Looking for ways to fit keeping current in your field into your already hectic life? Online learning could be the answer, but just what is it? Online learning is accessed through your computer and the Internet. The Benefits of Online Learning
- Convenience: Too busy or remote to travel to a classroom? An online learning experience is as close as your computer and the Internet. Schedule too hectic? You can usually do your learning when it's convenient for you.
- Cost: Online courses are often less expensive than traditional classroom learning, but prices vary. Lita Epstein, an online instructor for Bloomberg University, states that for-profit learning providers often have larger classes resulting in a lower per-student cost. Lynn Ward, assistant director of the University of Illinois Online (UIO), notes that her institution requires certain levels of student participation to meet accredited degree requirements, thus making the courses somewhat more expensive.
- Diverse Class Profile: Imagine a class in international development in which you discuss economic conditions with students from Switzerland, India, Brazil and South Africa. In an online classroom, you're apt to be surrounded by people from all over the country or world.
Are You an Online Learner?
Every form of learning favors a certain set of skills. Ask yourself the following to decide if online learning is right for you:
- Do you have the tools? Most online courses will state what equipment is required. In any case, an up-to-date computer and a fast Internet connection will best serve you.
- Are you comfortable with the technology? You'll have to understand your hardware, any software and the course interface before you can reap online learning's benefits.
- Do you manage time well? Online learners usually don't rely on a set block of time for a class; it's up to you to decide when to go to school. UIO's Ward points out that online learning demands a larger time investment overall. In a traditional class, there simply isn't time for every student to share in each discussion.
- Are you self-disciplined? It's easy to sit back in an online course, but your learning will suffer if you don't participate. The lack of accountability could lead to poor study habits.
- Are you comfortable reading and writing? While some classes have audio or video instruction, reading and writing are still the dominant means of communication.
- Can you handle delayed responses? You may find that your momentum suffers without an immediate response to a question.
So if you think "online" may be the best fit for you, we encourage you to begin looking for the school that meets your needs. Schools usually have free information packets they will mail you with answers to the questions above, more on tuition costs, and an application. You can request information from multiple schools at once by filling out a form on Military.com. With no obligation or cost, learning about different schools is a great way to take the first step. Click here to request information.
This article originally appeared on Monster Learning: http://learning.monster.com.