People seek educational opportunities for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you need to learn a new skill for your current employer or start a new degree. Maybe you’re starting a new hobby or want to try something new. You have many choices – read a book, take a college or university course, enroll in a correspondence course – and the decision may seem overwhelming.
Traditional educational environments rarely meet the demands of today’s modern society, and distance learning has become a viable option for many students. Why go to class once a week when you can study in the comfort of your own home? Or the local cafe?
A variety of non-traditional learning options are available, all designed to give you the flexibility and convenience you need to fit your lifestyle. Distance learning, online courses, and e-learning modules all offer more flexibility than traditional learning environments.
Distance learning: Distance courses
Correspondence courses are one of the oldest forms of distance learning. The entire course will be mailed to you and your assignments will be mailed (or emailed) back to the instructor. You have a set amount of time to complete the course, but extensions are usually available if you need more time. You can usually start at any time and work at your own pace. An added advantage of distance learning through a correspondence course is that you don’t need a computer to access your classes.
Distance Learning: Online Lessons
Distance learning through online classes is now offered by many community centers, colleges and universities. These courses can be taught through an online classroom, use recorded lectures, or include full interactive coursework that can be accessed over the web. Assignments and tests are usually taken online and there may be an interactive forum with teachers and students. Some courses may need to be completed according to the class schedule, while others can be completed at your own pace.
Currently, many degrees and certifications are offered entirely online. Many online programs allow you to work at your own pace and complete your degree in less time than usual. If you are pursuing a degree or industry certification, make sure the online program has appropriate accreditation.
Online courses are also an excellent option if you want to improve your current skills. The flexibility allows you to take only the course you need without having to complete an entire degree. Many trade and technical schools offer courses that working professionals can use to advance their careers or skills.
Distance learning: eLearning modules
One of the newer options in distance learning is called eLearning. Often these classes contain both online and offline components. You may receive CDs instead of books, the entire course may be contained on CDs, or the course may be online but is not dependent on any specific class time or schedule. In other words, eLearning is similar to distance learning, but includes interactive CDs or online content.
Flexibility is an option many students need to begin or continue their education. Choosing the best distance learning format for your specific needs will help you achieve your educational goals without sacrificing your current commitments and lifestyle.
Thanks to Troy Childers