Employment statistics and earning potential aside, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, here are a few reasons that can't be measured why busy working adults love online learning.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, candy hearts, boxes of chocolate and red roses are being sold by the billions.

Every year, approximately:

  • 8 billion candy conversation hearts are produced

  • 1 billion cards are exchanged

  • 110 million roses are delivered

  • 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased

  • 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold

While retailers benefit from the nearly $19 billion boost in consumer spending, the true significance of Valentine's Day has little to do with economics and more with things that can't be counted – love, commitment and relationships.

By the numbers: benefits of a college degree

Something similar could be said for enrolling in an online program to earn a college degree.

Studies show that both unemployment and underemployment rates are lower for those with more education. In addition, widely cited U.S. Department of Education statistics about higher educational attainment being associated with higher median earnings indicate that:

  • Bachelor degree holders earn 62 percent more than those with just a high school degree

  • Bachelor degree holders earn 29 percent more than those with an associate's degree

  • Adults with master's degrees earn 23 percent more than adults with a bachelor's degree

Percentages and statistics are compelling; yet, there are equally significant, intangible reasons why students love online degree programs – reasons that you just can't measure or quantify.

Here are five:

1.  Online learning brings people together.

Online learning eliminates the boundaries of geography and time uniting students and instructors in a digital environment. Students from across the country and around the globe connect and share ideas, knowledge and opinions. With instructors facilitating collaboration and virtual teamwork through social software and electronic communication, each course presents a new opportunity to network and grow from the distinct perspectives of a diverse group of adult learners.

2.  Online learning gives all students the opportunity to excel.

While some students are comfortable with thinking on their feet and participating in classroom discussions, others prefer to digest new concepts and carefully formulate responses. The beauty of online learning is that all students have the opportunity to do their best work and to excel because everyone works at his or her own pace. You participate in online chats and discussions when you are ready and can spend as much time as you need to learn challenging material and complete assignments.

3.  Online learning is family friendly.

Online learning epitomizes flexibility and convenience. Eliminating the need to commute and to attend class on campus minimizes disruptions to your family schedule. That means you don't have to forgo your son's Saturday morning soccer game because it conflicts with a class or miss your daughter's dance recital because of an exam. You're in charge of your time and can create the schedule that enables you to meet your academic commitments but also fits your family's lifestyle.

4.  Online students are more than a number.

Remember what it felt like when you didn't understand something in class, but you didn't want to raise your hand because you thought you were the only one who didn't get it? Through email, chat and discussion threads, online students have easy, direct access to instructors. With ample tools and structures in place to communicate with instructors, every student has the opportunity to benefit from one-on-one interaction with online instructors.

5.  Online students have a network of support.

While students in online degree programs must be self-reliant and self-motivated learners, independence does not mean isolation. Supportive enrollment counselors, student advisors, librarians, tutors, student life specialists, career counselors, financial aid liaisons and others ensure that you have access to all of the resources you need to succeed.

Add understanding instructors and the camaraderie of classmates to your online learning experience, and you'll never feel alone.

If you're enrolled in an online degree program, would you share one reason why you love it in the comments below?

Image credit: StudioSmart on Shutterstock.com

Other posts you may be interested in reading:

12 Support Services For Online Degree Students [Infographic]

Choosing An Online Degree Program

How To Afford College As An Adult

Online Degree Student Facts | Would You Fit In?