How to Choose a Quality E-learning Program
E-learning programs offer students the opportunity to earn a degree or pursue an interest from the comfort of their home or office. Many people are interested in participating in this type of learning but are concerned about the quality of the education that they will receive and about how their degree or web based training will be viewed by others when they finish their online courses. Therefore, it is important to consider some of the following things when deciding which e-learning company or school to use.
Accreditation is the term that schools, colleges and universities use to indicate that they meet the quality and standards set forth by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. Many times, these schools, colleges and universities are referring to the accreditation standards set forth by the National Education Association.
Schools that are accredited by the National Education Association have proven that they have a quality program that provides accurate information to their students. Also, students may transfer credits between different colleges and universities that have been accredited by the National Education Association. That means that if you begin your degree online and then chose to attend a traditional college or university that is accredited that you can transfer your credits and not have to retake courses that you have successfully completed.
Just as accreditation provides the student with helpful information about the quality of an online distance education programís quality, it is also provides information to potential employers. Employers will understand that you got the web based training necessary to succeed as an employee in their company.
Once you have determined that the school is accredited, it is important to understand the graduation requirements before you enroll in online courses. You want to look for an e-learning school that requires you to get a well rounded education within your area of study so that you are well prepared to enter the work force.
Quality of Teaching
Remember, that you are hiring the school and paying them for a service. Your professors are professionals whom you are hiring to teach you. Therefore, it is important and well within your rights to inquire about their credentials. For example, you might be interested in where they attended school, whether they have worked in the field that they are teaching, how long they have been teaching and whether they have published any articles, studies or books in the subject area.
Success of Students
It is important to research and inquire as to how much support the online program will provide to students. Different students have different e-learning styles. Some are completely independent learners who do their work with minimal assistance from their professor or support person. Other students need to be able to ask questions of their professor and interact with other students in order to learn. Therefore, is important to understand how students can contact their professor, whether there is any student interaction and how different e-learning styles are accommodated.
Further, computer or technical support is often an important part for online distance education. All of your class work including quizzes, tests, homework sets and research papers will need to be submitted online. So, it is important that you have the technical support necessary to complete your work and earn good grades.
Success of Graduates
If you are going to take the time away from your work, family and personal interests to pursue an online degree then it is important that you understand the types of benefits that might be available to you when you finish the program.
The best way to do that is to see if the online program maintains an alumni directory. That way you can e-mail a few alumni and ask them what they think the benefits were of attending the program. If the school does not maintain a directory then ask them for a few alumni references. They may be happy to comply with your request.
Time and Cost
Certainly, accreditation, a challenging curriculum, the quality of teaching and the success of students and graduates are important. However, if the logistics of the program do not work for you then all of the other criteria are meaningless.
So, when you are deciding which e-learning program to enroll in be sure to think about the flexibility of the programís schedule and the cost of the program, including any financial aid opportunities.
Choosing which school to attend is a big decision that could potentially impact your future career. Therefore, it is important to take the time to choose a quality e-learning program.