Distance Learning vs Traditional Learning

If you have been juggling the decision of distance learning versus a campus education then you have probably been asking friends if they know anything about "mail order" education. You have most likely heard a wide range of opinions, both positive and negative.

There has always been a lot of propaganda floating around out there that distance learning schools are scams devised to separate gullible people from their money. Another bit of propaganda is that the diplomas they offer are largely passed off as fluff by employers. While this is all true in some cases, you might be surprised at how often these ideas are nothing more than myths or urban legends. Let’s examine some of the facts.

Every now and then a big story is unleashed about a prominent business person or politician has been discovered having in his possession a purchased MBA or PhD from a "diploma mill." It’s in the headlines for a few days and then it’s back to business as usual. Yes, unfortunately this does happen. More often than not, this is not the case. The most important thing to consider from a distance learning institution is the question, "Is the institution accredited?"

The answer to this question is what a prospective employer is going to rely on. Usually the employer will not even know that you attended online rather than in the classroom unless you point it out. All he knows is that you successfully completed all the required requirements for your degree. It is not printed on the diploma and more often than not the employer will not ask to see it. If anything, he will want to know what your GPA was.

It is another myth that being in a classroom listening to an instructor is harder than distance learning. Not true. In fact, distance learning may actually be harder for some because of the self discipline involved. Regardless of whether you attend a campus or sit in front of your computer at home, the course is going to cover the same material. That is what academic accreditation is there for. Further, in any case, your assigned instructor plays a pivotal role in how well you do in the class. Just as you would ask classmates on a campus for their recommendations for instructors, you should do this research on your distance learning instructors. They all have histories and biographies.

Will your credits transfer from school to school

There is really no difference between distance learning and a brick and mortar campus on this issue. Again, accreditation is the key. If you transfer from an accredited distance learning school to an accredited campus, your official transcript will go through the same review process. Some credits will transfer and others will not. Once again, accreditation is the thing to thoroughly research.

Will you complete your degree requirements at the same pace as at a campus

That largely depends on you and your pace. The benefit in this area is that you are not delegated to a classroom pace. If something is easy for you then go ahead and breeze through it. If some sort of time consuming situation arises in your life, slow down. You’re in control!

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