PHP Training: Online vs. Classroom

January 29th, 2012 Leave a comment
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PHP Training Online vs. Classroom

If you are looking to learn how to write Web applications in PHP, you may be considering online or traditional teacher-lead classrooms to help you. There can be many factors in the decision to learn PHP online or to take a class in-person, and for some, this can be a difficult decision to make. This article discusses the pros and cons of each method of PHP training to help you find the learning method that is going to suit your needs best. PHP isn’t a new programming language, and there is a wealth of information on it on the web for every level of proficiency. The question is whether these resources alone are sufficient to get you up-and-running with PHP quickly.

Online Learning

Learning PHP online with a live instructor can be a great way to get started with PHP, especially if you’ve tried and did not succeed with self-driven methods such as books and online tutorials.

Advantages

  1. 1. Online learning can work around your job schedule so you can continue to learn a new skill while still working full time. Most online PHP training classes allow a large amount of schedule flexibility, so you can log in to watch lessons and review the materials when it is convenient for you.
  2. 2. Online PHP training classes tend to update more frequently, so when there are changes in the technology the online class may be the first to teach it.
  3. 3. Taking a training class online can save you money that would have otherwise been spent in travel, accommodations, parking or meals while attending a traditional classroom course.
  4. 4. Online classes can take place no matter where you are geographically so you can take your PHP training course if there are no near-by training classes or if you travel a lot for work.
  5. 5. Since students are not limited geographically, neither are instructors and you will often find that online training instructors are experts in their field that are more easily recruited since they do not have to travel to teach.

Disadvantages

  1. 1. Many students do not have the organizational skills necessary to take an online training course. You must be able to plan and schedule the time to watch or read lessons as well as perform the assignments or lab work for the course. If you need a firm time and a teacher for motivation, online learning may not be right for you.
  2. 2. Fluency in computers and the Internet is required for an online PHP training course. If you are not already familiar with your Operating System or basic Internet principals you may find yourself falling behind, having issues viewing the course materials or participating in the course.
  3. 3. You may find PHP training too difficult to be taught in an online environment. If you find yourself struggling with the concepts of the course and need individual instruction a traditional class is going to be able to serve you better.
  4. 4. Active learning is required in online PHP courses. You may be required to participate in discussion boards, chats or group projects. This can be too difficult for new online learners or students that wish to have a more one-on-one experience.
  5. 5. Since your instructor may only work when teaching the course or during set “office hours” you may not be able to reach them conveniently if you are having trouble or have questions with the course materials. Check to make sure the instructor’s availability works with yours.

Traditional Classroom

Conversely, there can be many advantages and disadvantages to traditional classroom learning when taking a PHP training course.

Advantages

  1. 1. Having a set meeting time can be a motivating factor to attend the class session and get the most out of your PHP training session. This structure can be helpful for people with busy schedules.
  2. 2. Meeting new students in your training course can allow a better exchange of ideas than in the online setting and also allows you to work your networking skills while meeting new people in your field.
  3. 3. Face-to-face interaction with your instructor may help you understand some of the concepts of PHP since you can ask questions and get an immediate response. You also have the bonus of getting one-on-one help or instruction from the course instructor if necessary.
  4. 4. There are fewer technology hurdles in a traditional classroom and if you need help the instructor is available to provide assistance. Students that have low technology skills are usually better off in a traditional classroom when learning PHP so as not to get confused by the technology that is needed to learn.
  5. 5. In-person learning tends to be more focused than online learning, especially when learning new technology like PHP, since these courses are designed to be completed in a shorter amount of time than online courses. This can mean that you are able the learn the new skill in a shorter amount of time.

Disadvantages

  1. 1. Traditional training classes require an in-person commitment that may not be possible around your work or family schedule. Since seated PHP training classes are usually condensed, missing these sessions is usually not an option.
  2. 2. If the in-person training class requires you to travel to attend, make you sure factor in the associated costs of driving/flying, accommodations, meals etc… when examining the cost of the PHP training course.
  3. 3. PHP training classes that are taught in a traditional environment may have a large amount of students that could limit the amount of interaction you have with the instructor. The instructor could be too overwhelmed to provide individual attention to help when needed.
  4. 4. In-person PHP training classes may not focus on more higher-level learning such as problem solving or deeper levels of understanding. The instructor may only have “follow the leader” lessons in which you only learn what the instructor dispenses.
  5. 5. Due to the geographic factors, finding competent and qualified instructors to teach the PHP course may be a problem. You may want to check the qualifications of the instructor before signing up for the class.

Hopefully, by reviewing the pros and cons of each learning method you are now better prepared to choose which one is best for you. Remember that only by honestly examining your strengths and weaknesses as a student, as well as the outside factors such as your work schedule or family commitments, will you be able to make the best decision. Being over-extended as a student will not help you learn! However you choose to take your PHP training course, I am sure you will be able to find a one that will suit your needs so you can begin writing Web applications using this great technology.

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