In Fort Collins and Denver, you need to consider which training option – Self-paced or live classes – is right for you

Self-paced or live classesFor many years, self-paced, online classes have grown in popularity.  It’s a trend that makes sense for many.  The convenience and ability to start and stop your training adds new value to fit these online classes into a busy life.

However, there is strong data to show that most online, self-paced classes don’t end in success.

Self-paced or live classes – Studies

Take a look at some startling information from a 2013 study of online MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) by Agile Learning: “the ‘Circuits and Electronics’ MOOC from MIT last summer had over 150,000 registrants, but only 5% of them completed the course. The University of Michigan’s “Social Network Analysis” MOOC last fall enrolled over 60,000 students, only 2% of whom earned a certificate in the course.”

Self-paced or live classes The statistics for online, for-profit universities gets even worse.  According to, from a 2014 survey of online and for-profit colleges that enroll Wisconsin students, “online, out-of-state schools reported the highest dropout rates: Of the 20 schools that lost more than 40 percent of their students in the first year, 16 were for-profit online schools based out of state.”

Anyone interested in getting started with online education, and reading this article, should be alarmed.  There is a considerable amount of money and time invested by individuals to improve their skills or get a degree.  To have so many people not even finish the first year should be a telling sign that something with these programs.

Self-paced or Live classes – What is Missing?…The Human Element

Self-paced or live classes In a traditional classroom, there is accountability.  A student has to show up at a certain date and time. A live teacher makes sure the class is staying on track, understanding the concepts taught, and challenges students with critical thinking.

In a self-paced class, a student is on their own to complete the work.  Again, for some people, this method is effective.  But for many adults, the lack of accountability and the human element is a major issue.

Another comment often made about self-paced or live classes is that many adults are visual learners.  In other words, if you are shown how to do something in a live classroom first, then you are much more apt to remember and apply to your own work.  It certainly depends on the person.

This is clearly evident in software classes like Adobe Photoshop, where the interface is complex and confusing.  Having someone show you how to get started and which buttons to click (and why!), is a clear advantage versus trial and error to figure it out on your own.

Most important, what is missing from self-paced, online classes is the “human element”.  Along the same lines as working with visual learners, many adults connect and respond to their instructors.  It is not so easy to do so with a computer screen.

Self-paced or Live classesA clear example is when you are working on a project and you get stuck.  In a self-paced class, there is no direct feedback.  Maybe you have a chat or comment board to get eventual help.  Maybe there is an email address of a mentor/instructor to get eventual help.  This time lapse leads to frustration and, eventually, apathy towards completing the assignment at hand.

However, in a live class, the feedback is in real-time and an instructor answers your questions immediately.  In some cases, the class can work together to continue the assignment and the common bond formed by knowing your fellow classmates are struggling is an uplifting, motivating factor for you to finish as well.  You and your classmates push each other on to the finish line.


As more online classes are offered, you need to consider what is the right training environment for you.  Just because a class is convenient, less expensive, or self-paced, does not mean that you will get the education you need.

Think clearly on your personality and learning style.  Are you a visual learner?  Do you comprehend better when someone shows you once and you can repeat?  

Understand that there are many different options for learning in your community for a reason.  Everyone learns differently.

If you have any questions about a class, make sure you speak to an education specialist first and set yourself up for success.  Enjoy your class, dig your work, and reach new heights with the skills you learn!

If you are interested in learning more about live classes at Digital Workshop Center in Fort Collins or Denver, fill out the following form or call or office 970-980-8091.