The key to choosing a good German distance learning program is to find one that suits your learning style. The course should be taught in your primary language, though more advanced classes may be taught entirely in German. Be sure to choose a German distance learning program that offers both synchronous and asynchronous course offerings to ensure the best scheduling and communication with instructors. The program you choose should be offered by an accredited institution, and it should fit your price range; remember that you may need to apply for financial aid to pay for your education, which makes choosing an accredited program even more important.
An accredited institution is one that has gone through the accreditation process conducted by a valid outside agency. Accreditation ensures that the school offering the German distance learning program is offering a high-quality education that is recognized by employers and other educational institutions as such. Attending an institution that is not accredited can make you ineligible for certain types of financial aid, and it may mean an employer passes you over for employment once you have completed your German distance learning coursework. Only consider institutions that are accredited to ensure you are receiving a high quality and recognized education. Also make sure that the credits you earn during your German distance learning education are transferable to other institutions should you choose to change schools at any point. Your credits are more likely to be transferable if you attend an accredited institution, though this is not guaranteed.
Decide whether an asynchronous or a synchronous class will work best for you. Asynchronous classes allow you to work at your own pace and access class materials at any time. This means you will have more scheduling freedom but less direct interaction with classmates and instructors, and you must be more self-directed in your education. Synchronous classes take place at the same time every day, and you will attend the class with other students. Such classes allow for more direct interaction with instructors but less scheduling freedom.
Classes can be conducted via online message boards, e-mail, or websites. Other options may include streaming video, mp3 downloads, and online presentations. Be sure to research how the German distance learning programs you are considering are taught. You should also look into how much German language immersion will be required early on in the coursework; this may help you decide which program is best for you, as some people learn better through intensive immersion, while others learn better by slow, meticulous immersion.