Encompassing technologies and supporting the pursuit of lifelong learning for all age-groups, Distance learning has become a growing trend for a large number of students who seek higher education. It gives you the opportunity to further your education in any phase of your life but like any other methods of teaching, distance learning too has some advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of distance learning: Contrary to what many people think, the distance learning advantages far more outweigh the disadvantages in distance learning.
Pursue the education of your choice: The most important benefit of distance learning is that one can pursue his choice of education during any time of his/her life. There is no restriction regarding city, country or college. One can live and study from anywhere while opting for distance learning programs. What needed is the most is accessibility to a computer and a good speed internet connection
Money saving as no commuting: Since in distance learning program, one does not need to regularly attend classes at college campus, it thus saves time in commuting. It further saves money one spends in travelling.
Flexible approach towards study: Flexibility in distance learning program gives opportunity to study without disturbing your personal life. In case you are already working somewhere then you can always schedule learning around other aspects of your life, without causing any disturbance to the personal or professional life.
Take classes at your convenience: In distance learning, one does not have to attend lecture at any specific time and place, so students can complete their classes at their own time and convenience. Reviewing the assignments and homework can also be done from home during off-hours.
Gain extra knowledge: Another big advantage is that extra knowledge of computer and Internet skills that one gains in the process of distance learning experience can also be transferred to other facets of life.
Accessibility: There are people who while taking traditional classes encounter physical accessibility problem due to limited mobility issues. With online classes in distance learning programs, one need not to worry about gaining access to a classroom or sitting on uncomfortable seats. Instead what can be done is use own comfortable furniture in the home. Thus an ambition to further education can be fulfilled while enjoying free movement at home.
And for slow and quick learners, it gives option of self-paced learning. This in way reduces stress and increases learners overall satisfaction.
Disadvantages of distance learning:
Considering the above mention advantages of distance learning, it becomes a little doubtful if this mode of learning has any disadvantage or not. But frankly speaking, there are a few drawbacks also.
Complex technology and its availability: It is true that distance education provides opportunities to learn new things and technologies but they are quite complex also. And it comes as challenge for many people who are afraid of technology. A computer with uninterrupted internet facility is a must for distance learning. Further, it requires careful planning and huge costs to arrange for equipment and facilities like live video communications which is very important in this form of education.
Hidden costs: Then some hidden costs cannot be avoided. For example, if a student resides or works in a remote area where regular supply of things is impossible then the study material needs to be mailed in advance. This no doubt incurs extra shipping charges and other handling costs.
Hence comes another point which may bring discomfort to many. In distance learning, student and instructor sometimes require to plan much in advance to get the desired result.
No immediate feedback: Distance learning is unlike a traditional classroom. So one does not get immediate feedback, rather students have to wait until their instructor review the work and send them comments.
Doubt in getting acknowledgement by the employers: Some employers do not acknowledge the distance learning courses. So before one joins a course, he/she must ensure the supposed employers perspective about that online course.
Limited courses available online: There are many necessary courses which are not offered online. Therefore, if pursuing a specific certificate or degree program, one must ensure in advance if the course is available online. For example, subject like nursing cannot be done online as it requires classroom attendance.
No interaction with other students: While pursuing distance learning, one has to study alone and thus becomes socially isolated as there is no interaction with other classmates. It also does not give any chance to work on oral communication skills or have interaction with professors. However, with change and advancement in technologies like chats, e-mails, conferencing and bulletin boards, this problem is lessening gradually.
Conclusion: However, with good instructional designs, there are hardly many significant differences between in-class teaching and distance learning techniques today. Depending upon own circumstances, one can compare and decide what he/she should choose for enhancing the educational and professional qualifications.
About the Author:
karROX College of Technology & Management is a premier distance learning center in Mumbai conferring degrees at Bachelors and Masters Level. Amidst the growing education industry, KCTM has been servicing aspirants with quality education since 1992.