The evolution of technology has transformed education, making the benefits of online nursing education particularly attractive. There have been countless innovations, especially among online-based accelerated nursing programs.
In the early days of online learning, students would watch or listen to a recorded version of their professor’s lecture. Today, online-based accelerated nursing programs like Concordia University St. Paul’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) in Portland, Oregon, and St. Paul, Minnesota, are handling things differently. Our ABSN program is not 100% online, with online coursework making up one part of the curriculum in addition to on-site skills and simulation labs and in-hospital clinical rotations. This balanced curriculum showcases plenty of the advantages of online learning for nursing students through convenience, interactivity and flexibility.
Advantages of Online Learning for Nursing Students
The accelerated BSN program at Concordia St. Paul strives to ensure that online classes provide educational value equal to that of traditional classes. Our baccalaureate degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, signifying that while accelerated, the quality of the program is entirely equal to a traditional four-year degree program. This is what makes the benefits of online nursing education so useful. These benefits include:
The Convenience to Learn Anytime, Anywhere
Not everyone has the time or desire to sit in a physical classroom for several hours each day, and this makes the flexibility to create your own schedule while completing the online portion of the curriculum a major advantage for Concordia St. Paul’s Accelerated BSN program.
“The nice thing about the online portion is you can log in from anywhere,” Accelerated BSN student Kevin Writer says. “I log in from home or from a coffee shop and can still be part of the learning experience.”
Concordia St. Paul’s online learning management system (LMS) lets you log in to the online portal from both your smartphone and laptop, giving you unparalleled access to materials for any given course. However, while you have the convenience to complete the coursework on your own schedule, you must remember to complete all required coursework by the due date assigned.
Also, as you complete the online coursework, you’ll want to set weekly learning goals to remain on track, like Accelerated BSN student Vickie Waadevig does.
I’ll log on at the beginning of every week to organize my workload. If I have a big project coming up, I’ll start to map that out, do my readings and go through what I have for the rest of the week.
Increased Engagement and Self-Driven Learning
As an ABSN student, you’ll find that one of the benefits of online nursing education is that you can approach it at your own pace and can have questions answered outside of a traditional classroom environment.
Instructors in a regular nursing setting have to move at the pace of the slowest students, and answer questions that you may not have asked, taking up additional time. Our online instructors remain available to speak about any questions you may have, but you can approach them at your own pace and retain further ownership over your nursing education experience.
Dynamic Content for Everyone
Our LMS has a variety of interactive activities conducive to your personal learning style. From discussion forums to video content to interactive activities, you can engage with course material at your own speed.
You don’t have to worry about missing important points because you have the control over how fast or slow you want the lecture to be.
In traditional nursing programs, students show up to hear a lecture and try to take notes as best as they can while also following along with the PowerPoint being presented. This can be a lot of content to take in at once, and if you don’t understand the information in the first place, you can start to lose focus and become more confused. But, the online portion of the ABSN program lets you listen to lectures and review course material as many times as needed until you fully grasp the subject.
“We see very few PowerPoint presentations; we have actual interactive activities that require us to pay attention, so we’re not zoning out,” Vickie says.
Featuring 3D animations, simulated scenarios and advanced graphic design elements, these interactive activities can help you learn in a creative way. For example, one assignment may consist of you identifying the arterial pulse sites on a 3D animation of the human body. Matching each site to its proper location will help you visualize and conceptualize each site’s function better than before.
Some of the other online interactive activities offered through our ABSN program may include exercises like:
- EKG interpretation
- Digestive system matching
- A teen pregnancy case study
- Identifying sugar levels in food
While the content at Concordia St. Paul is cutting-edge, traditional education resources are just as important. You will notice that your interactive activities coincide with your lectures and assigned textbook readings.
Connecting with Faculty and Classmates via Online Learning
The benefits of an online nursing education include the fact that you don’t have to wait around for office hours to connect with your professor. Throughout the 16-month span of the program, you will have various opportunities to interact with instructors via email, video conferencing and discussion forums.
There is a live video conference feature within the online learning portal that allows your instructors to explain perplexing concepts and answer questions in real time. “It’s almost like FaceTiming your instructors,” says Sandra Herrera, Accelerated BSN student.
Just because your professors are online doesn’t mean you can’t build strong professional relationships with them. The more you contact them, the more they will facilitate your academic success. Over time, they can serve as a partner in your career advancement and professional growth.
The instructors at Concordia want us to succeed. They take the initiative to be in contact with you a lot, and I always hear back from them within 24 hours.
Tips from Accelerated BSN Students to Help You with Online Learning
Accelerated BSN students and graduates alike found that an online learning environment helped them succeed in their coursework, due to its adaptability to different schedules and accommodation of multiple learning styles. Your instructors, as well as fellow cohort members, are always available to help you study and understand course materials, but hear from ABSN students firsthand on some of their top tips to succeed with online learning.
Always Have a Schedule
With the accelerated nature of the ABSN program, adhering to a 16-month timeline to complete a bachelor’s degree requires rigorous scheduling to keep pace with course material. “Scheduling is a really important part of making sure you can succeed,” says Kevin Writer, Accelerated BSN Student. Dedicate as much time as you need to study and complete assignments to get a feel for how long it takes, then make sure you carve out at least that much time every single day to study and stay on track.
Work With Your Learning Style
Do you learn best visually or auditorily? Through reading and writing, or by doing? Luckily our ABSN program has resources to accommodate all types of learning styles, but understand your learning style and compensate. For example, if simply reading online course materials doesn’t help you learn best, connect with a member of your cohort to go over it and study together. You can bet you’ll have plenty of fellow students ready to learn. If you have any further concerns, instructors are always ready to help.
Treat Online Coursework Like the Major Commitment It Is
Online coursework in an ABSN program is more flexible than in a traditional program, but with so much to learn in 16 months, you need to stay dedicated to succeed. To start, finding the stability, as well as the peace and quiet, to work during your time in the program is essential. You’ll be working hard enough as it is, and not knowing where you’ll be studying on any particular day can hinder your ability to get things done and continue to learn. As program student Vickie W. says, “Have a designated space to complete online coursework.” Mark out a space, whether it’s in your home or a public place like the library or our ABSN program site, and make that your workplace as a student.
You likely won’t have much time to commit to outside responsibilities while studying, so it’s helpful to think of studying as a full-time job. Earmarking daily study time and finding a consistent space to work in can go a long way to making this commitment feel real, but studying with the same drive you apply to your career can go a long way toward earning a degree.
Are You Ready to Learn Online?
Now that we’ve explored the many benefits of an online nursing education, you can see how Concordia’s online-based accelerated nursing program has a lot to offer. It’s flexible, interactive and adaptive, but that’s just one part of our learning model — the ABSN is not 100% online. If you’re ready to start learning to become a nurse, contact an admissions counselor today.