With all of the options available for online education, it should be no surprise to see driver education courses go digital?
Why Go Online?
In many areas, drivers' education is no longer part of the daily high school curriculum. Students must take district-sponsored classes after school or during the summer, or find a private driving school to attend at their own expense. Even if drivers' education is offered during the day, it can be difficult to fit in with graduation requirements and the academic classes colleges want to see on a transcript. With online options, teens can be on the way to driving freedom without missing out on a summer job or Spanish class.
While much of the promotional material on the websites seems aimed at teenagers, new drivers of all ages can take advantage of online driving courses. Some older students may feel self-conscious about learning to drive with a group of 15-year-olds, and online learning provides the perfect solution. Older first-time drivers may also find it more convenient to balance an online class with their work and family commitments.
Online driving courses cater mainly to those who are studying for their first license, but they can also provide a quick and easy review for current drivers concerned about renewing their licenses or who need to take a driving course to clear up a traffic ticket.
Advantages of Online Driver Education
- Students can take the course whenever it's most convenient, and work around their busy schedules.
- Students can learn at their own pace.
- It's usually a less expensive option because the online companies don't have to pay site rental fees and other overhead costs.
- Parents can take charge of their child's driving experience.
- New drivers can learn at home, away from the social distractions of school.
- Drivers' education classes are typically very focused on reading, worksheets and quizzes, which is an easy experience to replicate at home.
Disadvantages of Online Driver Education
- Students may rush through the material rather than taking the time to make sure they really understand it.
- The computer is a haven of distractions. When a new driver sits down to their course, will IMs and MySpace take precedence over learning?
- Online courses can only offer written instruction, not hands-on driving time.
- Students may lack the ability to have questions answered immediately and to get prompt feedback.
- The responsibility is on the students to make sure they are signing up for courses recognized by their home state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Completing the courses may be frustrating for students with older computers or slower Internet connections.
- Anyone can set up a website and claim to offer online driver education courses, so it's important to check out the provider's credentials, look for Better Business Bureau complaints, and ask for references if you're still concerned. This isn't a cautionary note unique to online schools, though. You should exercise the same diligence before enrolling in any private driving school.
Finding an Online Driving School
There are many online driving school options available. The schools listed here are national, but there are also some state specific school options out there. Before signing up for any course, be sure to check with your DMV to see if the school is recognized in your state. Here are some popular programs:
- Traffic School Online - Traffic School Online offers programs for licensed drivers who are trying to have a ticket dismissed or clean up points on their records. They also run a program called Driver's Ed Online that is geared towards teens and new drivers.
- National Driver Safety Service - This online driving school is approved in all 50 states. They offer courses for new drivers as well as defensive driving classes experienced drivers can take to clear up points or maybe even to receive a reduction in insurance costs.
- I Drive Safely - I Drive Safely is nationally recognized driving school with both new driver and driver improvement classes. They have a separate program created specifically for teens.
- Teen Driving Course - Teen Driving Course is only open to new drivers under the age of 18. They have state specific programs designed to help teens meet the requirements for earning a learner's permit.
- Traffic School - Traffic School offers new driver and driver improvement classes in a number of different languages and formats, including online, streaming video and eWorkbook.
Is Online Driving School Right for You?
Online driving programs are a convenient and cost effective way to for teens to study up for their permit tests and for experienced drivers to satisfy court traffic school requirements. New drivers should remember that they will still need some behind the wheel practice, but online learning can be the perfect solution when there is no driving curriculum at school. Learn at your own pace in an online traffic school, and you'll be behind the wheel in no time.