Career Development – Is Online Learning the Answer?

As you plan your career development you need to answer the question: Is Online Learning the Answer?

As the famous urban philosopher, Woody Allen once said, “90% of success is showing up.” Nothing is truer than in the field of learning. And the fastest growing learning vehicle is online learning. Online learning is a favorite option for working adults who are interested in planning and developing their careers.

Although online learning has proven it can help put you on the path to career success the question is: How do you access the online learning experience and achieve a successful outcome?

The method of delivery is the primary difference between online and traditional classroom learning. Potential formats with online learning covers a variety of delivery systems ranging from live traditional set period teacher led courses to work at your own pace software. The software can be in the form of CDs or Quicktime or Flash files or even down loadable PDF files.

What learning environment are you looking for and what best suits your available time and study habits? Do you want to have an interactive environment or do you do best studying privately? Or do you want a bit of both? Are you looking for a structured program, like a college course with exams and projects, or do you just want the learning from the course.

Usually after some investigation you’ll probably find several online courses that look like they cover the same subject. You’ll have to get as much information as you can about the course, the delivery system and the teacher before you take the next step.

If the course fits your career development plan, what technology is required? Will you need a broadband connection, additional software or instant messaging? Check out the school and instructor. Is the instructor an expert in the field and do they have the depth of experience to be someone you can really learn from? What is expected of the student? Will this fit into the time you have to devote to the learning?

Sometimes the school has a demo of the course you can study. Perhaps they have a miniature version of the course that you can try before you commit to the full package. How about if you are dissatisfied can you get your money back or use it as credit toward another course? Study the guarantee, is it really a “no risk” offer.

Before making any final decisions about which course format to choose, think about your situation: How much time can you allocate to studying? Can you find more time? Will you have time to do any assigned homework and/or readings?

How have you found how you learn best? Is it listening, by reading, by observing or by doing? Factor this into the course you choose. Rarely will you find a proposed course teaching method that exactly fits your learning style. Many times the information is presented in a variety of methods. Bottom line: pick the course that presents the information in the way in which you learn and respond to best.

Personal career development and growth with online learning means scheduling and managing your time effectively. The course may be structured in many creative ways but you need to participate on a regular basis. Set aside adequate and regular time for participating and studying the course material. Get rid of distractions.

Online learning is an excellent tool to help you in advancing you career and more importantly to develop your career according to a well thought plan. Online success means showing up for the results you’ll achieve. If you put in the effort and the participation you’ll get back many times the investment. As an added bonus, many courses have reading lists, or you’ll discover new important areas to explore. This is where the big payoff comes with your additional reading and studying. Overall this makes the online course even more valuable to your career development and planning.

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