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07 Nov 10 Online Education – Is It Worth The Money?

In not so old days, a person needs to enroll him in a classroom should he want to educate himself. Then came postal education services, which enabled people to enrich them without having to join a classroom. This whole idea of distance learning was taken to a new level by the coming of the Internet, and more so, by the coming of broadband (high-speed Internet).

Now all kinds of materials are available — from text to audio to video to interactive and non-interactive presentations to podcasts to workbooks to checklists to cheat sheets, etc. But a fundamental question needs to be answered before you go on with an online education program. Is it worth it?

Is it worth it?

It is worth the money invested, but if you are looking for real-world classroom interaction than you will be a bit disappointed because the nature of interaction here, at best, is virtual. You may exchange text messages, talk on microphones, or see each other on web cams, but you cannot nudge the fellow student or tap on his or her back. This experience you will miss.

Real world or recorded?

It does not matter as long as the content is structured. But my personal favorite is recorded session replayed in presence of the one who has recorded it, so that students can stop him and ask him questions to clear their doubts.

Forum participation

A course that does not invite forum participation is not worth going for because learning is always limited if there is no peer-to-peer interaction among people taking the course.

Study material

Every course comes with a guide book, and so does courses offered on the Internet. Make sure the study material is comprehensive enough, and you must read it to take full advantage of the course.

These are some of the prerequisite of an online course, if a course meets these criteria, then it is worth the money and effort.

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