What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning has been getting a lot of attention lately. Millions of people just like you and me swear by it. And it’s not hard to understand why. It used to be that in order to earn a degree or certification, you had to rearrange your schedule, disrupt your family and work life, and somehow fit in time to travel to classes a few nights a week, or give up your entire weekend in order to attend your mandatory classes. In short, it really made it all but impossible for anyone without a tremendous amount of time on their hands to get the education they need to move up the ladder in their career.

Enter distance learning. Thanks to the very same technology you use every day — such as the Internet, email, chat rooms, instant messaging and other forms of e-communication — you can now get the very same quality education “from a distance” that used to be reserved for brick and mortar classrooms.

Distance learning allows you to make the whole world – or just a spare corner of your bedroom – your classroom. You learn where and when you want, and you don’t have to totally turn your life upside down to do it.

Just about any kind of degree or certification is available through distance learning, and many of the top, most highly-respected schools in the world now offer distance learning and online degree programs.

You can earn anything from an associate’s degree all the way up to a PhD, so whatever you’re after, you’re almost guaranteed to find a program that’s right for you.

And just in case you think you’re sacrificing something in terms of quality with distance learning, rest assured that you’re not. You can still interact with your teachers and fellow students, and you’ll be learning from the same quality faculty you’d get from a traditional campus setting. The only thing that’s different is that you’re calling the shots, instead of a college administrator somewhere. So forget about rushing to make it to your class on time – you go to class when it’s convenient for you.

This makes distance learning perfect for busy parents with small children, professionals who simply don’t have time to travel to and from a college campus, or anyone else who finds that they don’t have enough time in the day to squeeze in education. Since you’re doing everything from home – or from wherever you happen to be – you save a ton of time that would have been wasted in a commute.

What to Keep in Mind When Comparing Distance Learning Programs

Ultra-Important: Look for Accreditation

If you look at one factor and one factor only when evaluating a distance learning or online degree program, it should be accreditation. Accreditation simply means that a school meets standards for its curriculum and isn’t a simply a “diploma mill.” Why is this important?

It means that the school is doing its job right. In order for your degree to be useful for anything other than boosting your ego, the school you earn it from has to be accredited. If you’re thinking about furthering your education to advance in your career, for example, going with an accredited institution is vital.

An online or distance learning program that has been accredited by the right agencies will allow you to earn a degree or certification that will bring you higher salaries and better positions in your field. On the flip side, a degree from a non-accredited college is basically useless, unless all you’re hoping to accomplish is to have a diploma to hang on your wall.

So there you have it. As long as you’ve verified the credentials of whatever school you’re interested in, distance learning can be a great way to get the education you need to become more successful in whatever field you choose. Give it a try! And good luck!