Distance learning can be an ideal solution for highly motivated adult learners. If you receive all the social stimulation and challenges you need daily at your job, then you won't feel cheated by the isolation of taking certification or degree programs at home, alone, on your computer. However, if you're the type of person who needs the connection of relationships with fellow students and professors and the give and take of the traditional classroom setting, consider finding a local certification or degree program to best suit your career goals and your learning style.
Here are some pro's and con's to consider when contemplating distance learning to reach your IT educational goals:
The Pro's of Online IT Training
Cost: The tuition fees for distance learning are typically lower than traditional schools and colleges because of the reduced overhead for the institution. Too, expensive text books may be required less frequently since most material needed for courses is available online. This can mean a savings of over $150 per semester.
Convenience: Finding traditional classes at times that don't conflict with your job and/or family commitments can be difficult, even though more and more schools offer evening and weekend classes. Most distance learning programs have greater flexibility in when students must come together online and when and how assignments are delivered. Even if you can find a traditional course or certification program at a time that is convenient, you still have to add in commuting time. Online training removes these obstacles to acquiring the skills you need in today's job market.
Today, online offerings such as those of the University of Phoenix, DeVry Institute, and ITT Technical Institute are extensive in scope. With institutions such as these, you'll have the widest range of IT-related choices, from one-time intense instruction in a particular programming code to a series of Microsoft certifications that can also earn credits toward a bachelor's degree. Most traditional schools cannot provide as many options for IT training because they must also focus on the needs of traditional students.
The Con's of Online IT Training
One is the Loneliest Number: While you are not truly laboring on your own, the bulk of your studying will be done at home by yourself and your interactions with fellow students and instructors will most likely be limited to e-mail and live chat at prescribed times.
Timely Assistance and Responses: Some students who have done online training have felt frustrated by the inability to raise one's hands, as it were, to get an immediate answer from a professor in the classroom. Instead, many times an instructor expects you to collect your questions and shoot them off to him or her in one concise e-mail. This can slow you down in your studies.
Your Learning Style: If you are the type of learner who benefits from multi-modal teaching, then you are better served in a traditional classroom, where you can have both visual and auditory stimuli, plus the experiential learning that comes from close interaction with colleagues and instructors.