Author and futurist Alvin Toffler (Future Shock) made a prediction over 30 years ago that has come true. He stated that one will not need to leave home to do their shopping, banking or even acquiring a college education.

Toffler was partially correct though, because pda’s, laptops and even cell phones make even these activities portable. Distance learning classes are a standard for many universities. College degrees can be obtained via the Internet. Plus, tutorials on just about any subject can be found easily through search engines.

National Center for Education Statistics data reveals that three years ago, more than 1.6 million online students enrolled in e-learning courses, and those numbers are steadily increasing. How do you find a program or class that is right for you (or someone you know)? E-learning can cost zero dollars or it can cost as much or more as a traditional bricks-and-mortar college. Read on.

Free education . Yes, I’m starting with a freebie, but don’t turn up your nose. This website requires no books and no hidden fees and has a menu of studies that range from health care, food service, building construction, electronics, and even art school. I checked out the art school curriculum and lessons and I was impressed. Not all the departments are of the same high caliber, but the site is worth checking into if you are thinking of pursuing a Vo-Tech curriculum. You could also use this website as a supplement to your traditional classroom studies.

Before you plunk down your hard-earned money for online courses, check to see if e-learning is the right move for you. Also, you will want to check each online school’s accreditation status if your goal is to obtain a degree or certificate. This next site will help you with those tasks.

Peterson’s Distance Learning . First, use the free assessment tool (6 questions) to find out if online learning is your best fit. Then use the other links on this website to locate courses of study and degree levels from a large number of educational institutions. The site has useful articles to read, too. For example, one is a study tips guide for online students; another lets you rate yourself for discipline and motivation.

Online-Education.net . The many listings of e-learning programs have been screened to ensure that the schools meet the standards of quality equal to an accredited state school. Their catalog lists 550 online courses, including some free classes. But, I could not find the free classes during my search through the site.

Worldwide Learn . This website calls itself “the world’s largest directory of online learning.” And having looked around on it, I would agree that it offers a huge listing of descriptive links to programs. You will find lists of online degree programs, online courses only, computer training, career programs, certificate programs, personal development programs, and continuing educations programs. The listings include fee-based and free offerings. There are an amazing array of free classes that caught my eye—for writers, webmasters, and many, many more categories. This is a good resource site to bookmark for now or for the future.

University of Phoenix . This private institution was one of the first offering such a program by Internet only, and that is why it is mentioned here. Earn a Bachelor’s, Masters or Doctorate in Business Administration, Education, Nursing, or Technology from your computer, or at one of its campuses scattered throughout the U.S. Imagine attending a class when it best fits your schedule, even if that happens to be 2:00 a.m. Communicate with your instructors and fellow students via email or online chat. Study and learn without ever getting out of your pajamas. Just think, you can have a bad hair day and still “attend” classes. What more could you ask for?


~ by IndianaDunesPoet on April 4, 2005.

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