Now that the internet has effectively replaced the card catalog, phone book and encyclopedia, will the classroom be the next to succumb? Not likely. While more and more students are finding success with the flexibility of online learning, not every student is a good fit for all online programs. When considering an online course, students need to look at their personal learning style and lifestyle.
If a student is thrifty, online education is the better choice. The costs of online learning are usually lower than any traditional classroom. This is due to lower overhead. An online school can support 200 students for the same overhead as just 25. A classroom school has to adjust tuition to cover seat space, number of instructors and rent. Students also have to factor in the additional costs that might be associated with a classroom school – parking, additional gas or bus money, or childcare to name a few.
Another consideration is a student’s current schedule. Does he/she have the ability to consistently open large chunks of time to attend a classroom school? If a student is working full time, balancing children with a career or currently employed at job without set hours, making that type of commitment is not easy. With the online option, the course easily fits into the schedule the student already has. This is not to say that online does not require a time commitment, it does. But, with an online option, students determine when to commit the time rather than following a third-party schedule.
How a student learns is probably the best indicator of online success. Obviously those who learn well by reading are optimal online learners. But even those who learn other ways can be very successful with online courses. I prefer to hear the content. So, when I approach an online course, I read out loud to myself. I look a little crazy, but the information processes better this way. Students who need to write notes to master the content can easily take notes in both online or classroom settings.
Finally, the online format allows students to truly set their own pace. Online students are not distracted by other student questions nor have their time waylaid by that one student who always has an anecdote to share. Have a vacation coming up? Simply work a little more in the course before or after. Or, take the tablet with you and study while traveling. If, however, a student is not good with setting and meeting personal timelines and goals, the forced deadlines in a classroom setting may be better option.
Online learning is an ever-evolving education field so it is important to weigh the pros and the cons for each student. At RealEstateExpress.com our students have up to six months to complete their online real estate education; contact with live instructors for assistance; and the ability to set their own schedule. If at student is looking for flexibility to work at his/her own pace and to have the convenience of reviewing learning points as often as needed, online learning is the right choice.
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About Tom Davidson — Tom Davidson is Vice President of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.