Continuous learning offers nothing but benefits. Many schools now offer programs, allowing us to study a new course at our convenience and pace, subject to certain regulations. These are called distance learning programs, because you can study without having to go to school regularly - it can even be done online! Here are some things to consider in selecting a distance learning program.
- Choose a course you really like. You must be able to sustain your own interest in the program, because there will be no classes to attend, and your professor will not take the time to compel you to continue studying for the program. You will be your own motivator. If you're just studying in order to comply with promotion opportunities at work, and you're not that interested in the subject matter, try to hook up with your classmates for group study sessions, to make it more interesting.
- Choose online or modified. Decide if you want a completely online distance learning program or a modified one. Some programs combine online and classroom learning. This means that you can submit some of your work online, but there are certain projects that will have to be submitted in person at the school, or there will be certain days in the week where you'll actually have the opportunity to go to class.
- Surf the Internet for options. Most distance learning programs advertise themselves online. You can also check testimonials posted from people who have already enrolled in the program. These testimonials will give you an idea, more or less, of what the program has to offer.
- Choose an accredited program. This signifies that you will be getting only quality education and that the materials you will be provided with have been tried and tested in accordance with established criteria.
- Ask friends. Ask them for any suggestions on which program to take and what to avoid. You can also ask them for tips on time management.
- Check required technology. Make sure that you have appropriate technology for the program. Since you will be studying and submitting your work online, you must have the necessary hardware and software for the purpose. There might even be teleconferencing classes at times. Ask the institution offering the program right away what technology requirements are needed, so you can prepare for them.
- Stay within your budget. Choose a program that's within your budget. You do not want to worry about your finances while you are studying, this will surely affect your concentration. If the program is required for promotion at work, find out if your company has educational packages that will help ease the financial burden. There might even be some scholarship grants available out there.
- Flexibility. Ask the program coordinator for options in the schedule. The schedule should be flexible enough to allow you to study for the program and still continue your daily tasks, whether at home or at work.
- Visit the location. Try to visit the institution before starting the program. Getting the feel of the school and the instructors will give you an idea if it offers the kind of program you want to undertake.
Once you're in the program, focus and study well. Participate in group discussions, whether online or in the classroom. This will ensure that you're maximizing your distance learning experience.