WHAT IS DISTANCE LEARNING?
Distance learning, also known as correspondence education or home study, is a form of education where there is little or no face-to-face interaction between students and their instructors. Distance learning students usually study from home, instead of attending physical classes.
Some other features of distance learning include the following:
- Study material is delivered to students via post, courier, e-mail, or the internet.
- Assessments are carried out by means of written assignments, exams, and/or portfolios of evidence.
- Academic support is provided to students through various channels, including telephone, post, e-mail, and instant messaging programs.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning?
The main advantage of distance learning is that it presents students with a flexible alternative to traditional classroom-based education.
Here are some of the other advantages:
- It gives students greater access to education. Students who are unable to attend classes due to disabilities, or due to family responsibilities, may be able to further their studies via distance learning.
- It is more affordable. Students can save money by not having to travel to classes.
- It gives students the option to work and study at the same time. Because distance learning students are free to study according to their own schedules, they can easily fit in their studies around their work commitments.
- It allows students to study at their own pace. Students won’t be under pressure to keep up with the rest of the class, and they won’t be held back by slower students. They can also choose how much time to spend on each section of the course material.
- It allows students to choose from a wider variety of courses. Students aren’t limited to studying courses that are offered by academic institutions in their geographical areas.
- It helps students to develop valuable skills. Students will be able to improve their self-discipline, sense of responsibility, time management, and independent thinking skills by studying largely on their own via distance learning.
- It presents students with fewer distractions. While the social aspect of campus life often distracts students from their studies, distance learning makes it easier for students to remain focused.
Despite all the advantages, there are also a number of disadvantages to studying via distance learning:
- There is no face-to-face contact with teachers or lecturers. However, many distance learning institutions provide students with academic support via telephone, e-mail, post, and instant messaging.
- There is often minimal interaction with other students. However, students may be able to interact online, or they may decide to form their own study groups.
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