Why Online Learning is a Tool of Empowerment

When we think of empowering people we think of politics, mobility, equal rights and quite rightly so. Empowerment is certainly a political issue and it has been hard fought by many over the years. But there is one less political empowerment tool that has been gradually building over the last 10 years to become possibly one of the most powerful means by which women and men can take control of their lives and that is online learning!

Online Learning?

OK so it is not what most people would consider a tool for empowering people, but it really is. However, before looking at that it is worth looking at the inexorable rise of online learning in the UK and around the world. Before the internet, it obviously didn’t exist, but distance learning did. You could sign up to a course and have material sent through the post which you learnt and sent back in one form or another. This was pretty labour intensive, and attrition was high where people simply ran out of steam. With the advent of the internet and, almost more critically, video technology online learning really started to take hold. Once people started to get onboard the providers responded by offering more and more types of courses and learning formats. From there the floodgates opened and the empowerment really began.

Who Is It Empowering?

Well the list is long, and it can empower anyone but let us look at some specifics.


One group of people globally that are using online learning to move forward and change their lives are people learning English online. Websites like www.perfectlyspoken.com offer free English lessons and millions of people are using them to learn English to them be able to work not only in English speaking countries but to get better jobs at home with companies needing English speaking employees. This simple tool is helping people haul themselves out of relative poverty in many cases to build a better life. But this is an extreme, what about some more day to day examples?


Well, a big one for this website is certainly mums. Millions of mums take a career break or just stop work while having kids. During this time thoughts of doing something new often come up. Before online learning, it would have been a case of evening classes or going to college which has a number of downsides for parents. Now mums can simply select a course and start learning. The result of this is the chance to learn new skills, refresh or upskill in existing areas to move ahead with a new or better career.

Poor School Results

Online learning can also empower those who simply didn’t get on with school. The reasons can be long from un-diagnosed learning difficulties to bullying but the results are often the same; bad results or no results at all. These people can now learn what they want when they want and, if they so choose, look ahead to jobs and a life they may have once assumed was not available to them.

Social Mobility

Another group that are using online learning are people who feel trapped in poverty. There are millions of people who see no way out of the area they live and the social housing and benefits culture. But thanks to online learning people are grabbing the chance to learn new skills and move into careers that were simply behind locked doors before.

Why Does Online Learning Work So Well?

There are a number of key benefits that really go to create the perfect storm!

Choice – The variety of courses available is huge and even the type of course and lessons. People can go after a full degree, or perhaps learn to code, there are courses for languages, maths, Science, digital marketing and a dizzying list that goes on and on!

Price – In many cases courses can be free. Basic starter courses, even YouTube videos can get people moving in the right direction. More structured courses can carry a cost, but it is infinitely lower than the costs associated with traditional education like going to college.

Flexibility – In terms of time online learning is totally flexible, you can learn any time of the day or night, watch videos, read content, take tests, it doesn’t matter. This is key to people who are learning around kids, caring, or work. But it doesn’t stop there, the technology also means online learning offers device flexibility too. You can learn on your phone, PC, tablet or laptop. This means people can do a bit of work on the train, in bed, at lunch…breast feeding! There is no limit to it and as such makes online learning hugely useful.

Accessibility – In most cases, online courses are open to anyone. So, no entrance exams, no elitism and no location bias. If you want to learn you can.

As you can see the rise of online learning can benefit a huge range of people in a huge range of situations. It offers a way to learn, adds new skills, gets new qualifications and ultimately to grow as a person and it is open to pretty much everyone!

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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