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How do you know if Distance Education is for you?

Distance Education is not for everyone. Many mistakenly believe that participating in a Distance Education course will be easier because of the flexibility of the program, but this is not the case. More than likely, it will be more demanding and require more of your time. If you are unsure if Distance Education is a good option for you, it is imperative that prior to signing up for any Distance Education course, that you consider the questions below and reflect on your responses. Hopefully, this activity will assist you with determining if you would be a good distance Education candidate.

Are you a good Distance Education candidate?

1. How is your schedule? Do you have a lot on your plate? Do you have a lot of obligations, any other things that you are committed to? Seriously consider your current obligations. If you don't have a lot of time to commit to a Distance Education course, then it might be a good idea to wait until things are less hectic.
2. How do you best learn? Do you learn best when participating in a formal classroom setting, viewing a video, watching someone complete a task (i.e. demonstration), reading a book, completing some kind of tutorial etc? Some distance programs may incorporate one or several of these learning styles. If possible, try to determine which method(s) the program will be using prior to signing up for the Distance Education course.
3. How often will you be able to spend time on-line? (once a week, everyday, etc.). In other words, how frequently can you dedicate time to your studies?
4. Is it necessary for you to have social interaction? If so, you might want to reconsider Distance Education or look for a blended or hybrid Distance Education Program.
5. Are you highly motivated, dedicated to learning, no matter the environment or circumstances? Studies have shown that individuals, who are highly motivated, tend to do better with distance courses.

Common Characteristics of Distance Learners
Distance Learners tend to have the following characteristics. Take a few minutes and look them over.
1. Motivated/Works independently - Do you enjoy working on-line? Are you able to work on assignments without having someone around on a regular basis to encourage you?
2. Organized - Most Distance Education courses have many methods of providing instruction and lessons. Knowing where everything is located and how to find it is essential when submitting assignments (e.g., having a place for everything such as folders, binders, etc.)
3. Comfortable with Technology - You don't have to be a technology wizard to participate in an on-line course but more than likely you will use the computer (e.g., checking your e-mail regularly). In the event you aren't comfortable with performing basic computer operations, think about taking a basic computer course to increase your basic computer knowledge.
4. Time Management Skills - Since most Distance Learners have tons of other responsibilities, it's imperative that they are able to set aside a certain amount of time to study, read, do research etc., and not wait until the last minute to complete assignments. In other words, if you are a procrastinator, think long and hard before signing up for a Distance Education class.
5. Persistent - Has initiative, seeks additional information when needed.
6. Reliable - If applicable, returns materials in a timely manner and willing to maintain weekly contact with the instructor via e-mail, phone etc.

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