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By: Ronda PaynePublished On: March 12, 2020
Education is a key element of moving into a new career or progressing in your existing career, but it can be difficult to find the resources (time, money, childcare, etc.) in order to allow you to pursue the education that will help you advance. Fortunately, online education has arrived and is here to stay. This is of great benefit for those who want to take an education assistant program online.
Those who have not taken online courses will wonder how this type of learning will work and whether it will be right for them. Most individuals are more accustomed to classroom learning due to their elementary and secondary school education (unless they were fortunate enough to have a progressive education option that included online learning). Rest assured that the same quality instructors are employed for the majority of education assistant programs online as in-person classes. It’s important to do research and ask questions about the school you are considering, of course, because not all educational institutions have the same level of professional standards.
Taking an education assistant course online should include the same curriculum and educational components as an in-person course. Therefore, you’ll want to be sure that regardless of how you choose to learn, you’ll be exposed to these concepts: learning about and gaining an understanding of specific disabilities and how to find support strategies for those with certain disabilities; applying learning to case-analysis, presentations and classroom settings when it comes to certain disabilities; and exploring the relationships within yourself and with others when it comes to supporting individuals with disabilities.
The education on these points should come from a variety of courses included in the educational assistant program online and these should mirror an in-person course if one is offered by the school you are considering. Courses will include study of disabilities; more in-depth knowledge about specific common disabilities such as autism, dyslexia and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; human development; psychology; approaches to students with challenging behaviours and specific approaches to certain disabilities; the technology used with individuals with disabilities; building supportive skills; and ideally a practicum to apply that knowledge in a hands-on method.
Obviously a practicum won’t be conducted online, but even in an educational assistant course online, there should be assistance in setting up a practicum that works for your schedule, in a reasonably local range and in the sub-field you wish to pursue within the education assistant field.
In order to be able to take an educational assistant course online, you will need the tools that make online learning possible. Lectures are often taught “live” through webinars although some may also be provided as recordings after the session. The benefit of live sessions is that students are able to ask questions and interact in the classroom setting from the comfort of their own computer and receive a response from the instructor in real-time.
A virtual classroom is set up as part of the course which allows students to have a live stream of announcements and updates, while also providing the opportunity to interact when in lectures or other webinar-style sessions. Materials are also available through these virtual classrooms and students are able to submit their assignments through the same channel, which is also how instructors will provide grades, updates and feedback.
Also, be sure that the educational institution you are considering has a technical support team in order to assist you if you have any challenges in making the technology work.
There are a great number of reasons why taking an education assistant program online may be right for you. As mentioned in the opening of this blog post, knowing an education can be beneficial to your future doesn’t always line up with the resources you have available. Online learning helps to reduce the strain of some of these items.
While classes often cost the same for in-person as online, you’ll save money because you won’t be commuting to campus or paying for parking. You’ll also be able to eat from home instead of having to grab a bite on the run on the way to classes. Additionally, there are often cost-savings in that many online courses don’t require a textbook(s) purchase as their information and content are available online through the classroom portal tool.
Flexibility is often the main reason why people choose online learning. Those who work a full-time job can find it hard (impossible) to attend regular classes and if you need to add childcare and other commitments into the mix, education often doesn’t happen. With online learning, there will be an expectation of the number of hours that are required in terms of attendance, but many online tools allow for flexibility in when you put in those hours. Thus, you can attend a lecture on Sunday afternoon or watch a lab session after you’ve put the little ones to bed.
Your location isn’t an issue because online learning has no physical location requirement. Only your computer’s abilities to connect matter.
There are some individuals that may not find online learning to be the best educational opportunity. It may not be a good fit if you aren’t comfortable with computers or don’t like interacting with others through a computer or other device. If you lack the ability to motivate yourself to attend online sessions, watch them later or do course work on your own, you may need a more conventional in-person classroom approach. You may also find that if you learn better by being around others, online learning may not be the best fit.
Taking an education assistant course online is a great way to obtain the education and skills needed to enter a career and become an education assistant. Online learning can provide the ease and flexibility you need in order to pursue your educational goals.