Continuing education can be difficult for the individual coping with frequent moves, deployments, or other challenges associated with military life. Distance Learning can be key to continuing education for Service families.
What is distance learning? It is a method of instruction provided to students who are remotely located from a school or university. It involves little or no time in a traditional classroom setting. Most student-instructor interaction is conducted through email, phone, or audio or video conferences. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 90% of education institutions offer some type of distance learning.
Options for Distance Learning
There are a variety of distance learning options available: low-residency programs; correspondence courses; as well as the current popular choice—eLearning. All of these options have their pros and cons depending on your situation, so do your research and pick the one that best fits you.
- Low-residency programs require minimal on campus attendance, and the majority of coursework is conducted at home. This can be an attractive option to students who want to pursue a degree and have the experience of a college environment, but are unable to be on-campus on a daily or weekly basis. However, there are on-campus requirements, which vary among programs and courses.
- Correspondence courses are classes you complete from home using materials sent to and from the instructor via regular mail or fax. It can be attractive to some students because it requires little to no technology, but access to the instructor and other resources are time-intensive. This is a popular option for those stationed overseas.
- eLearning is becoming synonymous with distance learning. These programs provide a seemingly unlimited opportunity to obtain distance learning for anyone with a computer and access to the internet. The instructors can customize classes to conduct quizzes, essays, class discussions, and instructor/student chat to aide the student to be successful in the course. Commitment to continued education, self-discipline, and self-motivation are a necessity if pursuing this or other forms of distance learning.
Distance learning has its positive points and can be the answer to the challenges of pursuing your education and a military lifestyle. Be sure to consider if the school is accredited (degrees from unaccredited schools can be worthless), the methods of interaction between professor and student, and how you will be evaluated. These are essential to get the best value from your educational pursuits.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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