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Webinar Recap: Online Education for Immigrant Professionals

Monday | November 20, 2017 | by WES Global Talent Bridge

Young entrepreneur with laptop

In our recent webinar, online education experts shared their tips for using online education to reach your career goals. If you missed the webinar, it is now available for viewing on-demand; to watch the full video, sign up here.

What is online education?

Online education combines traditional course materials, such as lectures and readings, with user forums and online support to encourage interaction and engagement among students. Initially offered by universities and colleges as a component of in-class degrees, the popularity of online education has led to the development of several online communities offering massive open online courses (MOOCs).

To discuss how online education can jumpstart your career, WES Global Talent Bridge’s Jodi Tingling was joined by Elaine Lam (Executive Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning at The Chang School at Ryerson University), and Kevin Hatcher (Lead of Government Relations at Coursera).

What are the benefits of online education?

Online education offers many benefits for professionals who are interested in upgrading their skills and education:

  • Online education is cost-effective, with courses offered at a fraction of the cost of traditional in-class education.
  • Online education is accessible from your mobile phone, laptop, coffee shop, or home office, which is perfect for skilled immigrants who are also in the process of job seeking.
  • Online education is flexible and can be built around your schedule, without the added pressure of having to arrange time off work to attend classes at specific times throughout the week.

Why should skilled immigrants, in particular, consider online education?

In the webinar, we also discussed the ways in which online education can be particularly valuable for skilled immigrants:

  • Online education showcases your digital skills and proves that you are able to thrive in a digital world. Digital skills are required across every profession and sector in today’s labor
  • Networking is a huge component of online education and a high level of engagement between students is encouraged. Because you are working together on assignments and course discussions, many people find this a more natural way to create connections.
  • Participating in online education improves your soft skills because of the high level of communication that takes place. Online education allows you to practice your collaboration, time management, and problem-solving skills in a supportive environment.

“Online learning is a great tool for everyone, not just newcomers and skilled immigrants. Because of this, you get to interact with a wider range of people, and have a richer networking experience.”
—Kevin Hatcher, Coursera

How does online learning differ from in-class learning?

Although the quality of education you receive through online education can match traditional in-class education, there are some differences to keep in mind:

  • Students need to be prepared for online learning and understand the workload and commitment required to be successful. Because online courses are flexible and can be accessed any time, students need to have good time management and self-discipline.
  • Because online education depends on student engagement and interaction, requirements for participation are often increased. Students have more time to think of thoughtful responses to questions from the professor, and to contribute new thoughts and ideas to group discussions.

Final Tips

Thinking about going back to school can be intimidating, but with so many options available, there is no better time to use online education to jump-start your career. Participating in online courses can help develop your soft skills, provide excellent networking opportunities, and contextualize the skills you already have. Taking initiative by upgrading your skills and education shows employers that you are a proactive employee invested in your career.

If you would like more information about online education, watch the full on-demand webinar featuring experts in online education and learning.

WES Global Talent Bridge is a program dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States and Canada. Global Talent Bridge joins with institutional partners and community organizations to help skilled immigrants leverage their training, achieve their professional goals, and contribute their talents to their full potential.