People seek educational courses for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you need to learn a new skill for your current employer, or are beginning a new degree program. Maybe you are starting a new hobby, or you want to try something new. You have many choices available to you — read a book, take a college or university class, 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 education has become a viable option for numerous students. Why go to class once a week when you can learn in the comfort of your own home? Or the local coffee shop?
A variety of non-traditional learning opportunities are available, each designed to give you the flexibility and convenience you need for your lifestyle. Correspondence courses, online classes, and eLearning modules all have more flexibility than traditional learning environments.
Distance Education: Correspondence Courses
Correspondence courses are one of the oldest forms of distance education. The entire course is mailed to you and your assignments are mailed (or emailed) back to the instructor. You have a certain amount of time to complete the course, but extensions are usually available if you need more time. Typically, you may begin any time and work at your own pace. One added benefit of distance education through a correspondence course is that you won’t need a computer to access your class.
Distance Education: Online Classes
Distance education through online classes is now offered through many community centers, colleges, and universities. These courses may be taught through an online classroom, use recorded lectures, or include full interactive coursework accessed through the Internet. Assignments and tests are usually completed 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 are able to 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, be sure the online program carries appropriate accreditation.
Online courses are also an excellent option when you need to upgrade your current skills. The flexibility allows you to take only the course you need without having to complete an entire degree program. Many occupational and technical schools provide courses working professionals can use to advance their career or skills.
Distance Education: eLearning Modules
One of the newer options in distance education is called eLearning. Frequently, these classes contain both online and offline components. You may be shipped CDs instead of books, the entire course may be contained on CDs, or the course may be online but not dependent on any specific classroom time or schedule. In other words, eLearning is similar to a correspondence course, but contains interactive CDs or online content.
Flexibility is an option many students need to begin or continue their education. Choosing the best distance education format for your specific needs will help you reach your educational goals without sacrificing your current obligations and lifestyle.