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When Choosing Online Courses, Be Aware of These 3 Limitations
Distance learning programs require commitments of time and, in most cases, money. However, they aren't the only things to take into account to ensure a successful outcome. There are your limitations, too. We all have them, and each person's is different.
Why be aware of your limitations? So you can think of ways round them, preferably in advance. Every problem may have a solution, but it helps to be aware of what problems may crop up, so you can plan.
Here are some examples of limitations that could cause problems once you've started those online classes:
1) Be aware of your personal ability limitations.
If you're a very slow reader, for example, a course heavy on literature may not be the best of ideas, unless you know you have the available time to plough through the books at our own pace. Of course, if there are no deadlines associated with the course, time won't be an issue. But if you have to submit weekly book reports, it might be worth having a practice run or two before signing up for the course.
A good practise run might consist of reading a book you are unfamiliar with but which is connected to the course you plan to study. Allow yourself five days to do so. Then write an essay on something general such as how it is relevant to your life, your community, twenty-first century sexual politics, might have had a different outcome had cellular phone technology been available, is still relevant today, anything. When you've finished, ask yourself if you feel you can keep up that level of effort and commitment over a long period of time.
2) Be aware of your personality limitations.
Do you often start things with a wave of enthusiasm, then give up after three weeks, bored? If so, what is it about this particular course that makes you certain deep down that you will go the distance this time?
If you can't answer that, it may be best to save yourself a whole heap of time, money and aggravation, not to mention the knock to your self-esteem.
Another personality trait to be aware of is procrastination: if you always find reasons not to do things you know you have to, you could end up feeling more guilty than educated. Or completely hassled as you do the work at the very last minute -- again.
Eventually, that hassled feeling might cause you to give up.
Do you have any strategies for dealing with these personality traits?
3) Be aware of your subject availability limitations.
(Or, in less diplomatic language, do you know enough willing guinea pigs to try out your new skills on?)
What type of course would you need to have subjects to practice on? Online courses in beauty, aromatherapy and chiropody readily spring to mind. You'll probably have no shortage of volunteers after you reach a certain level of competency, but initially you may need an indulgent significant other, available siblings or parents -- or be prepared to experiment on yourself.
With courses such as hypnosis, you might find it difficult to get any subjects at all. You may be able to get round this with a "volunteers wanted" ad, but be careful if you do. Only visit them in their homes, not yours, and try to take a companion along.
If you can't take a companion, always make sure that you've told someone where you're going, when to expect you back, and write the address down. When you do get back, let them know, so they don't worry.
Also, make sure you have any professional and public liability insurances you may need.
Obviously, this list is not exhaustive, and it's not intended to put you off the idea of getting an education.
Rather, it's intended to make you aware that online distance programs, despite their flexibility and convenience, can be influenced by factors we're so familiar with, we don't think of them as problems.
Forewarned is forarmed, as the saying goes. Having an answer ready to the question "how are you going to deal with this?" will greatly increase your chances of success in your online classes.
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