Are Online Degree Programs Better than Distance Education? | upGrad blog (2022)

Home>General>Are Online Degree Programs Better than Distance Education?

‘Distance education’ and ‘Online education’ are often confused since both are delivered remotely. However, there is a significant difference between the two concerning certain essential aspects.

While distance education has existed long before the advent of the internet, online education ultimately owes its existence to advanced internet technology. Both forms of learning are designed to lend flexibility to the students. But distance learning provides a much lesser scope of active student participation and accountability than an online one.

In its initial stages, online teaching methods were used along with regular classroom sessions. Yet today, you can pursue complete courses and obtain a degree through online platforms at the comfort of your home.

Further pushed by the COVID-19 scenario, the government authorities are encouraging greater digitisation of education. Online education is expected to grow as the digital gap reduces, and internet penetration rises across the country. But how are online courses overcoming these limitations posed by distance learning? Given below is an overview of the prominent differences between distance education and online education:

Table of Contents

Regulatory Framework

The online/distance courses that fulfil these rules are considered equivalent to the corresponding full-time programs. This recent step has paved the way for a new advanced model of learning in addition to regular and distance modes.

While most approval rules are the same for both the learning modes, they vary relative to the medium of teaching and assessments. For instance, the institutes offering online courses have to opt for a platform like SWAYAM or any other approved by an appropriate statutory authority.

(Video) Online & Distance Education: Valid for Govt, Private & Foreign Jobs

Course Content and Delivery Mode

The study material in distance learning courses is either sent to the students by postal or electronic correspondence. It may be in hard copy or soft copy or both. Students are not bound to attend any scheduled classes in distance education.

They can go through the course material at their own pace and convenience. However, they may participate in a few contact sessions conducted at study centres close to their homes. Besides, they may also communicate with the teacher using digital means.

On the other hand, the educational content of online courses is entirely delivered in electronic format. The curriculum of online classes is usually developed in consultation with popular recruiters and hiring managers. It allows for a high degree of flexibility in the learning curve. For instance, in Chandigarh University (CU) online degree programs powered by upGrad, students can choose their personalised learning tracks as per their professional goals.

The course material is available as video lectures, presentations, eBooks, website articles, etc. Students are required to attend live sessions as per their preferred choice of batch timings. Further, the digital content is cost-efficient and easy to update, making it more reliable than the printed hard copy material. While there may be delays in the delivery of distance learning course content, these issues don’t generally occur in online programs.

Learner Engagement

There is a marked difference in the level of student support offered by distance education and online education. In distance education, it is wholly upon the student to monitor and track his/her learning progress throughout the course. Due to the absence of standardised channels for student-student and student-teacher interactions, learners tend to feel isolated.

On the contrary, online courses include a wide range of methods to boost and maintain student engagement. Apart from living classes, teachers can hold quizzes, discussion forums, question-answer rounds, and doubts sessions using online tools.

The virtual model of education comes with opportunities to personalise teaching techniques according to students’ learning styles. Nowadays, online educational portals organise virtual training and mentorship sessions for students. In these workshops, learners can connect with industry experts, experienced professionals, and peers from different parts of the world.

This two-way communication of online education makes it much more feedback-oriented than distance education.

(Video) Masters Degree vs Online Courses in Data Science

Assessments and Evaluations

Assessments are conducted periodically in both distance learning and online learning programs. In distance education, students usually have to appear at a designated regional centre for their examinations. While in online education, the learners can take the quiz in virtual mode at any place.

Both kinds of courses include assignments, MCQ-based tests, and projects at regular intervals. Yet, these are generally required to be submitted at specific centres in distance learning programs.

Except for the final examinations, the frequency of assessments is arbitrary in distance education. On the other hand, the entire series of tests, assignments, case studies, and projects are pre-decided and well-planned for the online courses.

The virtual platforms let the teachers conduct live group activities, discussions, feedback sessions, and one-on-one meetings. Apart from the overall final assessment, online programs are equipped with evaluations at every step of the course.

Hence, the online learning structure allows for more versatility and creativity in gauging students’ progress compared to the distance learning methodology.

Quality of Education and Learning

Of course, either type’s quality of education depends upon its course content, delivery, teachers, instructors, and evaluations. Since distance education is more of a self-directed individual effort, the learning process suffers in the long-run.

Even though the course material in distance education meets the quality standards set by regulatory authorities, it may not fulfil the application-based industry requirements. This is mainly because the distance learning programs are formulated to confer the requisite degree or qualification.

In online courses, the learning goes beyond the theoretical concepts and bookish knowledge. Here, the program curriculum is devised by leading faculty in alliance with the industry leaders. Both the course syllabus and teaching methodology is disposed to inculcating practical abilities and proficiencies in the students.

So, whether you want to prepare for a government job, study abroad, start a business or get into the corporate world, you can customise your learning path accordingly. The online student mentors embrace a facilitatory role to encourage the potential skills of the learners.

(Video) Distance Education vs Online Learning | Which is best for professional course?

Hence, online education’s curricular structure is better placed in preparing students for their future than distance education.

Career Prospects

Although distance learning courses provide necessary qualifications to pursue a career in the relevant field, they generally lack job-seeking support and placement assistance. Besides, if a student wishes to work in a reputed organisation, he/she will probably have to take up a skill-based course after obtaining a distance education degree.

But such job-seeking struggles are rarely encountered after online education. From its very conception, the online learning system has inclined to develop the learners’ professional acumen. Not surprisingly, the last few years have witnessed an enormous rise in the number of students taking the online route for job test preparation.

The virtual world of learning offers a vast variety of specialised courses and training programs, tailored to meet the learner needs. For example, in CU’s Online Programs extended by upGrad, you get to avail career counselling and interview preparation modules for your desired job.

Which affirms the job-focused and outcome-driven features of online courses relative to the distance learning programs.

Course Fee and ROI

It is well-known that both distance education and online education are more affordable than regular programs. However, the cost range of remote learning courses varies widely depending upon the institute, time, credibility, and curricular structure. In India, the top institutes for small education are IGNOU, Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Amity University, NMIMS, Chandigarh University, Bharati Vidyapeeth, etc.

The annual fee for distance learning degree courses lies anywhere between Rs. 3500 to 1.65 lakh. On the corresponding scale, the cost of regulated online courses is slightly on the higher side. For instance, the total fee for CU’s upGrad-enabled online graduate and postgraduate programs ranges from Rs. 1-3 lakh.

The apparent reason behind the fee difference is the valuable support offered in online courses. The students also get to work on live industry-sponsored projects and intern with renowned organisations in these programs. Moreover, the platform maintains a good placement record and propels learners onto better job promotions and career advancement opportunities.

(Video) Manav Rachna Faridabad Distance & Online Education : University Review | Courses | Fees | Approvals

Hence, online programs lend a much more ROI (Return on Investment) than distance learning courses despite the higher fee range.


In this era of digitalisation, online education holds more importance and relevance than ever before. While distance education works well for people looking for affordable options without premium offerings, online education fares better in terms of tangible career outcomes.

Programs such as CU’s online degree programs facilitated by upGrad are most suited to the ones with high career aspirations. Backed by the revised governmental regulations and related initiatives, online courses have the full potential to replace the traditional classrooms in most of the education domains.

What is the difference between marketing and sales?

Both marketing and sales are integral business functions that deeply impact an organisation's revenues and lead generation outcomes. They are closely linked but with many differences. Marketing is the practice of developing awareness among the general population about your brand or product, or services. On the other hand, sales is a more individual customer-centric approach to turning people's awareness or followership into profit. While marketing generates market demand, sales help fulfil that demand. Sales actually focus on the company's needs, while marketing is more about market needs. Through marketing, a company moves its offerings to the market, while sales push it from the market to the customers.

Is a sales job difficult?

The most common thing we hear about sales jobs is that it is a very tough job. And indeed, working in sales is not at all easy with its client-facing demands and hectic targets. If you plan to take up a job in sales, you need to understand from the very first that you will be up for a high challenge and will also need to put in long hours of very hard work. There will be sales targets that you need to achieve in order to attain the common goals of your firm or employer. You need to be able to handle rejections, be patient with customer outcomes, and keep up your levels of self-motivation.

Can you succeed at a sales job without lying?

Generally, people working in sales do not have a very clear reputation concerning honesty; it is said that you often have to lie to make sales. But that is not an accurate idea about sales jobs that many of us have. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to sales and can also be a more profitable approach in many cases. Actually, you do not need to be dishonest to sell a product or service. You need to be tactful and build honest and lasting customer relationships to make a difference.

(Video) How To Find & Correctly Email Music Blogs / News Publication / Magazines | Music Promotion

Want to share this article?


Is online education better than distance education? ›

While distance education works well for people looking for affordable options without premium offerings, online education fares better in terms of tangible career outcomes. Programs such as CU's online degree programs facilitated by upGrad are most suited to the ones with high career aspirations.

Is online same as distance learning? ›

Distance learning is a broader term which at its simplest refers to studying remotely from the college. Online learning is therefore technically a form of distance learning, but the term is more commonly used to refer to courses where the teachers or tutors are separate to the students.

Why online learning is better than in person? ›

Online courses allow students to learn at their own pace on their own schedule, which is an approach to studying known as asynchronous learning. This format empowers students to take notes, review lectures, and go over other course materials in a way that works best for them.

What are the pros and cons of your chosen online distance learning? ›

5 Pros and Cons for Studying a Distance Learning Degree in 2022
  • Online courses are very flexible. ...
  • You can learn and earn. ...
  • Forget about geographical boundaries! ...
  • Get educated even with a tight budget. ...
  • Online courses help you become tech-savvy. ...
  • Questioning quality. ...
  • Not enough student accountability.
10 Jan 2022

Which is more beneficial distance education or regular studies? ›

Lower Cost. Compared with the traditional academic format of studying, online education is much more affordable. A degree from any university or vocational institute would cost learners thousands in cash and work hours.

What are the disadvantages of online distance learning? ›

There are unfortunately some disadvantages of online learning.
  • Causes Isolation. ...
  • Requires Time Management and Self-Motivation Skills. ...
  • Difficult to Prevent Cheating. ...
  • Educators Focus on Theoretical Knowledge Instead of Practice. ...
  • Difficulty Teaching Particular Subjects. ...
  • Students may Neglect Exercise and Physical Health.
15 Oct 2020

Is degree with distance learning valid? ›

So yes, degrees obtained through the online and open and distance learning (ODL) mode are completely valid if you wish to pursue government jobs whether in central or state government.

Is distance learning degree equivalent to regular degree? ›

Yes, a degree acquired in the online/distance mode from a UGC-DEB recognised higher education institution is absolutely equivalent to a degree acquired through the regular mode.

What are the 10 benefits of online classes? ›

What are the Benefits of Online Classes for Students?
  • The “Home” Advantage. Digital learning has made learning interesting and fun for students. ...
  • Escape the Traffic. ...
  • Saves your Time and Money. ...
  • Best Online Guidance. ...
  • Instant Doubt Resolution. ...
  • Increased Convenience and Flexibility. ...
  • Enhances Self-Discipline. ...
  • Optimises focus.

What is the main point of online learning? ›

Let's start with the pros—and the biggest, most obvious one. Online learning means you can do it from anywhere, wherever you are in the world. And you can often do it at a time that suits you. Some lessons are pre-recorded, depending on the subject and format of what you choose to study.

What are any three major disadvantages of online education? ›

Disadvantages of Online Learning
  • Online Learning May Create a Sense of Isolation. Everyone learns in their own manner. ...
  • Online Learning Requires Self-Discipline. ...
  • Online Learning Requires Additional Training for Instructors. ...
  • Online Classes Are Prone to Technical Issues. ...
  • Online Learning means more screen-time.
28 Dec 2021

Is online bachelor's degree worth it? ›

Many Students worry about getting an online degree wondering if they have any value or if the employers and recruiters consider it as a traditional degree. A straight answer to that dilemma is, yes! Most of the employers value online degrees. Some even believe that a few courses are better if they taught online.

What is the disadvantages of distance education? ›

The disadvantages of distance learning are:

Lack of physical social interaction that is found in a typical, traditional classroom. Students can only engage and share opinions through virtual means in chatrooms or broadcasts, but are not able to physically interact with each other. It does not fit all types of learners.

What are the 4 advantages of distance education? ›

7 advantages of distance learning courses
  • It's flexible. ...
  • It eliminates the commute and hassle of getting to class. ...
  • It saves time. ...
  • It offers more networking opportunities. ...
  • It allows students to hone their time-management skills. ...
  • It helps students develop their technical skills.
14 Jul 2020

What is distance education and what is its greatest advantage? ›

Perhaps the most immediately obvious advantage of distance education is the level of flexibility it provides for students. In general, remote learning tends to require more independent study and because modern distance education is usually online-based, students have more control over both when and where they study.

What are the 8 cons of online education? ›

Disadvantages of Online Learning: In a Nutshell
  • Limited Teacher to Student Feedback.
  • Risk of Social Isolation.
  • Cheating is more brutal to monitor.
  • E-learning is inaccessible to digitally illiterate people.
  • Issues with Accreditation and Quality Assurance.
  • Requires self-motivation and efficient time management skills.
16 Nov 2022

Why do students struggle with online learning? ›

Flexibility puts pressure on students

Inherent in the flexibility afforded by online learning is more choice about the time and space dimensions of study. Not everyone has the capacity to make good judgements about their learning and act wisely on those judgements.

What are the biggest challenges facing online education today? ›

Let's take a look at the biggest challenges facing distance education today and review some specific tips for how to overcome them.
  • #1. Technical Issues.
  • #2. Lack of Motivation.
  • #3. Feelings of Isolation.
  • #4. Effective Time Management.
  • #5. Managing Distractions and Staying Focused.

Do companies accept distance education? ›

In some companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft etc they value your skills. They want right person for a right job. They will give you training and if you are good at your job you can work there. Degree taken through distance education is valid to get job in MNCs.

Does companies accept online degree? ›

Online programmes are also suitable for all those who are already engaged in some work or who do not have suitable opportunities for higher education. However, a pertinent question that students often ask is whether their online degree will be accepted by their employers. The answer is a resounding yes.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting online degrees? ›

Here are a few ways online courses add value to both students and universities.
  • Access to a High Quality Education. ...
  • Increased Flexibility and Academic Autonomy. ...
  • Easier to Maintain Career and Family Responsibilities. ...
  • Lack of Interaction with Peers and Instructors. ...
  • Students Must Hold Themselves Accountable.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of online courses? ›

There are advantages of online learning like accessibility, low cost, and convenience. However, online classes also have disadvantages such as lack of human interaction, plagiarism issues, and a disconnect with the instructor.

Which is the easiest degree course for distance education? ›

Easiest Majors and Degrees to Get Online. Some of the easiest online degrees include business, education, and liberal arts. Many schools offer online degrees in these in-demand areas. See below for some of the easiest degrees to earn online.

What are the 10 disadvantages of online classes? ›

Ten Disadvantages of Online Courses
  • Online courses require more time than on-campus classes. ...
  • Online courses make it easier to procrastinate. ...
  • Online courses require good time-management skills. ...
  • Online courses may create a sense of isolation. ...
  • Online courses allow you to be more independent.

What is lacking in online learning? ›

7. E-Learning lacks face-to-face communication. The lack of face-to-face communication ties together with many of the previously mentioned disadvantages of online learning.

What do you not like about online learning? ›

What I don't like about online learning is that I have to still do homework even though we are in a pandemic and can't leave the house. The experience from doing online learning and going to school physically are vastly different. With online classes, if you need help you have to ask your parents or google.

What are some potential problems with online studies? ›

  • Staying Motivated. Given that students may not be attending class at a set time on a physical campus, finding the motivation to get started on coursework can be difficult. ...
  • Technical Issues. ...
  • Some Students Being Left Behind. ...
  • Diminished Social Aspects.
2 Mar 2022

What are the negative impacts of studying online? ›

Less Accountability. Online students can't rely on as much instructor and peer feedback and accountability as traditional courses sometimes offer. Instructors often update grades through virtual grade books and don't have as much opportunity for regular informal feedback before and after classes.

Is online learning better than face to face learning? ›

Is online learning better than face-to-face learning? In many ways, online learning is more effective than face to face learning. As research shows 80% of organizations believe their use of digital learning will remain the same, increase or decrease only slightly as restrictions on live training ease.

Do online degree have same value? ›

The degrees obtained through distance and online learning from recognised institutions would be treated on par with those offered through conventional mode, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Are online degrees harder? ›

Are Online Classes Harder in College? Because online classes cover the same or similar material, typically in the same amount of time as traditional classes, they are not harder. The only thing that can make an online class seem harder is the amount of reading and communication they require.

Should I put online degree on resume? ›

It is in your best interest to list your degree as you would a traditional degree on your resume. Put the name of the institution, your major, and also your GPA to attract recruiters. If you earned your online degree from an institution that offers both traditional and online courses, this can work to your advantage.

Are online qualifications Recognised? ›

If they are regulated and accredited by an awarding body, they are no different from those studied on campus. You'll have received the same rigorous level of education and an indistinguishable qualification upon completion of online learning courses.

Is online degree valid in India? ›

The decision was taken as per Regulation 22 of the UGC Regulations. The degrees obtained through distance and online learning from recognised institutions would be treated on par with those offered through conventional mode, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Is online education good for future? ›

Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace, and there's the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone's agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, so there's no need to give anything up.

What are 3 advantages of online classes? ›

Ten Advantages of Online Courses
  • Online courses are convenient. ...
  • Online courses offer flexibility. ...
  • Online courses bring education right to your home. ...
  • Online courses offer more individual attention. ...
  • Online courses help you meet interesting people. ...
  • Online courses give you real world skills.

Is distance education degree valid? ›

YES! Degrees obtained through the online or the open and distance learning (ODL) mode are completely valid if you are applying for government jobs. If you are applying for a job in the central government, then you must know that you have to appear for and clear an entrance examination to get the job.

What are 5 advantages of online learning? ›

What are the Benefits of Online Classes for Students?
  • The “Home” Advantage. Digital learning has made learning interesting and fun for students. ...
  • Escape the Traffic. ...
  • Saves your Time and Money. ...
  • Best Online Guidance. ...
  • Instant Doubt Resolution. ...
  • Increased Convenience and Flexibility. ...
  • Enhances Self-Discipline. ...
  • Optimises focus.

Can online education give more advantages? ›

Another advantage of online education is that it allows students to attend classes from any location of their choice. It also allows schools to reach out to a more extensive network of students, instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries.


1. MaxCoach - Online Courses, Personal Coaching & Education WordPress Theme
(WP Themes)
2. Online Education Universities For FREE degree Courses
(Online MBA Blog)
3. Online Courses | Distance Education | University Regular Courses |DREAMZONE EDUCATION CENTER
(Dream Shine Vlogs)
4. Annamalai university distance education admission 2021 | How to Apply online 2021
(Thagaval Maiyam - தகவல் மையம்)
5. Matthew Caruana Galizia - How To Get Justice for Murder and Corruption
(DIAS - Danish Institute for Advanced Study)
6. BCA: Online & Distance Education | Admission 2021 | Universities | Fee | Placement
(College Vidya)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 11/04/2022

Views: 6189

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.