What Are the Different Types of Home Education for Adults?

With the increase in distance education offerings, there are now more opportunities for adults to study from home. Home education programs are offered via the Internet and may be self-paced or follow a semester schedule. Below are descriptions of the two basic types of home education programs for adults.

Home Education Overview

Distance learning programs are becoming increasingly popular, as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that over 4.6 million undergraduate students took at least one distance course in 2013 (www.nces.ed.gov). Distance learning programs are conducted in an online setting. Course content, including lectures, discussion forums, and study materials, are posted on a program's web site, where students then access it and begin their studies. Some programs are entirely self-paced, allowing working professionals to fit coursework into their busy schedules. Other programs require a schedule, providing helpful discipline and focus to students who need motivation.

Important Facts About Home Education for Adults

Technical Requirements Internet access, up-to-date operating system and internet browser, sound card, adequate memory space
Online Availability Programs are available fully online, and adults may also pursue hybrid courses, which blend online learning with on-campus sessions to reinforce ideas
Degree Fields of Study Programs are available in just about every field, including but not limited to: business administration, mechanical engineering, biology, and English
Degree Levels Certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctoral

Program Types

Self-paced Programs

Self-paced programs allow for maximum flexibility. The student can decide when and how often to study. Full-time workers may choose to study only on weekends, while others may study every day and complete the program in a much shorter period. Some programs, although self-paced, do require that the program be completed within a reasonable timeframe. Program materials are often distributed via the Internet. Students watch lecture videos or read text online. Self-paced programs may include activities, quizzes or tests that can be completed and submitted to the course instructor. Limited interaction with students who are working on the same topics at the same time is a disadvantage of these programs.

Scheduled Programs

Scheduled programs follow a predetermined course outline. Students may be required to log in at specific times to watch live streaming video of lectures or presentations. Sometimes, they might just be required to follow the schedule for completing assignments. These home education programs let adults interact with fellow students via email, chat rooms, discussion boards or instant messaging. The advantage of scheduled programs is that they provide more motivation and scheduled progress.

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