What Approach To Learning Works Best Today & Will It Work As Well Tomorrow?
Since MDS CPA Review’s inception, we’ve encountered a constant discourse over the benefits and perils of both virtual and in-person learning. The Covid pandemic shifted that conversation greatly – those who were staunch supporters of live classes were forced to experiment with the virtual classroom for a spell. The outcome? A seismically-changed learning landscape, one that will forever be at least somewhat rooted in virtual learning.
We’re looking at the pros and cons of each style of learning as it specifically pertains to CPA Exam preparation and how students can take advantage of both to enter the test with their greatest chances of success.
The Benefits Of Traditional Live Classes:
Local and live, our in-person courses have always been a hit among students – especially in the earlier days of MDS. The tangible environment allows for students to instantly collaborate with each other, but it also grants the teacher the ability to see confusion on their faces before reinforcing a specific lesson or idea.
We also found that the in-person atmosphere is more immersive and puts students in a less-distracted headspace. It becomes part of their study routine – and consistency is key when it comes to success on the exam!
The Negatives of Live Classes:
Flexibility. Classroom teaching can only be done when the teacher is present. What happens if a student isn’t in a great mental space to absorb new, pertinent information? And what happens if the student receives an important call or misses some sort of critical detail? There’s no pause button on real-time experiences. This can cause some students to miss out and feel as if they aren’t getting their money’s worth.
The Benefits of Virtual Courses & Online Learning:
Not all virtual educational experiences are the same. A haphazard rushed attempt at a digital classroom – with no effort to tailor messaging to virtual students – will be no match for an in-person environment. But a well-prepared and close-to-perfected digital platform that is flexible enough to change with shifting student demands? This is where we see the strengths of virtual overtake the hard-copy classroom.
Online CPA Exam courses grant students the freedom to pause and play virtual lessons whenever they want, from wherever they are. They don’t have to wait for some of the slower learners to catch up, nor do they have to be left behind if a specific subject topic gives them some trouble. We, specifically, use footnotes within our lesson plans to highlight exact pages in the textbook so students can easily find related information, along with additional resources (like practice problems and video tutorials) that can help them master the material.
Another Core Advantage? One-On-One Tutoring.
MDS uniquely offers students the ability to talk directly with a subject matter expert should they get tripped up. A benefit of in-person is the chance to raise your hand; the benefit of virtual is to have a dedicated team member work with you to find a solution and ensure you fully understand the topic or question.
The Negatives of Online Learning:
The virtual approach requires an extra sense of self-discipline and motivation which isn’t a problem in the accounting sphere because most students have that conviction built in by virtue of choosing this difficult career path. If there’s anyone who possesses the ability to adapt, it’s an accounting student!
Another disadvantage comes in the way of social isolation and the inability to bounce ideas back and forth with other individuals in real-time.
Lastly, Internet connections aren’t always perfect! But with on-demand videos and resources, students can wait until connectivity improves without missing anything of substance.
How MDS CPA Review Addresses This Constantly Changing Dynamic
We have embraced the recent changes in learning methods and have used them to expand both our scope and field of service. To better serve the international community of CPA exam test candidates, we have increased our number of on-demand products (tutorial videos and guidance documents) and made our student-support services easily accessible online. We provide one-on-one tutoring (via online chat, email or scheduled live sessions), we can work with you to develop a study program customized to your schedule and learning style, and we can build personalized study materials that respond to your specific questions.
Moving forward, we will continue to put a strong emphasis on our virtual learning efforts – the same amount we have throughout the past 16 months. When classrooms can safely reopen, you’ll likely see us back up there but we’re in no rush to return at the moment. Our goal has always been to create a learning environment that is greatly beneficial to accounting students. Right now, students still demand a powerful digital experience – and they thrive under those conditions.
As long as our students are succeeding, we will continue forward.