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  • Online Learning is On the Rise - The Benefits Prove It's Here to Stay


    Whether you’ve tried it out or have never heard of it, one thing’s certain: online learning is here to stay. Online learning or E-learning is the use of electronic media and info/communication technology in education. Traditionally this has been used in companies and business to train their employees and has been ongoing for the past decade. In 2011, 77% of American corporations were using online/E-learning technology to train their employees. In 1995, this number was only 4%. It’s not surprising that more and more companies are utilizing online learning when a study by IBM shows that every $1 spent in e-learning has the potential to return $30 in increased profitability by increasing their productivity by 50% with a newly skilled and more agile workforce. E-learning cuts traditional training costs by 50% and instruction time by 60%, making online learning a valuable resource. However, this asset isn’t limited to businesses. More and more students and adult learners are seeing the value in taking online college courses through e-learning.

    In 2012 there were 4.6 million college students taking at least one of their classes online. Throughout 2014, this number is expected to increase to 18.6 million. By 2019, it’s estimated that half of all classes will be online. The reasons for the dramatic increase become apparent when we look at the major benefits. These include increased efficiency, lower cost, and increased knowledge.

    • Efficiency – Online learning classes are completed 25-60% faster than classroom training on the same subjects.
    • Savings – It’s estimated that 85% of every dollar spent on classroom learning is spent on the delivery of it (instructors, physical classrooms, materials). By connecting learners with material through virtual environments and digital approaches, these convert to large savings for students, often hundreds or thousands of dollars less for the same courses in a traditional environment.
    • Increased Knowledge – e-learning and online approaches to classes have proven to increase knowledge retention by 25-60%.  By presenting information via visual and verbal channels, removing non-essential distractive content, and giving the learner control of the pace and amount of information they learn at one time, online learning has proven to reduce the cognitive load in e-learning. This allows the learner to retain more information.

    One of the more surprising statistics is the demographic of the average online learner. These are adult students with an average age of 34 years old, with 82% being undergraduates. 81% of learners are currently employed. It’s easy to understand why this group is perfect for online classes. These are busy working adults that are trying to balance their education with their career, family, and life responsibilities and online learning provides the flexibility they need. To further save on time and money spent on education expenses, adult learners can take utilize testing out of college courses with credit-by-exam programs. The basis of credit-by-examination is the idea of awarding transferable college credit by examination. Students demonstrate an understanding of a subject matter by passing one standardized exam per subject and receive the full accredited credit for that exam. Over 3,800 colleges and universities across the country accept transfer credit from these exams, providing distance learners and even more flexible route to their degree and education goals.

    One of the leaders of college-by-exam is DSST (formerly DANTES Subject Standardized Tests). DSST offers an extensive series of 38 exams in college subject areas that are similar to the final exam given in undergraduate courses. These exams are frequently used in conjunction with CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests by students pursuing college degrees in non-traditional formats. Whereas CLEP tests are almost exclusively used for lower level credit at regionally accredited institutions, DSST's are available for both upper and lower level credit. These subject areas include Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences and Humanities.

    There are numerous ways to prepare for these exams and begin testing out. Of course, the best way to prepare for DSST exams is with study and prep material from DSST. The DSST Official Test Preparation Guide was created for students to include the Top 10 Subject Titles that students are most interested in testing out of. The Official Test Preparation Guide includes sample test questions, study resources, exam content outlines, and reviews of the subjects. These top 10 subjects include:

      Introduction to World Religions

      Here’s to Your Health

      Principles of Statistics

      Criminal Justice

      Personal Finance

      Management Information Systems

      Ethics in America

      Principles of Supervision

      Introduction to Business

      Principles of Finance

    To learn more about DSST and the Official Test Preparation Guide, visit www.collegetestprepguide.com.




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  • It's Graduation Time, Will Yours Be Next?



    It’s graduation season, when many proud graduates put on their cap and gown, walk across the stage for their diploma, flip their tassel, and toss their cap into the air in celebration of the accomplishments and an end to their days spent in school. For some, this graduation ceremony has only been experienced from the outside.  These could be parents in the crowd who sacrificed their own education and graduation in order to raise their kids and put their children’s needs before their own. These could be individuals who had to drop out due to financial or schedule/time reasons and weren’t able to finish their degree.  In today’s connected world, we have excellent technological tools to help us achieve our goals. If your goal is to finish your degree and view graduation from the stage instead of the audience while saving time and money, online classes might be what you’re looking for.

    Adult learners face obstacles to their education that are different than other learners. These are the biggest reasons adults list for not being able to go back to college. It could be a busy work schedule that doesn’t leave time for classes, a classroom and commute time that are too long or inconvenient for busy adults, or childcare responsibilities that conflict with traditional college classroom schedules. Perhaps it’s a financial obstacle, where the cost of tuition, commuting, textbook, college fees, and other expenses just don’t fit into your budget, especially for single parents with only one income. iStudySmart.com’s approach to education was specifically designed with adult learners in mind. Our courses were made for your busy schedule. You study when you want, on your own time, wherever you want, whenever you have free time whether it’s 30 minutes in the morning before heading to work, 15 minutes on your lunch break, or an hour before bed after tucking in the kids. You make your own schedule and study at a time that’s convenient for you. Then, when you’re ready to test, you schedule your exam when you feel prepared. Pass this one exam and you’ll earn 3-6 credits that transfer to over 3,800 universities nationwide. With iStudySmart.com you build your own class schedule and study times around your own busy schedule so you can take a lot of courses or a little, you’re in control. iStudySmart.com has over 60 courses within five major categories: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Business and Nursing that are all self-paced with no time limits. To browse our courses, learn more, and get started today, visit iStudySmart.com. Throughout June, courses are discounted to $149, see our site to learn more!

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  • The Nation's Only Online Non-Profit University - Get to Know WGU

    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. For many of the 37 million Americans who have some college education but no degree, life simply got in the way of their college pursuit.

    You can't afford not to finish a degree that will help you advance your career. If you do your homework and research your options, you'll find that there are affordable options. Many students are eligible for federal financial aid, and there are also other scholarship opportunities. When you do your research, keep in mind that higher cost does not necessarily mean higher quality. Factor in tuition, books, and fees before you make your decision. Another factor should be the length of time you expect to take to complete your degree -- the longer it takes, the more it is likely to cost. Research competency-based programs, which allow students to progress based on their mastery of knowledge, not how long they've put in "seat time."

    I can't get to class -- I work full-time, and I have family responsibilities. Take a look at the options for nontraditional students before you use this excuse. While you may not be able to get to a campus for courses, many online universities allow you to study on your schedule. The majority of our students work full-time and have family responsibilities. They study at night, in the morning, on weekends -- whenever they can fit it into their lives. Advancing your career and being a positive example for your family are powerful motivations for going to back to school; don't let them be excuses not to go back.

    I don't have time to go back to school -- there aren't enough hours in the day. Innovations in higher education, particularly online and competency-based education, have made college study more flexible and adaptable to the life of a busy adult. You just need to find the right program for you. You can fit your education into your schedule -- not the other way around. Before enrolling, explore what kind of support is available to help you maximize your time. Are there faculty members, mentors, advisors, learning communities, etc., to help and increase the likelihood of your success? Can you make the most of what you've already learned on the job with competency-based programs? Can you complete coursework and tests remotely or online?

    A degree won't be worth the time or the money. If you choose the right degree from an accredited, respected university, it will be well worth it. The unemployment rate of college graduates is half that of those with a high school diploma. When researching schools, make sure your degree program will be valued by employers. Ask for information about alumni placements, employer surveys, and graduate rankings on national test scores. Having a college degree can also boost your salary. And, if you choose an affordable option, your degree will pay for itself faster. For example, a recent study completed for us by Harris Interactive showed that WGU graduates pay for their degrees through increased earnings within two to three years of graduation. That makes going back to college a great investment.

    Circumstances rarely get better by chance; they get better by change, so don't let excuses hold you back.

    About WGU

    Western Governors University (WGU) is an accredited online university offering online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and the National Education Alliance works to assist learners in advancing their education.  Together, WGU and the National Education Alliance both partner with iStudySmart.com to offer students ways to save time and money while working toward their degree.  

    National Education Alliance Members receive the following benefits with Western Governors University

    • 5% tuition discount for the first year (two terms) of a student's degree program at Western Governors University
    • Eligibility to apply for the WGU-National Education Alliance Scholarship

    As the nation’s only online, competency-based, nonprofit university, WGU offers accredited degree programs designed to enhance job skills and improve career opportunities.  WGU has degree plans for teachers, business, IT and Health Professionals.

    To save time and money on your education with iStudySmart.com register your FREE National Education Alliance membership with coupon code iSSsave during your sign-up.


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