What Organizations Are Authorities on Online Learning
In the past, going to a traditional school setting is the only known way to receive a diploma. Enrolling in a traditional school is deemed as the only ticket to achieve success in the future. But certain necessities in life have made people think of alternative ways to earn such. Living in highly urbanized places for example has made people think twice before sending their children to school because of congestion in classrooms. Urbanization has also driven others to live in rural areas where unfortunately there are no schools. For those entering the college level, the need to work while studying has also made people think of other options. The good thing is that as these necessities are developing, technology is also evolving. It made a lot of changes in the way things are handled or conducted. It has even rubbed off to education such that learning can now be done online.
Online learning is one of the solutions that people have found to answer their different needs. With online learning, there is no need to send a child in a highly crowded classroom or school. If there are no schools in the area, they can also opt to enroll in an online school. And if one is working, they can go to an online school which offers flexibility in terms of schedule and pacing. The popularity of online schooling has resulted to more online schools being put up. Online schools are sprouting everywhere like mushrooms. The problem with this is that there are schools that are not operating legally. So how do you know if an online school is legally operating? This is important because you need to know who you can run to for verification.
For a school to be said legally operating, it has to be accredited. An accredited school has passed a certain criteria that prove that it gives quality education to its students. The accreditation is given only by authorities on online learning.
The authorities giving accreditation in the United States are usually independent agencies. These independent agencies, before they can give accreditation must be approved by the National Education Association or the NEA and the US Department of Education. One reputable agency that gives accreditation to online schools is the Distance Learning and Education Council or DLEC.
Unfortunately, to avoid failure in the accreditation process conducted by these legitimate agencies, some online schools or group of schools create their own accreditation agencies. This way, they can give accreditation status to their online schools which they can use to lure students to enroll. These, of course, are considered false. This means that you really need to validate with the NEA or the US Department of Education before enrollment.
Authorities on online learning can give different types of accreditation. One of this is regional accreditation which is actually considered the best type of accreditation in the United States. This is what you should primarily look for when you are considering an online school to enroll in. Another type of accreditation is national accreditation. It is also a good to tool to use when considering an online school but it is not as highly regarded as regional accreditation. The last type is specialized accreditation. It is not an accreditation of the entire online school but revolves on a specific area or program offered. For example, a university with different program offerings can have accreditation in their communication program only.
Again, if you want to really separate the legal schools from the rest, make sure that you know what organizations are authorities on online learning and go to them for verification. It is important to know that a school's accreditation is given by a reputable agency and not just one of those that online schools themselves have created for their own gains.
Well Respected Organizations
- Distance and Education Training Council
- Education Coalition
- Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA).
- Instructional Telecommunications Council
- South African Institute for Distance Education
- United States Distance Learning Association
- Web-Based Training Information Center (WBT)
- World Association for Online Education