Distance Learning for Career Advancement

Four major universities are joining forces with Coursera, a Silicon Valley startup, to offer free online classes in more than three-dozen subjects.

A couple of years ago, a university dean was invited here in our community school to explain the long distance education program of the said university. She explained the many advantages of their program and how it has helped many professionals enhance their careers. She was able to convince many including my uncle, a teacher to enroll. After about a year I inquired how things were going in his long distance schooling. He smiled and told me he quit.

There are many considerations one has to make before deciding to avail of distance education. It is an affordable program and in most cases in very affordable installments. In addition there is nothing to worry about expenses on trips, boarding houses and meals.

Distance education is also a hassle free program. There is no schedule of classes and nobody is telling you what to do and where to go. Your home and even your workplace can instantly be transformed into your school. You are in total control of your environment. Distance education is also very accessible. Very often all you need is a computer.

There are two types of long distance education programs. One is completely online or thru mail. Another one is the modified one where students are required to have two or three meetings with their professor in the school site or in any other suitable venue convenient for both students and teacher. The schedule of these meetings has also been agreed upon by both parties.

There are however some problems with regards long distance education. The program gives very little support for students. The computer does not have all the help and the moral support the student needs with regards the lessons and some are discouraged later on by the feeling of being left alone with a problem left unsolved. If their problems become more complex and they are unable to give attention to it, students may lose interest in it and would just stop.

I guess this is what happened to my uncle and his group. Most of the students, no matter how old they maybe, have been so used to face-to-face instruction where personalized attention is available. The campus atmosphere is really the best one for education because of the atmosphere of learning. Just looking at the other students is a push for one to study. And the campus atmosphere is really a healthy atmosphere because of the interaction.

Distance education is a new technology. If you are new to the computer and you have some problems on how to use it, online education would be very hard for you. Distance education is also not fit for procrastinators. In many cases these two factors mix. Lack of skill in using the computer would delay the student because he still has to learn how to use it. His learning tasks would be set aside. If it takes a long time for him to solve the two problems he would lose interest and quit.

Long distance education is a laudable program who thinks they are really fit for it. It is however, a must that you consider the pros and cons related to your career.