Nowadays distance learning is becoming more and more popular among the students all over the world. It is an alternative for those who want to get or continue education without damaging their families and jobs. If you belong to those eager learners, you possibly can be bewildered by the large number of distance learning programmes offering online degrees. This article provides 5 important criteria you should consider to make a right choice.

Accreditation

The significance of accreditation cannot be underestimated, as only certificated and recognised online educational institution can give an academic degree that will satisfy the demands of your future employer. It shows whether a particular institution and study programme meet the standards of national or regional legislation on higher education and the provided qualification represents an accepted educational level. The U.S. Department of Education has a list of “reliable authorities” that can perform accreditation. In Great Britain, it is the Ministry of Education that makes the national recognition. In Germany, it can be made independently by each of 18 states.

Flexibility

Flexible timing is a tangible benefit of distance learning in comparison with a traditional one. Think of the amount of time you can spend for studying and then opt for a programme that fits your current schedule best. Make sure that you will be able to combine your job or householding with education. Find out if the desired programme has a fixed schedule or it can be flexible; if the on-site attendance is often; if there is an opportunity for you to pass accelerated courses.

Cost

Opt for a learning programme that fits your budget. The thing to pay attention to is getting a good value for your money. The tuition fees for online education are lower than for a conventional counterpart. Moreover, you save on books, housing, fuel etc. Still you are supposed to attend on-site meetings from time to time, so don’t choose a remote educational establishment. And plan your travelling and accommodation expenses in advance.

Support services

Online students are entitled to get support from their educators just like traditional students. Clarify the way to contact your online teachers to get personal consultations. The whole process should match your study needs and preferences. Another important factor is motivation. Whatever it is: self-education investment, impressing your family, getting a better job – remember your goal and stay motivated.

Study materials and learning environment

Online education provides a variety of materials including live lectures via webcam, computer discs with texts, video and audio tapes, interactive tasks, quizzes etc. In order to keep in touch with fellow students and instructors, many programmes offer virtual campuses where the communication can be held via chats or forums. Many online institutions have free test lectures. Take advantage of them to get acquainted with different distance learning programmes and make your decision.

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