Online learning myths: 5 common misconceptions about virtual postgraduate study

In the last few years, online learning has become an increasingly more recognised quality study option. Many students have chosen to transition from in-person learning to studying online because of the flexibility and convenience it offers.

Online learning provides new benefits and opportunities outside of traditional face-to-face study that let you learn when and how you want. When considering postgraduate study, many programs delivered online promote accessibility, inclusivity, and connectivity by helping bridge distance and quality education. But despite the advantages of studying online, you might still hold a few misconceptions about online learning, what it means for your career outcomes and how exactly you’ll learn.

Here are 5 myths about online learning debunked to help you find the right UQ Business School postgraduate program for you.

1.  All online learning is the same

A common assumption is that online learning lacks variety, which makes it difficult to distinguish programs from one another. Others might think that online programs only provide rigid reading materials. However, each online program at UQ engages different facilitators, academics, and consultants who enrich courses with unique teaching styles and learning methods to shape your learning experience.

In particular, UQ Business School programs are led by globally renowned experts in business leadership, service innovation and analytics. Academics and course facilitators bring their specialist knowledge into both theoretical and practical assessments to give students a holistic understanding of course material while keeping them motivated and eager to learn more. 

Master of Leadership in Service Innovation* alum Mark Higgins found the teaching staff's enthusiasm to be a highlight of the online program. 

"The program is enriched by teachers who genuinely love the course content. Their passion kept us as students engaged and energised with everything they taught us throughout the degree." 

Similarly, Stefan Mühlenbruch benefited from being able to practically engage with theory taught in the program. 

"The teaching staff did an excellent job explaining the theoretical foundations of customer experience in a way that we could use it immediately in practice. I used some of the knowledge I gained during this course in a customer pitch and it made quite an impression."

2.  Online learning is socially isolating

Remote learning might seem like solitary experience that consists of you alone in your designated study space devoid of interaction, staring at the computer screen for hours. But online learning can actually be a social experience for many stucents.

UQ Business School's online postgraduate programs place importance on discussion and debate between peers and teachers. They also create dynamic bonding opportunities with other students within a virtual community, and interactice spaces such as forums and video groups help create an immersive online experience. 

UQ student Tim regards the online learning experience in the Master of Business Analytics to be collaborative and social. 

"I got to know the other students in my class very well and I think those connections make the learning outcomes better," he says.

"Being online still allowed us to interact together," Sandra agrees. "We got to learn about each other and find out about our home situations, our families, and our work." 

3.  Any course can be put online

While any learning materials can technically be copy and pasted onto a virtual platform, UQ's online programs are specifically structured and adapted to suit this mode of delivery.

As tertiary education continues to transform across online spaces, more opportunities for engagement are ccreated to improve learning outcomes. The continued growth and potential of online postgraduate programs has shown us that courses need to be specifically designed to successfully deliver learning materials virtually. Especially in an online environment, course design should elevate the way you're taught and how you learn. 

UQ alum Gennifer Fink found that online course design for the Master of Leadership in Service Innovation* was highly cutting edge

"Each of the modules fit together and built on each other to give an understanding of both theoretical and practical applications," she says.

"The EdX platform was easy to navigate and let me work at my own pace, in my own time. It also allowed me to go back to things I wanted to review and engage in discussions with other students."

4.  There are limited opportunities to connect with industry 

The idea that online programs limit your ability to network or expand career outcomes can discourage people from considering online learning, but postgraduate programs delivered online can create valuable opportunities to meet other industry professionals.

In addition to connecting with peers and teachers, UQ's online postgraduate programs provides avenues to connect with industry professionals and undertake practical exercises. You can access valuable contacts and events to communicate with and learn from different people, communities, and businesses. 

Sandra found the hands-on assessment in the Master of Business Analytics allowed her to develop real insight into industry practices.

"I've enjoyed learning from real business case scenarios how business analytics team use insights to increase profits and better the customer and employee experience," Sandra says. 

Similarly, Tim developed industry-level knowledge through the practical assessments offered the Master of Business Analytics.

"I gained formative insights into industry intricacies by learning to run an analytics project in an agile environment through realistic group activities," he says.

Online postgraduate programs also give you the bonus of making connections outside your area, state, and even country. The opportunity to connect with industry on an international level can further expand your network, experience and career outcomes. 

"UQ's Master of Business Analytics connected me with a network of data-driven business professionals and new career opportunities in leading data analytics consultancies," Tim says. 

5.  Online learners receive little support

There is a lingering myth that learning online is an entirely independent exercise, so you might feel that studying online isn't compatible with your learning style. However, as an online learner at UQ, you are likely to gain specialised support and receive personalised feedback

"It was a very supportive learning environment," Tim says. "Lecturers encourage everybody to post online on the discussion boards. My tutors were responsive and even offered one-on-one sessions." 

Having studied the Master of Leadership in Service Innovation* while living in the US, UQ alum Jay Franze found the UQ team was more than supportive when it came to his location. 

"They took the time to find out where my fellow students and I were located and scheduled our weekly calls accordingly. Additionally, they recorded the sessions in case you were unable to attend. They also made themselves available for one-on-one calls as needed."

Expand your career outcomes

Shape your studies to fit with your life and ambitions — anytime, anywhere with UQ Business School's online postgraduate programs. UQ's Master of Business Analytics and Master of Leadership and Innovation engage multi-disciplinary perspectives so you can drive change in a dynamic business landscape and everchanging digital world. 


*This program has been redeveloped into the Master of Leadership and Innovation (16 units) from 2023.