Distance learning is the process whereby you can use the internet to access courses and attend classes without physically attending a school. It has become very popular over the pasts decade and received a further boost during the pandemic. It provides a great solution for some students who can’t attend a brick-and-mortar campus. Many students believe it is as good as attending classes on campus, and it helps them to achieve their educational goals. Here are some of the pros and cons of distance learning.
When doing online courses, you have the advantage of setting your own schedule.
- You have the flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time.
- You can work at your own pace. This means you can move quickly through material you already understand and spend longer on more complex material.
- You can have a job and study at the same time so you can pay your way through college. If you have a full-time job and family responsibilities, distance learning is a great option.
- You aren’t bound by geography, and you can use any online platform that offers the courses you want to do.
The disadvantage of flexibility and being able to set your own schedule is that you need to be accountable. You may be tempted to procrastinate when your learning is self-directed. As you don’t have to show up at a class at a specific time, you will need focus and discipline to complete an online course.
Distance learning programs are possible thanks to advanced technology. You will become more technologically savvy as you access study materials, participate in online forums and submit assignments electronically. These tech skills will help you feel more confident when pursuing your career. Your future employer will value tech skills, such as being comfortable using video conferencing tools like Zoom.
Technical difficulties can be a hindrance for some students. They may find there are times when they don’t have internet access. Programs or software may be down, so they can’t access their courses. It can be frustrating for students to lose time due to technical difficulties. They may need to make use of essay writing services so they can keep up and still get good grades.
Reputable institutions will seek accreditation because they want students to get degrees that are valuable to them and recognized by employers. More employers today accept that distance learning is a legitimate option. They will respect the fact that you had the discipline and determination to complete your online courses. Some employers may still be skeptical about online degrees, but most executives today believe that online credentials are equivalent to those obtained in person.
You do have to make sure that your distance learning institution is an accredited one. There are so many online courses available, and you want to avoid the ‘diploma mills’ and non-accredited online schools that give online learning a bad name. You want the quality of your education and its academic rigor to be the same as if you attend a physical college.
Online learning may not offer in-person interaction, but it still gives you the chance to interact online with others. You can participate in online forums and ask fellow students questions or chat about the courses. You may have access to a mentor who will give your guidance throughout the course. If you are already working and have family responsibilities, you don’t want too many social distractions.
It may be different if you’re a young person just out of high school. When you take online classes, you won’t have physical interactions with others and will miss out on campus life. As a young person taking part in activities like inter-college games or joining clubs and societies is a big part of college life. Distance learning may not be the best option for you if it’s going to make you feel lonely and isolated. It takes time to adjust to a new type of schedule, but you should not opt for it if you believe it’s not for you.
Coping with study stress can be hard – you don’t want to have financial difficulties too. Distance learning is not as expensive as on-campus learning and can help you to save money. Attending college is very expensive today, and many students need to take out loans for tuition etc. If you do distance learning, you don’t have to pay for accommodation, fuel, parking, childcare etc. The materials you need are usually available online, so you may not even need to buy textbooks.
Distance education may not be right for everyone, but for certain students, it has many benefits, such as offering them more flexibility. You will need to weigh up all the pros and cons mentioned above to see if distance learning is a good fit for you. If you’re unable to attend a brick-and-mortar institution, distance learning may be the best way to realize your educational aspirations.