Monday, March 31, 2008

Distance Learning Courses - Are They for You?

Changing careers or jobs often require you to upgrade your skills, or, in the event of a complete career change, learn new skills. But, how can you take classes and continue to support yourself at the same time? That's where distance learning courses come in.

What is distance learning? Simply put, distance learning is any formal educational process in which the teaching occurs when the student and teacher are not in the same place. Distance learning courses can be delivered over the internet, television, or through videoconferences with live class sessions. Though many of these long-distance courses provide no direct connection between teacher and student, many of them, particularly at the local community college and university, supplement the distance courses with periodic, in-person get-togethers. In other cases there are often connections by phone, e-mail, videotapes and lab equipment mailed to your home.

Distance learning course programs were originally created with the working adult in mind, but have since become a favorite of students of all ages looking to complete their post-secondary education, gain certifications, or learn new skills to change careers or move ahead in their fields. Because these programs are more flexible in how they can be completed, it is often financially easier. Also, not having to travel to and from campus can result in some gas savings as well.

These types of programs offer Bachelor, Master, and even PhD degrees, but also include various diploma and certification programs.

Are Distance Learning Courses for You?

There are numerous things to take into consideration before you sign up for that first distance learning class.

..: You Need Good Self-Discipline

It's hard enough sometimes showing up to a face-to-face class. With distance-learning courses, you have to maintain the discipline to log into your class regularly, complete assignments on time, and contact the right person if you run into trouble. Not all students have the necessary self-discipline.

..: There's No Connection with Fellow Students

Is that a problem? Well, for some people it can be. Sometimes being around other students can help your motivation, and give you other people to learn from. Also, distance learning doesn't allow for networking. Your fellow students can be your future entry to jobs. Many times people get hired based on recommendations with someone they went to school with. You can help offset this lack of networking by joining online networking communities or local organizations geared to your chosen career field.

..: Make Sure Your Computer is Up-To-Date

Most distance courses are taught online. You do need to make sure that your computer is up-to-date, as well as your internet connection. No dial-ups here. Dial-up is just too slow to properly connect with some courses. And, if your computer is old, with low RAM and a small hard-drive, a high-speed internet connection will be useless.

Of course, you don't even have to complete the course on your computer at home. Coffee houses, airports, and even fast food restaurants have created their own hotspots, realizing that their customers want to work while on the go.

If you think distance learning classes might be an option for you, you may want to go to our website at and check out some of the careers and skills you can learn online. You can also get more information on distance learning classes by checking out our page on At-Home Career Training

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