How do I Choose the Best Distance Learning Provider?

Dan Cavallari

Choosing the best distance learning provider is a matter of deciding what kind of distance learning you intend to do, and finding a school that suits your needs. It is always a good idea to choose a school that is accredited to ensure you are getting a high-quality education that is recognized and respected both by other educational institutions and by potential employers. A good distance learning provider will utilize current distance learning methods such as online classes and multimedia communication methods. Most importantly, choose a distance learning provider that can give you the education you want at the price you can afford.

A woman taking a distance learning class.
A woman taking a distance learning class.

Decide first what type of distance learning you want to do. If you plan on taking one or two classes rather than a full degree program, choose a provider that offers the classes you need at an affordable price. Make sure the classes you are researching are acceptable for your purposes; many people, for example, take distance learning courses to fulfill a requirement for a job. Make sure the distance learning provider you are considering is acceptable to the employer that has set the requirement. Shop around and find the course that will fit your schedule and your price range as well.

If you are planning on attending a distance learning institution for a full degree program, be sure to first decide which degree you plan on obtaining. This will help narrow down the search for a distance learning provider, since not all providers carry the same programs. Once you have found several schools that offer the program you are looking for, eliminate the institutions that are not accredited. Accreditation ensures that the distance learning provider is offering a high quality education that is recognized by employers and other educational institutions. Attending one will improve your chances of finding employment after completion of the program, and it may increase the likelihood that your earned credits will transfer should you choose to change educational institutions at any point.

Research the ways in which classes are conducted, and by whom. Some institutions offer simple class structures such as message boards and e-mail, while others offer streaming audio and video, mp3 downloads, and interactive websites. Choose the types of courses that will suit your learning needs best. Look for classes that are asynchronous if you work full-time, as these courses will allow you to work at your own pace whenever you can or want to. Research instructors as well, and make sure they are experts in their fields. Look at their credentials and find professors you will be excited to work with.

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