Interview with Ryan Yamane of Global Learning Strategies
We recently caught up with Ryan Yamane of Global Learning Strategies, a leading provider of accelerated distance learning solutions for home school families.
A home school
student himself, Ryan has spent several years involved with home school and nontraditional education. He currently serves as a leader of Global Learning Strategies, seminar speaker, and educator.
ACU: Tell us a
little bit of the "inside story" of Global Learning Strategies. Who's involved and how did you get started?
Global Learning Strategies (GLS) was founded in 2000 by Brad Voeller. After completing his Bachelor's degree in 6 months and for less than $5000 from home, Brad decided to write the book, Accelerated Distance Learning where he explains how others can do the same. Shortly thereafter, GLS was formed as an avenue to spread the message of Accelerated Distance Learning. We now speak at numerous state homeschool conventions each year and offer such services as educational consulting and coaching.
In 2002, with the ministry expanding, I came on board to help manage the US operations so Brad could focus internationally. We now have offices in the US and South Korea.
ACU: What exactly does Global Learning Strategies do? How do you help home school families with college?
At GLS, our goal is to help parents and students make wise decisions about college. To accomplish this, we offer books, resources, and self-study courses on the topics of non-traditional college and accelerated learning skills. We also have a team of presenters that speak at state homeschool conventions as well as our own College-in-a-Box seminars across the country.
We are excited about our all-new CollegePlus! Coaching System that will be launched in January 2004. With CollegePlus! we will be able to assist parents and students on a very practical level as they earn their
degree from home. Each student will be assigned a coach who will take them through the whole process of college from home. With the coach there to guide them each step of the way, students will be able to focus their
full energy on their studies.
ACU: For home school families, college is starting to become a real issue. As more and more home schoolers begin to plan for college, what are the most important issues for them to
The first question should be, "Why am I going to college?" I always like to counsel students and parents to begin with the end in mind. In other words, what is their purpose for earning the degree? It is important to realize that college is not an end unto itself, but merely a means to a greater end. Once you have the end in mind, you can tackle questions like, "Do I need an accredited degree?", "What college will I attend?", and "What is my overall strategy for meeting my end goal?" Too many students never really ask these questions, but just kind of end up in college without a real purpose. A purposeless student away from home for the first time is not a recipe for success.
ACU: Can home school families really "do college" from home?
Yes! 15 years ago, "doing high school" from home seemed like an overwhelming task. Now that there have been thousands that have pioneered the way, it doesn't seem so difficult. We are dealing with the same thing now in "doing college" from home. It can be done, it HAS been done, its just a bit scary because it is a new concept to a lot of people. Now with Brad's book, Accelerated Distance Learning, students and parents have a roadmap to help show the way. We're not talking about a mail order degree here. This is a fully accredited degree from home!
Most homeschool families like the idea of doing college from home, but some just don't know where to begin. It is for these families that we have developed our new CollegePlus! Coaching System. With this new coaching
system, students are assigned a coach that assists them with everything from goal setting, choosing a college and finding study resources to academic tutoring, motivation, and finding high-quality internships. Because
this coaching can take place over the phone and through the internet, CollegePlus! students are still able to complete their studies from home.
Is a college education from home as good, academically, as an education on a college campus?
Actually, its better! Imagine with me for a moment that you are an employer and are hiring a new employee. You interview two applicants with the following credentials. Applicant A is 22 years old, has a bachelor's degree, but has just graduated from college and is rather wet behind the ears with no experience. Applicant B is also 22, has a bachelor's degree, but has 2 or 3 years of experience in the area in which you are hiring. All other things being equal, which applicant will you hire?
The obvious choice is applicant B. Why is that? Because we all know that only so much can be learned in a classroom. It is not until we have real-life experience that we truly learn and gain mastery of a subject.
It's the same way with sports, if you want to learn how to hit a baseball, you don't spend a lot of time reading about hitting a baseball, you go out and learn by doing!
With the right internship opportunities,
students can learn how to apply all that book knowledge to a real life situation, and that is where true learning takes place. Accelerated Distance Learning (ADL) students are able to get through the book work more
quickly and efficiently which allows them more time to spend truly learning their area of interest through real life experience.
As you visit with home school families, what are their major concerns as it relates to college?
Most home school families are concerned with 3 or 4 areas relating to college: Cost, time, environment, and quality of learning.
Referring to the last question, what advice to you normally give parents and students when they voice these concerns?
My advice is that these families strongly consider the option of ADL. The reason that I am so excited about ADL is because it addresses and answers every single one of the questions and concerns that we just discussed (cost, time, environment, and quality of learning). The cost of college is outrageous today. Most students have to borrow money for school which adds tremendous pressure after graduation as they move into marriage and starting a family. One of the biggest blessings for me personally is that ADL was so reasonably priced that I was able to pay cash for my college education. Now my bride and I can begin our marriage without that added pressure.
The time most students spend on a college campus today is amazing. It takes on average, 5 or 6 years for students to complete a 4 year degree! With ADL, most students are able to finish in 2 years with some finishing
in 1 year or less.
Families homeschool for various reasons. Some feel it is their responsibility and not the government's to educate their children, some feel they can do a better job educating their children, some
see it as a way to keep the family unit together. These are all very good reasons, and for most it is a combination of these and other reasons. A common thread in all of these is that homeschoolers want to control the
environment in which their children grow up.
Therefore, it is only natural and prudent for homeschool parents to be concerned with the environment in which their students will experience college. Others will argue
that parents need to "let go" and let their students be "missionaries" on campus. I think the question we need to ask is, "What is college? Is it a time to be salt and light in a dark world or is it a time for continued
training and preparation?" If it is the latter, we need to be very cautious who we are receiving our training from. Yes, there are a few 18 year olds that can go into an environment hostile to their faith, and come out
stronger for it, but this is the minority. I recently read a statistic that 75% of students from Christian homes deny their faith before finishing college. This is a devastating statistic and one huge reason to complete
college from home where continued maturing and spiritual growth can take place along with academic learning.
You may wonder how I can claim that an ADL student will have an education of higher quality than a student
that has spent years under the tutelage of trained professors. The answer is Real Life Learning! Academic knowledge is important, but it is only a part of a true education. You wouldn't let someone operate on you who
had only read about operations would you? Of course not! You want the most experienced surgeon that you can find. This is because although book learning has its place, academic knowledge alone is not enough. ADL
students employ accelerated learning skills that allow them to quickly and efficiently complete the book learning, and have time left over to gain real life experience.
If you could predict the future, what does "home school college" look like to you in, say, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
As we all know, technology is constantly changing. The advent of email and the internet has already dramatically changed the way students study and learn. Technology is already available for video conferencing for real time video discussions and virtual classroom situations. The problem right now is the cost. As the cost of technology comes down over the next several years, we will see some pretty dramatic changes and improvements to the current distance learning model as this technology is brought into the distance learner's home.
How important is accreditation to home school college?
Again, it depends what the end goal of the individual is, but I would say for most people, accreditation is vital. Accreditation is a standard by which an education can be measured. Usually, when we talk about accredited degrees, we are talking about academic accreditation or "regional accreditation." The degrees that our students are earning from home have the same regional accreditation of traditional state colleges and universities.
ACU: Ryan, thank you for taking time to answer these important questions. We hope home school families will benefit from your insight, knowledge and encouragement.
For more information about Global Learning Strategies, visit: www.globallearningstrategies.org