Let’s first start with classroom courses. Typically, a student will come to class 1-3 times per week and listen to an instructor give a lecture. Here, the students are able to answer questions, see their teammates, and usually meet after class if they have group work to complete. It is a very hands-on-experience. Most classes entail a lecture with PowerPoint slides followed by a question and answer session. Students enjoy learning this way because of the interaction with the professor and other students. Attendance is usually taken and counted for participation points. So if you do decide to attend a class on campus, make sure you can make all of the classes. Many schools offer night programs so someone working full-time can attend class after work.
One of the biggest motivators of higher education is earning more money. Typically students with the highest level of education earn the most money. They are usually in managerial or director type positions with employees reporting to them. In many programs you will learn about managing others, budgets, and communication skills to help you be successful. An advanced degree can help you get promoted to earn a higher salary or be recruited by another company with a pay raise.
Depending on where you are in your career and your education level you should know what kind of learner you are. Are you a visual learner? Do you need to read something three or four times before you comprehend it? Or, can you hear it once and retain the information? If you need to see something or even write it yourself, you need to allocate extra time if you are in an online class. The good thing is, most online classes consist of videos, articles, podcasts, and papers. So online learning may actually be easier than listening to a live lecture. You are able to rewind the videos and re-read the articles at your convenience. Don’t be scared to ask your professor for additional resources or time if you are struggling in a class. They are there to support your learning.
Another factor to consider is price and how you plan on financing your education. Are you going to put it on a credit card or use financial aid? Does your company offer any type of tuition reimbursement? These are all things to consider when choosing a program. Remember if you are considering financial aid, at the graduate level only student loans are available. So you will have to pay that money back plus interest. Also, if your company offers tuition assistance make sure to check their policy once you complete your degree. Many times they will require you to stay with the company for a certain amount of time (usually 1-2 years) or you will be required to pay your company back.