Is Distance Education Right for Me?
Students should be familiar with all of the education options available to them when making the decision to become qualified in the field of early childhood education. Naturally, the quality of the education program is the most important factor.
Some questions to ask are:
- How long has the training institution been in business?
- What kinds of government reviews (e.g. the former Private Career Training Institutions Authority, or the current Ministry of Advanced Education) have been done, and what were the outcomes?
- Is the Program “accredited” (as Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute was in 1989), or “designated” (as Pacific Rim is now)?
Early childhood education (ECE) programs are available in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting as well as through distance programs where students receive course materials online and submit assignments and exams online. There are “pros” and “cons” to both systems of delivery. Distance learning is more flexible in that students can continue to work if they are employed and complete their assignments during off-work hours. Traditional classroom learning allows face-to-face contact with your Instructor and immediate feedback.
Distance education requires a student to be self-disciplined, to have a good knowledge of computer skills, and to have good English communication skills. It can be perceived that there is less one-on-one interaction with your instructor although, at Pacific Rim, we have a policy of responding to students within 48 hours. However, the average response time is between 12-24 hours.
Students will have a better chance of success in ECE programs if they have had some experience in the field. Many students are already employed or have been employed in child care centres. Pacific Rim encourages students who have not had experience in a day care centre to volunteer for a minimum of 100 hours prior to starting their course of study with our Institute.