Which Learning Environment Is Right for You? Online Learning vs. the Traditional Classroom

When it comes to taking your insurance certification or continuing education classes, today’s high tech world gives you two choices. You can participate in a traditional classroom with fellow students, or go it on your own with an online option. There are benefits to both, and which one is right for you will depend on your needs, your learning style, and your goals. Let’s have a look at how online learning and traditional classroom learning stack up.

Benefits of Learning in a Classroom

#1 – Interaction

One thing that online learning can’t really offer you is the interaction with others. Sure, many online learning platforms offer forums and email communications to “interact” with your instructor and fellow students, but it’s not in real time. A question may go unanswered or unclarified for hours, or even a day or more. Group dynamics and cooperative learning are nearly impossible when you are basically alone with your keyboard at 1am. Some instructors attempt interaction by requiring so many responses to your fellow classmates’ postings, but when you are doing it because you HAVE to, and not because the conversation is engaging or interesting to you, it loses something in the translation. Interacting with your peers and insurance instructors can be an important part of your learning process, too, as it can help you synthesize and analyze the information you are being presented.

#2 – Networking

Not all of the face-to-face interaction you have with your fellow students will, of course be limited to JUST classroom discussion. You’ll find yourself chatting before and after class, and on breaks. You’ll discover that these face-to-face conversations can be valuable in terms of networking – getting to know others who can be beneficial to you professionally. While networking may not help you much in class, in terms of studying or learning, it’s what happens outside of class that makes networking so valuable.

#3 – Real People

Your fellow students and your instructor are real people, just like you, just like your prospective clients and customers and colleagues. Classroom learning offers you the opportunity to communicate with real people, perhaps culturally or racially different from you. It allows you to practice communication skills, leadership skills, cooperative skills and other “people” skills that online learning can’t. Sure, your fellow students and teachers online are real people, too, but you may never know what they look like, what they sound like, or what color their hair is. You’ll never have the opportunity to speak with them face-to-face, and while written communications are important, you’ll do more speaking with your real world clients and colleagues.

Benefits of Learning Online

#1 – Flexibility

We don’t all lead the kind of lifestyle that allows us free time whenever we need it. Family demands, work demands, travel – all can make it difficult to be anywhere on a given day at a given time. So for those with demanding lives, the flexibility of online learning is definitely a plus. Being able to log on and complete your classwork from anywhere, at any time, may be the only way you can manage classes and the rest of your busy schedule.

#2 – Comfort and Convenience

While taking your classes in your PJs may be the first image that pops into your head with the mention of comfort and convenience, it’s not the only comfortable thing about online classes. There’s no need to brave cold, wet, rainy or snowy weather. There’s no need to deal with the hassles of commuting to class. There’s no need to worry about paying for food, gas, parking, or other costs traveling back and forth to class may require. Those with limited mobility need not be concerned with accessible buildings or adequate parking.  You don’t have to leave work early, or give up your Saturdays with the family. Online learning can keep you safe, warm, dry, and allow you the freedom to choose just which slippers go best with each assignment.

Both online learning and classroom learning settings offer benefits, and ultimately, the same education. The choice you make in pursuing your necessary insurance classes should be the right one for you, your lifestyle, and your goals.

Which type of learning do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Reasons to Consider a Career in the Insurance Industry

The insurance industry sometimes gets a bad rap. Customers don’t like the high costs of premiums, or they don’t like the restrictions and limitations of their policies. And then there are those who wouldn’t dare dream of a career in the insurance industry because it’s “all about the selling”. You surely HAVE to have the blood of a snake oil salesman in your veins to WANT to be involved in the insurance industry, right? Wrong. And here are 5 very excellent reasons to prove that thinking wrong.

Reason #1: You get to genuinely help people.

Most customers in today’s world don’t like to be sold on anything. Therefore, you aren’t a salesperson, but rather a source of information. You lead the customer to the information they need so that they can make the best, most informed decision regarding their insurance needs. You help them wade through all that information to find the most relevant bits so that they completely and fully understand. Along the way, you have to help them face fears they may not want to consider, decide on how much risk is too much, and ultimately, help them take control of their lives. You and your products can make a real difference in your customers’ lives.

Reason #2: You can brand yourself by being yourself.

Authenticity goes a long way when you are dealing with people face-to-face. When you are in their homes, or in their offices, up close and personal, you can’t help but show bits of yourself. And the insurance industry offers that kind of personal communication and interaction with your customers and clients. Integrity, honesty and personality go a long way toward being a successful agent, and make the industry perfect for those who can’t stand the thought of hiding behind a half-truth or a make-believe “professional” façade.

Reason #3: You can serve the community you wish to serve.

Many markets – women, minorities, small business – are greatly underserved. You can offer your expertise and services to those who need it most, to those you are most comfortable with. You are in the position to target your chosen market audience better than many other professionals, because they are in desperate need of your help, and waiting for someone like you to come along.

Reason #4: You can take your business online.

For the tech-savvy agent, there’s a world of opportunity in the insurance industry just waiting online. You can build a community, an informative and relevant website, and you can become somewhat of an authority in your field, with the right amount of effort, skill, and perseverance. You don’t have to be the stuffy guy in the stuffy suit. You can join the online market and thrive.

Reason #5: You can be a leader.

Imagine, you can have your own agency. You can stand out from the crowd. Even if you don’t take it that far, you can still be a leader to your customers, a coach to your clients. You can serve them, and your community, in ways you never dreamed possible. Remember, the insurance agency is all about changing lives, securing futures. No one can do that for so many people like an insurance agent can.

The insurance industry is all about serving others, and it takes someone with a serving, empathetic attitude to do that well. There’s a lot more to being successful in the insurance industry than just selling policies. And see? Not a drop of snake oil in sight.