From the age of correspondence programs in 1930s, the age of technological revolution has seen a great advancement in the academic field as well. The current age has seen the development of online education through distance learning. Distance coaching is basically an arrangement offered by the course provider to study from a distance without going to the location itself, generally providing an arrangement for online study or study from home. Recent student reviews and statistics have suggested that many distance education websites today attract more visits and searches from students as compared to websites of traditional educational establishments.
Now, let us discuss 3 good reasons as to why distance learning degrees are a good alternative to traditional educational system.
The first obvious reason is the students do not have to go to distant places to attend course programs from and can attend the programs at any time of their choice from the comfort of their own homes, while maintain their jobs and regular studies.
It prevents the hassle of students from going to distant places, and allows a student to study at his/her own pace using the internet or downloadable materials. Distance learning program has broken the geographical barriers and allows ambitious students to pursue high quality education in prestigious universities located in another corner of the globe. The distance learning programs enable students to contact their guides and fellow members easily without having to traverse the long distance between their hometown and the location of the course provider. Due to flexible timings, a person can carry out higher studies and gain a plethora of knowledge and expertise in his field of interest, without causing a disturbance in his career.
Also, for people with restricted abilities, like physically handicapped or the elderly, it is an excellent opportunity to achieve higher qualifications without having to move huge distances. Also, it happens to offer a final chance to the adolescents not permitted to conduct higher education in traditional colleges due to improper or anti-social behaviour, and allows them to pursue diploma and be an integral part of society again by reforming themselves. This advantage of the distance learning has become so popular with the recent days that over 270,000 students have enrolled themselves in undergraduate programs through distance learning while the number of students pursuing postgraduate courses via distance learning has crossed 108,000.
The next major advantage of distance learning is obviously the higher affordability associated with distance learning.
Higher education in traditional colleges, due to very high tuition fees and other associated expenditures, generally proves to be very cost effective for families with low annual income, becoming almost exorbitant to many students. Apart from the academic fees, the system of distance learning also helps in reducing financial burden by cutting off the costs associated with the transportation of students from their homes to the course provider location. Also, there are many courses that may not be available as traditional college system in their state or country.
For such cases, the prospect of learning online creates a chance to bring the education to their homes, rather than the students having to stay at a different place, not only reducing accommodation costs but also allowing them to study from the comfort of their homes and permitting them to continue with their current study curriculum or jobs at ease. Lastly, books in distance learning are available in the form of digital books, also called e-textbooks, which are often far lower in price than the traditional paper books. Furthermore, distance learning enables the students to contact several digital publishers who have a partnership with school libraries, which have provisions for providing many books and study materials free of cost.
The third major reason as to why distance degree is an efficient alternative to traditional college learning is the variety of courses that the students can avail and enrol themselves, which may not have been available in their immediate locations. Moreover, distance learning has been shown to provide a higher satisfaction among the students as it enables the students to study in the pace they are comfortable with.
With improved technology making every necessary arrangement for distance learning programs to provide better learning experiences to the students, reviews have shown that these programs have offered a higher satisfaction among students.
Firstly, the students can review the lecture notes and explanations on difficult topics at any time as frequently as they need. This allows them to focus more on the subjects they are comparatively weaker at, while being guided constantly by the professors and discussions from fellow students in discussion forums. In distance learning, the students get a learning environment and course structure that is optimal to their needs and timings, creating an intrinsic motivation in their minds that favours a higher performance. Lastly, for students attending distance learning programs for mental health treatment or healthcare education, the programs try to respond efficiently to client issues and encourage deeper reflections regarding these issues, thus offering a constant support to the students through regular supervisions, discussions and regular communication between the guide and students.
However, there are certain disadvantages of distance learning program. Many students attend these programs without having the necessary practical experience needed to exhibit a high performance in some of these courses.
The students have to study in the distracting environment of the family, which may not allow them to concentrate hard. They do not get the chance to interact with fellow students, inhibiting the exposure they would have received in a traditional degree program. Again, lack of ability to use advanced technology while trying to avail distance learning program may affect performance standards. Also, several colleges have reported that distance learning programs have witnessed a far higher drop-out rate than traditional colleges due to the inability of students to manage their time, and adapt to the lack of “face-to-face” guidance and motivation from their guides.
Well, as we say, every program has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Thus, a student should consider all the above points and should try to enhance his time management skills effectively before enrolling himself in a distance learning program, if he wishes to achieve excellence in the course enrolled.