8 Benefits of Online Learning

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The benefits of online learning in a nursing program prepare students to find success in their education and future careers. From teaching self-discipline and accountability to providing comfortable learning environments, students can acquire valuable skills that will serve them throughout their careers while maintaining independence in their studies.

student studying on laptop at home

Online learning has increased in popularity over the years, allowing students to participate in courses from the comfort of their own homes. While the type of coursework varies depending on the program, most online courses consist of online resources, textbook readings, interactive coursework and discussion boards.

Many nursing programs include an online learning component, such as Pacific Lutheran University’s (PLU) Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN). It is important to note that nursing programs with online coursework are not 100% online.

PLU's ABSN and similar hybrid nursing programs integrate both online coursework and real-time hands-on opportunities to learn and practice skills in nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations. This approach enriches nursing education by providing flexibility, skill development and accelerated ABSN completion.

Here are eight benefits of online learning that will help you excel throughout nursing school, earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) on an accelerated timeline and establish a solid foundation for a nursing career.

1. Learn in a Comfortable Environment

Online classes allow you to learn from the comfort of your home — no need to sit in an uncomfortable classroom or lecture hall. Instead, you can create a comfortable space in your home tailored to your needs. When you learn in a comfortable space, you can minimize outside distractions and focus on the subject.

Ultimately, online learning simplifies attending your courses. Because you can learn from home or wherever you choose, you do not have to factor in transportation or the commute into online class attendance.

closeup of a person typing on a laptop

2. Access Course Materials at Any Time

Unlimited access to course materials is one of the many benefits of online learning. Online learning utilizes an e-learning platform that houses all course material you can access anytime. If you are in the middle of coursework, you can easily access previous material to refamiliarize yourself with prior subjects without missing vital information.

You can use this valuable tool while studying for assessments, preparing for simulation labs and clinicals, and studying for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Easy access to previous course and lecture materials can improve retention and benefit your study sessions.

3. Study at Your Own Pace

While traditional lectures force you to learn at the pace of your professor’s instruction, online learning allows you to set your own pace. Through an e-learning platform, you review course material, textbook readings and assignments at a pace that suits your learning style.

Establishing your own speed allows you to retain information better and reduces the stress of learning. You can divide your coursework into as many sessions as necessary, provided you meet deadlines.

nursing student sitting and reading

Do you want to improve your study habits to meet the challenges of nursing school? Read these ten nursing school study tips to find success.

4. Increase Your Scheduling Flexibility

Online learning allows the flexibility to incorporate your coursework into your schedule. You can efficiently work around your personal schedule because you can access the e-learning platform anytime.

This increased flexibility is one of the unique online learning benefits that in-person lectures cannot provide. While your program commitments are akin to a full-time job — you will need to dedicate up to 40 hours of work per week — online learning provides some flexibility in when you complete your coursework. You can fit your coursework between meals, workouts, or other obligations. Flexibility helps you establish a work-life balance that improves your comfort and benefits your studies.

5. Engage with a Variety of Learning Styles

One of the advantages of online learning is its accessibility. Online courses utilize multiple learning modules to make material accessible to various students. The e-learning platform employs textbook readings, course instruction, informational videos and graphics to improve engagement.

As you progress through your online courses, you will participate in a variety of activities that appeal to your preferred learning styles. This helps you engage and retain information, preparing you to participate in simulation labs and clinical rotations.

6. Encourages Self-Discipline and Accountability

Because online learning provides significant flexibility you would not experience in a traditional, in-person classroom environment, you must develop self-discipline and hold yourself accountable to ensure you get the most out of your coursework. These skills are essential to nursing and will serve you throughout your career as you perform nursing duties and provide patient care.

PLU nursing students in sim lab working with lab equipment

7. Improves Critical Thinking

The definition of critical thinking is to actively process, conceptualize and apply knowledge by evaluating the information before you make informed decisions. The cornerstone of nursing is the ability to lean on your critical thinking skills and make decisions quickly.

Because online learning requires you to develop self-discipline and accountability, relying on the experience and knowledge acquired through online courses will improve your critical thinking skills. You will gain independence in your studies that will ultimately encourage, ultimately encouraging your capacity for critical thinking.

According to the study “Facilitating Critical Thinking through Online Courses,” online learning’s continued access to lectures and course material in a comfortable environment provides students extended learning time and a “stick to it” format not available in in-person class settings. This is because in-person lectures have additional factors that limit a student’s time with the material, such as insufficient class time.

8. Learn to Collaborate in a Virtual Environment

Online learning helps you develop valuable communication and collaboration skills in a virtual environment through discussion boards and other social platforms. Learning to collaborate virtually is invaluable as industries expand globally.

Online coursework requires you to collaborate with classmates and interact with professors over emails and e-learning platforms, teaching you how to succinctly communicate your ideas and present a professional image in virtual settings.

These skills are also essential leadership characteristics. As you advance in your nursing career, you will need them.

Nursing students working together in sim lab

Are you ready to begin your nursing school journey? Read more to learn what nursing school is like to better prepare yourself.

Earn Your BSN with Pacific Lutheran University’s ABSN

PLU’s ABSN incorporates online learning with on-site skills and nursing simulation labs and clinical rotations to prepare students to become licensed, competent nurses.

Our online coursework includes textbook readings, videos, patient case studies, active learning guides, NCLEX preparation materials and discussion boards to ensure students get the most out of their education. Your online courses and the benefits of online learning prepare you for simulation labs and clinical rotations, ensuring you enter each scenario with confidence.

Through PLU’s ABSN, students can earn their BSN in as few as 16 months. If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and complete prerequisite and other admissions requirements, you can start your journey toward earning your BSN.

Contact an admissions counselor at PLU today to learn more about our ABSN, online coursework and how Pacific Lutheran University helps you become a nurse.