It used to be that working people going back to school had only one choice: Night classes. Online classes have exploded and have become a permanent fixture of the educational landscape. Each of these learning environments has their pros and cons. Let’s drill down a bit and discuss night classes versus online classes to help you make the best decision for you.
A lot of people say that online classes are not good at working on their own. That may have been true when the first iteration of online classes hit the internet, but it is no longer a valid point. The typical online classes have a lot of deadlines that will help you keep on track, even if you are a habitual procrastinator.
Obviously the main benefit of taking online classes is the flexibility. Online courses typically have more reading involved that lecture based courses so that means you’ll be hitting the books a little harder.
You should also be aware if your personality fits best with online or night classes. Some people prefer the online learning environment because they do not particularly enjoy the face to face engagement that takes place in the classroom. Conversely, people who are more extroverted get their energy from an interactive classroom environment. They would probably go nuts sitting behind a laptop reading a textbook.
Most night college classes are 2-3 times per week for 2-3 hours at a time. This is difficult for some working people who have children and do not want to be away from their family at night. Also, if you have a long commute to get to class you have to factor in the added time and costs such as gas and increased maintenance on your vehicle, and any child care expenses you may incur.
Some people make the argument that you do not learn as well in an online environment compared to the classroom. Online classes have been around long enough now for this question to be answered through academic studies. Many studies show that online students learn the material even better because of the focused manner in which the courses are taught. Also, online courses actually have more student engagement than many lecture based classes where you simply show up and listen to a professor talk for a few hours then leave.
It really comes down to personal preference when it comes to choosing between online or night classes. Just remember to take into consideration your learning preference, personality, and family dynamic when choosing. As far as learning, you can’t go wrong either way, so choose the option that works best for you and your family.