Going the Distance with Distance Learning
Career Path : Continuing Education
Having trouble organizing your class schedule with the rest of your busy life? Maybe you already have a full-time job or a family to look after. Is it difficult commuting to a campus from your home? Maybe the institution where you want to study is at too great of a distance from where you live. Do you not work well in group settings or have trouble following live lectures? Maybe you have your own unique learning style or follow your own individual learning pace.
If these questions and answers seem familiar to you, but you are still determined to improve your career by furthering your education, the maybe it is time to consider distance education. The advent of the internet and world wide web has opened the doors for all kinds of alternative educational systems that don’t limit the student to being physically present at a specific time and place. Everything from following course lectures to participating in group discussions and writing exams can be achieved through an online training course.
Sometimes, distance education does follow more traditional forms of learning. While the student may not have to be present in a classroom, set times are pre-arranged where students and teachers communicate and interact with each other via web-conferencing, video-conferencing and live-streaming. This is more ideal if a certain program that best suits your needs is not in your local vicinity but you still have the time and flexibility of schedule to follow an organized timetable.
If your problem extends past that of vicinity and travel times, and deals more with your own independent schedule, then there is an even more flexible form of distance education. This is where students can access the course materials on their own and often communicate with instructors via email to set their own timetables and initiatives. While this may seem like an extremely isolated form of learning, it is not so, due to the usage of message-board forums and other web-based community devices.
The benefits of distance education are many. Aside from the obvious benefits of working from the comfort of your own home or office, as well as fitting your studies into your own personal schedule, distance learning can be extremely cost efficient. Another advantage is that it creates a different kind of relationship between students and teachers. While not traditionally personable as in face-to-face, instructors can be more accessible and approachable on a one-on-one basis through emails and chatting, enabling the students to receive guidance more spontaneously.
A final and often unrealized benefit to online learning is the use of the internet and other web applications. While distance learning has existed for a long time, mostly through postal correspondences, today’s emphasis on using the internet greatly improves the distance learner’s overall internet and technology skills. So not only are you getting an education in your desired field, but are gaining valuable technological experience as an indirect bonus.
Distance learning isn’t necessarily right for everyone. Take the time to do your research into schools that offer such programs. Email or call the administration to ask any questions you might have. But if you are serious about obtaining a new career by furthering your education, are a serious and independent learner, and don’t have the time, money or luxury to travel to and sit in a classroom, then online training programs can take you the distance to achieve your goals.
Visit Mohawk College for more information on online programs in continuing education