Distance learning has many advantages, as already stated by a large number of students. Both undergraduates and graduates take part in such programs to get a decent education without leaving home, or in order to reach new heights at work.
Remote or online training comes in a form convenient for the student, he can study anywhere, at home, at the cottage, in a cafe or in a park – the only thing needed is the internet access. You can choose a suitable course for yourself in a particular discipline – it can be science, technology, medicine, design, English and literature, finance, marketing, economics, business administration and so on. Besides, online learning is useful because you are can make a useful study plan for yourself, and decide when it’s time to take exams or hand in academic assignments.
The number of distance-learning programs is constantly increasing, so often it is very difficult to choose the best program. To do everything right, take into account the 5 important criteria presented below.
Accreditation of programs
The first thing to consider when choosing the right online program is its accreditation. It means that only accredited programs will provide you with an academic certified degree and worthy knowledge. With the help of accredited distance-learning programs, you can apply to work and be employed. The accreditation is done by a specific accreditation agency, which determines the actual value of the program, its curriculum, and whether it follows all major academic standards.
Another necessary thing is the national recognition of online learning programs. The national recognition of universities and study programs is conducted by the Ministry of Education or another state authority.
There are some other significant features of a relevant distance-learning program, such as certificates, awards, quality labels, etc.
The flexibility of learning
The main advantage of distance learning over an on-campus learning is the flexibility of schedule. Usually, it means that students have the opportunity to create an ideal schedule for the whole year, thereby combining studies with work or other activities. Even if you have work and family, you will still have time to listen to lecture, do home assignment and finish your essay on time. But every country sets its own rules for distance learning, so you should be careful when opting for a study program.
Find out or read on the website about the number of study hours allocated for a week, how many subjects the programs include, and whether you will need to attend classes. If attendance is mandatory, then choose the program with rare on-site meetings or the ones that match you work schedule.
The overall cost
When you decide which distance learning program to choose, you have to take into consideration the overall cost. Of course, online courses are usually cheaper than traditional on-campus programs. However, some of them may require costs for study materials, documents, traveling to on-site meetings, etc.
Student support services
This criterion is one of the most important things you need to consider when applying for a distance learning courses. You should get to know the kind and quality of personal support provided at a particular institution. This is essential since with the help of such student support services you can arrange flexible appointments, prepare for exams, choose dates for mandatory visits, and other things.
Study materials and the learning environment
The last thing to pay attention to when choosing a distance-learning program is the learning environment. Use the universities websites to learn what kind of study materials you will have, what online services they offer, and how the learning process will take place. Find out what you will use during the school year (videos, documents, conferences), whether you will be able to chat with your teammates, or how to take exam tests.