By: Ken Austin
We live in the information age. We have grown so accustomed to information at the speed of light that the prospect of not having immediate access to countless numbers of facts and figures with the mere click of a few buttons for many of us is simply disconcerting. For this reason, it only makes sense that there are many people across the nation and around the world that are embracing the idea of online learning and educational opportunities with every ounce of enthusiasm they can muster.
At the same time there are equal numbers of people around the world who are trying desperately to hold on to traditional methods of dealing with certain things. In fact, some people actually still play solitaire with a deck of playing cards. For people who feel that the information age has left them behind to some degree the chances are quite good that online learning may not be the best available option for you.
Below you will find a few questions that can help you narrow down whether or not you would truly benefit by taking some of the many online courses that are being offered in today's information age of learning.
1) Are you disciplined? This may seem like such an innocuous question because we would all like to think that we are disciplined to some degree. The problem is that when you are in the driver's seat for your own education you need to have a little more than some small degree of discipline.
You need to be able to meet deadlines, take the tests, and hold yourself responsible for actually learning the information that you need to learn in order to pass the course. There is no one to blame but yourself if you do not manage to do well in your online classes and some people simply do not like being in the drivers seat when it comes to motivating and pacing themselves and their learning practices.
2) How do you learn best? We all have different methods of learning for which we retain information better than others. Online courses are reading intensive. If you have difficulties retaining the information you read you may need to find an alternate learning method or seek solutions with the assistance of the course instructor before moving forward in an online learning environment.
3) Do you have a true desire to succeed? The answer to this question is quite important in determining whether or not online learning is in your best interest. There are many paths you can take in order to achieve the education and degree you desire. This is not the path of the masses, at least not yet.
This type of learning, more than any other is easy to give up on through apathy. If you aren't determined to do the assignments, to study the notes, and to really learn the material that is presented to you then you really do not need to waste your time or the instructor's time by continually making up excuses.
Online courses are largely self-paced but you do have a limited amount of time in which to learn the material before you need to move on. The teacher is responsible for providing you the information and material but you are responsible for everything that happens from that moment on. Are you ready for that responsibility?
Whether you are a first time college student or a professional that is returning to school after a long absence online learning can open new doors of opportunity for your learning pleasure. You must be willing to walk through those doors and take the information that is presented to you however in order to be successful.
My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will carefully consider whether or not the lack of structure that many online courses provides is going to be conducive to your specific learning and educational needs before taking the plunge.