Continuing Education with Distance Learning Programs

College is one of the most important and enriching experiences of a student s life. It is where we start carving the path to our future and learning vital skills. A lot of people take higher education for granted and forget that not everyone is fortunate enough to go to college straight out of high school. For individuals who have to bypass college for some reason, continuing education provides an opportunity to complete an unfinished task.

Not only does continuing education give such people a sense of personal accomplishment, but it also helps them earn the respect of their community members. There are some individuals who believe continuing education can help them further their careers by honing their existing skills or imparting new ones, while others continue their education because they are looking for a career switch. Still others do it just for the love of learning.

Whatever the reasons for continuing education, there is little doubt that online and distance learning degrees play a very important role in making it a possibility.

If it were not for the availability of convenient online and distance learning programs, how many working professionals would be able to quit their jobs to attend a regular brick and mortar college? As many grow older and have more responsibilities, going back to school becomes a distant dream.

Distance learning education turns this seemingly impossible dream into a feasible reality for millions of students every year. An annual study conducted by Sloan Consortium, an organization dedicated to quality online education, states that 4.6 million students were enrolled in an online course during the 2008 fall term.

Although the seeds of distance education were sown way back in early 18th century, it was the development of the postal service that actually saw a huge spurt in distance learning programs delivered through commercial correspondence institutions.

From the time when the study material was mailed to students via post, distance learning education has traveled a long way. There is an increased dependence on technology to impart education through this mode. In fact, the two main types of technologies used for imparting distance education programs are synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous distance learning programs involve interfacing with the instructor in real time. What this means is that students may be required to listen to live lectures and participate in group discussions via the Web or through phone-ins at the same time, but from different locations.

Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, offers complete flexibility to students to follow a schedule that s most convenient to them and to study at their own pace. But, in the case of facilitated asynchronous programs, they may still be required to complete assignments and participate in online discussions.

There are also some hybrid programs that include elements of both face-to-face instruction and online learning. Irrespective of the type of program, distance learning education provides an excellent opportunity to students who are unable to attend a traditional college to bring about a positive change in their lives.

With higher education comes higher responsibility, greater marketability in the job market, chances for a bigger paycheck, and increased satisfaction from work. If continuing education can do all this and more for you, then the time to wait is over. It s time to act!

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