Ask yourself these questions before you decide to tackle learning online, also known as distant education:
1) How much self-discipline do I have?
2) How much undistributed time do I have in a week?
3) How well do I work unsupervised?
4) How much do I enjoy reading?
There are no bells ringing to alert you that when class is beginning in two minutes. Class begins when you have the time to log into the OLS – the online learning system classroom. Each course has a calendar which marks the due dates of assignments. You will be provided with all the materials you need. Most of them are written text so you can print them out if you chose to do so. A small percentage of it is audio which is also downloadable for listening to off line if you have a MP3 player. Some information that you need is on a website, you will be provided with a link. You know what you have to do, how to do it and when it needs to be finished and turned in. There are class discussions among the students with guidance from an instructor. You show up when you want to, there is no set schedule. Do you have what it takes to make yourself check in to your classes and keep up with the discussion on a daily basis?
* UNDISTRIBUTED TIME
Having peace and quiet is imperative for distance learning. You will spend a great deal of time at your computer. If your computer is in a nice quiet place? Do you have blocks of undisturbed time? The good thing about distant learning is you can participate in your classroom at 3 in the morning if that is the only quiet time you can find. Since many of the materials can be printed out and read away from your computer, you can take advantage of that by taking your reading to a quiet place. If you spend a lot of time traveling (but not driving) you can spend that time reading.
* Working Unsupervised
If you are an intra-personal learner, that is a person who works well on their own and would rather work alone, you will do well as a student of distant learning. In fact, you will probably like it better than attending a classroom.
Basically you are given the materials, which are very self explanatory but lengthy. If you do not like to read a lot, distant learning is not for you.
The advantage of distant learning is that students work on their own, at their own pace and that you schedule your learning and studying time around your other responsibilities. People who work full time jobs benefit greatly from this flexibility.
Older students, who might feel uncomfortable in a real classroom setting, can take an online class and no one would ever know how old they are.
I know this for a fact, I am 54 years old and I am taking courses from the University of Phoenix and I get along well in the classroom with students who are more than half my age.