment. Without time constraints, a student is free to integrate learning into their own schedule. The opportunity to work in a quiet and low-pressure environment of their choosing then leads to better concentration and productivity. For the quieter student, there’s the added benefit of an online environment being less intimidating both for engaging and asking for help from other students and teachers.
Learning online guides students down a path with a clear end goal. The appropriate learning methods, focused content, and flexible learning environment make it a viable option for types of learners in all walks of life. But to master skills from scratch that lead to a life-changing career, you still need to be up for the challenge. Treehouse students are self-disciplined, driven, hard-working, determined and focused.