Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quality Counts in Online Education

If you’ve wondered whether an online education will be viewed with the same level of respect as a traditional education once you get into the job market, you may be interested in the perspectives shared in a recent article in Globe Investor. Corporate executives and industry analysts seem to agree that if the education received is high quality, then it doesn’t matter if it came from a traditional brick-and-mortar institution or an online program. Richard Garrett, senior research analyst for Eduventures, said, “If you ask employers about their sense of the quality of online education—is it of equal quality to traditional?—the response you typically get is a growing adherence to it being of equal quality.”

In fact, some characteristics of online learners are particularly desirable to employers. According to George Lorenzo, publisher of Educational Pathways, hiring managers "have come to realize that the vast majority of online higher education graduates are adult lifelong learners who are self-disciplined, reliable and have a knack for applying practical, experience-based knowledge in the workplace." Likewise, Jack Welch—former CEO of General Electric—said, “To count out a candidate based on an online degree may be shortsighted. People working all day and studying online all night have the kind of grrrr most companies could use."

Naturally, the next question is whether a specific online education in question is “high quality,” and you will largely be the judge of that. Patrick Partridge, vice president of Western Governors University, said, “Students should be even more concerned about quality than employers. They need to realize that the skills and knowledge they learn are more important than the diploma itself if they are going to excel in their careers.”

  • When researching on online technology education program, consider the following questions:
  • What is the school’s accreditation?
  • How many technology courses are offered?
  • What is the curriculum used in technology courses, and does it offer hands-on learning?
  • Is training offered for industry certifications, and are students expected to certify?
  • How rigorous are the expectations both in coursework and in schedule?

If you’ve already received an online technology education, I’d like to hear your feedback about these questions. Also, were you satisfied with the quality of your online technology training? Leave a comment or email experience@testout.com.

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