Pros and cons of distance learning
In the digital age it has become increasingly easy for people to earn qualifications without needing to enrol in a traditional university. As distance education evolves students can complete their course entirely online by watching “webinars”, accessing course materials online, and taking part in online discussion forums with other students.
But what is distance and online learning really like and how does it compare to traditional, on-campus learning?
The pros of distance learning
- Easy access: Course materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere as long as students have a computer, smart phone, or tablet device.
- Flexibility: With no set class times you can study when it suits you and complete assignments in your own time.
- Course choices: In recent years a wide variety of courses from highly thought of universities have been made available so you could earn a degree from a top university without ever seeing the campus.
- Cost: Distance learning is often cheaper as there are no transport or accommodation costs involved.
- Earn while you learn: As well as courses being cheaper taking a distance course allows you to earn while you learn as you can fit studying around your work commitments.
- Minimal class time: Some distance courses require a small amount of class time to complete the course. Others allow you to earn your qualification without needing any time in the class room.
The cons of distance learning
- Requires modern technology: If you’re not very tech savvy you might find it hard to get to grips with the technology needed to complete a distance learning course.
- Not very social: Although you can talk to other students online there are not normally opportunities for social interaction offline.
- Very student led: Distance education strongly encourages independent learning so you might feel there isn’t enough support.
- Reputation: Although attitudes are changing there is still some stigma attached qualifications earned through distance learning.
- Self-directed: If you’re a procrastinator or you struggle to make time for things you might find it hard to put in the hours to complete your online course.