Is Online Learning Right For You?
If you're thinking about taking the dive into online learning, ask yourself these 5 questions first.
With improved technology, changing work dynamics, and demand for flexible learning options, more people are turning to online learning.
If you're still pondering whether online learning is right for you, here are five questions to ask yourself when considering this approach:
1. What are my reasons for taking this course or program?
Having a strong sense of your own motivations for taking a course or program can help you to see the bigger picture.
Will the course help you master a particular skill that's important to your workplace? Do you need that additional credential to achieve a promotion? Is a course a good way to test the waters for a possible career shift? Do you have an interest that you have not been able to pursue until now?
Knowing your reasons and having a concrete life goal and more than just a passing interest attached can help you justify the time and effort that the learning requires.
For example, if you already have an interest in computer languages, and at the same time it's a skill that will give you better job prospects, then it would make sense that an online computer programming offering would get your full commitment and dedication.
2. Do I have the time?
Online learning provides the flexibility to fit your lifestyle, be it early in the morning before work, later in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, or around any chores or responsibilities during the day. But you still need to put in the time.
When you think about taking an online course or program, consider the weeks or months it will take to complete it—can you dedicate the time, not only for the assignments, but to complete weekly readings or participate in virtual discussions? Are you able to commit to a full-time load?
If you're particularly busy at work, or if you're facing a challenging time in your life, then you might want to consider a part-time or course-by-course option—or even hold off entirely until you're ready.
On the other hand, if you are ready, then now might be the perfect time to start. AC Online programs and courses offer the flexibility you need so that you can begin anytime and from anywhere.
3. Do I have the tools and space?
You may never enter a physical classroom during your online learning journey, but you will still need space to learn. Don't worry if you don't have the perfect setup; a quiet corner in your living room or bedroom will do. Thinking about how and where you'll learn can help you commit to the online learning process.
In terms of tools, a computer with a decent internet connection is essential, and it's nice to have a dedicated desk or table, a good chair, and proper lighting.
4. Do I have the support?
Talking with friends and family can help reassure you that they are going to help you succeed with your new venture into online learning.
After you've had a chance to think about it yourself, share with them your reasons for pursuing the course or program, and the long-term benefits of this goal. Ask them for support in helping you stick to your plan, whether it be assisting you to find the quiet time you need every week, picking up the slack with chores at home when you'll be busy with your studies, or encouraging you when a big assignment seems challenging!
5. Do I have a plan?
Planning equals success in your online learning journey, so if you've decided to try it out, think about ways that you can set yourself up for a smooth experience.
Consider any commitments that you might be able to put on hold so you can fully commit to your online course. Look at the course or program requirements, pre-requisites, and timelines, and think about how you will progress.
A good first step would be to gather information at any of our Open House sessions, where you can watch presentations about AC Online, have your questions answered live by our experts, and where you can join other potential online students who have questions you may not have considered yet.
Most importantly, you'll take the first step on a new journey and you'll know you're not alone.
Visit the AC Online programs page for more information on how to get started—and you can always reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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