Pen to Paper or Fingertips to Keyboard: Should you learn actually or virtually?

Investing in your future

Employers today place greater value on a college education than ever before. Earning a bachelor's, master's or higher degree from a respected, accredited or state licensed* university gives a boost to the career of any working professional. The economy has slowed, however, and the in-demand skills change with the times. The boom areas of the moment are in technical subjects such as Information Technology, Web Development and Information Systems, in addition to less technical areas such as business management, health services and education. Even if you already have a formal qualification, you might need to consider retraining in these areas to be competitive in the future.

The subjects offered by schools that design their courses specifically for career-minded adults are those with the most practical workplace applicability. Program content is forward thinking and relevant. The Master’s in Education at AIU Online, for example, provides students with the technological understanding they need to succeed in a field in which computers and distance learning are increasingly predominant. Similarly, the range of business management degrees offered by AIU Online and DeVry University, includes Healthcare and Technology Management - reflecting the growth areas of the employment market.

Learning on your own terms

Once you’ve decided which subject to pursue, the next decision is the manner in which to study - on campus, online or a combination of the two.

For most people wishing to develop their knowledge and skills, taking time out to pursue fulltime further education is not a viable option. Working adults rarely have the liberty to give up a wage and few would want to surrender the position they have already attained within their organization. Adult education programs at schools such as University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, DeVry University, and American Sentinel University are designed with the needs of busy professionals in mind. The degree programs they offer are designed specifically for adult learners. They are flexible and highly relevant to the work environment of the learner - programs are created in co-operation with business and industry to ensure that they are up-to-date, providing students with the skills and expertise that are in demand.

Many employees will offer flexible working hours and subsidize tuition costs for approved learning institutions, whether on campus or through online university programs. Warren National University, for instance, provides credit for work and education experience, and over 50% of Warren National University's students have received partial or full tuition reimbursement from their employers.

On Campus

For some students, the interaction of the classroom is their preferred way to learn. The stimulation of group discussion and the sociability of meeting like-minded people provide the motivation they need. Campus based learning also provides a structure and a space in which the demands of family and friends can’t intrude. The on-campus programs of schools such as University of Phoenix and DeVry University recognize that adults have other commitments so allow students to attend classes in the evenings and at weekends - whenever suits them. If there is a campus close to your home or workplace, it can be a convenient way to study. University of Phoenix and DeVry University have campuses across North America so the likelihood is there is one convenient to you.


Online education programs provide greater flexibility and ease of access without any compromise of quality or choice of subjects. It is possible to complete 100% of the curriculum via the Internet, including administration and book buying. AIU Online, for instance, not only offers programs that specialize in IT, but also offers a ground breaking virtual campus compete with full academic library. At University of Phoenix students can take advantage of the FlexNet system that allows for a combination of online and on-campus learning.

Internet use and access is increasing rapidly in the US, especially among those sections of the community that have traditionally faced barriers to accessing education. Family commitments don’t need to be a barrier to career or personal development - Internet use is growing fastest among single mothers. Work commitments such as travel or irregular hours are no longer a stumbling point. The flexibility of online college degree programs means that you can complete your study wherever you can gain Internet access.

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