In the area of offering direct education online, Thomson Direct was an early pioneer. Founded by Thomas J. Foster in 1890-long before online education was possible-Thomson started by providing home learning programs for coal miners. By completing the lessons at home in their off-work hours, men could learn the engineering and management principles to advance in their careers. Many mining superintendents and foremen owed their positions to distance learning from Thomson. Since then, over 13 million students have used Thomson distance learning for career advancement.
Today, Thomson Direct has become PennFoster Career School, an international career education provider. PennFoster, Phoenix University and Kaplan University are three examples of schools that specialize in direct education online.
Many schools offer distance learning, direct education or online classes. For most colleges and universities, distance learning is an add-on to their traditional programs. Their primary mission evolves out of traditional brick-and-mortar education.
A few schools, however, exist to provide direct education to adults. They are unique because:
* They do not provide traditional classes. They only provide education through distance learning formats.
* They are designed to teach adults. Adult education is different than traditional education. Direct education online classes are formatted differently than traditional classes. Classes are taught the way adults learn best.
* They are career-oriented. These are not personal interest classes. These schools offer classes to help adults advance in their careers. Career-oriented classes could lead to a college degree, or they could be continuing education classes, professional certification classes or skill-building classes. Working adults sometimes need formal college education, and sometimes they need job-specific training.
When you’re looking for direct education online, Thomson and its descendents are good choices. One way to tell if you have found a good provider of adult education is to check to see if the school is accredited, and who provides the accreditation it. If the school offers high school classes, it should be accredited to provide high school classes. If it provides college classes, it should be accredited by a college accreditation organization. Other accreditations that a direct education online provider might have are accreditation as a distance learning provider or continuing education provider accreditation.