The Marketable Soft Skills You Gain Through Online Learning

July 01, 2019

Alexandra Mercer

Ed.D. in Leadership


You may have chosen to earn your degree online out of convenience or necessity. But those aren’t the only benefits to online learning. The advantages are numerous, and you’ll experience them without even realizing it.

Let’s step away from the content matter of your current program. As an online learner, you are required to develop a variety of soft skills that allow you to complete tasks, understand material, and communicate with peers and instructors. These skills are not just means to an end. They are valuable abilities themselves, and should be strengths mentioned in job applications and interviews.

Here are some of the skills you practice with online programs:

Using the latest learning management system (LMS)

When I was in high school, the most technologically involved we got was sending an assignment to a teacher’s email address. Now many schools use an LMS like Canvas, Blackboard, and Google Classroom to track data and teach. As the leaders and keepers of the LMS, teachers must understand the technology in order to take full advantage of it. By experiencing an LMS as a student, you see how your students will see and use these tools. You’ll become familiar with the capabilities of one in a natural and immersive way, which will make your management of one smoother in your classroom.

Strengthening time management and positive mindset

One of the draws of online learning is the flexibility. You do the work when it fits your schedule. But there’s a caveat. You have to stay on schedule, and there is no physical class or professor standing in front of you to keep you on track. Even with the best intentions, you can get distracted by a burning casserole, a crying kid, or something good on TV. To be successful at an online program, you have to know how to manage your time. You also need to find intrinsic motivation to push through the moments when the workload gets tough or your schedule becomes hectic. Both of these qualities are incredibly attractive to employers, and you’ll be able to confidently speak to them after completing an online program.

Gaining new means of communication

Online learning means staying in touch through forum discussions, instant messages, video conferencing, and more. You may be vaguely familiar with these mediums, but perhaps not enough to use it in a professional capacity. By taking part in an online program, you have a chance to recognize the digital communication methods that work best for you and then incorporate them into your work life. Your expert handling and execution of your communication plan will help you stand out as an educator who’s on top of things.

A lot has been made in recent years of hard and soft skills, and the roles they play in the job market. As educators, the sheer number of soft skills we must have is, frankly, off the charts. So, let’s give ourselves credit for the skills we learn by proxy through participation in a modern online program.

Start adding to your resume today by exploring all of American College of Education’s fully online graduate-level programs.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Alexandra Mercer
Alexandra Mercer, Ed.D. in Leadership

Alex has been teaching for six years, leading classrooms abroad in Korea, Japan, Thailand and Morocco. She continues to be active in the global English education community and loves writing about what she's learned along the way.

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