What kind of learner are you?
How to choose between classroom and online learning
Going to school is a fantastic investment, whether it’s to get a degree, prepare for a test, pick up a new job skill, or just try out a new hobby. But now there’s more than one way to learn: you can pack your bag and head to the classroom or make some coffee and fire up your computer at home. Many classes at CSU’s Department of Continuing Education are offered either online or in-person at our Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center. But which one is best for you?
Online Courses Are Great For Those Who…
Love Convenience. Many online classes begin whenever you sign up, and finish whenever you’ve completed the coursework. No need to wait for an instructor to be available to teach the class- it’s always open and ready. If something comes up at work, or you need to take a vacation, you can just put the class on hold for a while and come back to it later.
Need to work around busy schedules. You’re a supervisor at work, always first-in and last-out. You’ve got three kids at home and four meetings across the city. Online classes are a great choice for when you have to fit your education somewhere in the frenzy of other responsibilities you’ve got in your daily life. No need to change your hours or find daycare for the kids- you can do your classwork on your laptop or phone whenever you can pin down a quiet moment or two during the day.
Are self-disciplined. Online courses are great because you can work them around your schedule, but the caveat is that you have to be the one to do that scheduling. Without a set meeting time (and a professor reminding you about due dates for assignments), grades can start to slip through your fingers. If you’re disciplined and enjoy going at your own steady pace (not a teacher’s), then online classes are best for you.
Traditional Classrooms Are Great For Those Who…
Like to have a network of people to learn with. It’s often helpful to be with a group of people who are all trying to learn the same material that you are. People are social- they like to do things together, and that includes learning and studying. Being in a physical classroom allows you to work with your classmates to solve problems and wrestle with harder material, and in the process you’ll develop a much stronger foundation than if you’d just sat down and memorized information. And who knows, you might make some new friends as a bonus.
Like getting immediate answers to questions. Online classes certainly have instructors who can respond to questions, but they can often only be reached through email, and your grip on the material may slacken by the time they get around to sending you a response. Being in a traditional classroom means that you can always raise your hand and ask a question from your teacher when you need help.
Prefer structure. Sometimes structure can be more helpful in learning than absolute freedom. Just like scheduling in a time for exercise every day makes you more likely to actually go out and do it, having a specific time every day for a class can help keep you focused and on track to get the grades and knowledge you want.
Each style of learning has its pros and cons. Find out which one will work best for you, and then take the next step by registering for a course or certificate program at csucontinuinged.com.
-Scott Berson, Student Assistant