Online courses provide flexibility and many other benefits. But they are not for everyone.

Distance Learning Self-assessment

Take this simple self-assessment to see if your learning style and lifestyle are a good fit for distance learning.

(Adapted from Distance Learning Self Assessment by Chip Donohue, Ann Johnson, Pam Lucas, Chuck Lynd, Jhumur Mukerjee & Suzanne Thouvenelle, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families; the Kansas State University Division of Continuing Education web site; and Teaching Young Children (

Yes No Time management
I am self-directed, self-motivated, and able to work independently.
I have good time-management skills that will help me balance coursework with my personal and professional life.
I can devote 12 to 15 hours per week to a three-hour course.
I have an environment where I can study with minimum disruptions.
My family and friends will support my need to spend time on coursework.
Yes No Learning style
I learn well through reading and visual materials (pictures, charts, and graphs).
I can understand written directions and assignments.
I can effectively communicate my ideas in writing.
I learn well by sharing my knowledge, thoughts and experiences with others.
I am comfortable expressing myself using phone, e-mail, and chat rooms, without face-to-face meetings with the instructor and other students.
Yes No Technology comfort level
I look forward to learning new technologies and computer skills.
I have regular access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection.
My typing skills are adequate to work online.
I am comfortable with computers, printers, and software and confident asking technicians for assistance when needed.
I can download files or software from the Internet and install software on my computer on my own or with assistance.
I know how to send and receive e-mail with attachments.
I can download files to my hard drive and upload them to the web.
I can use the internet to find information and resources.

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you are a good candidate for success in distance education programs.

If you answered “no” to many questions, online learning may not be your best option. You may want to consider possible adjustments in your life or brushing up on your academic or technical skills before enrolling. For more information on distance learning readiness, view our more detailed list of recommended computing skills, as well as our online learning study tips [PDF, 3pg].