Summary: This article goes deep into the debate between distance education and regular education and how the changing times are going to change distance education for good.
Is Distance Learning Better Than Classroom?
We are in the third decade of the 21st century. Things have never been the same with each passing decade. In fact, change is the only thing that has stood the test of time. The internet has changed the lives of people from all walks of life; this includes modes of learning as well. Distance education is now a buzzword in today's world. It has enabled students to develop professional skills and competencies through the means of online lectures and self-study. Distance learning has made learning available with the click of a mouse.
The Distance Education System
Although distance learning is not a completely new thing for us, recently it has taken the world by storm. The recent pandemic situation has brought it into the spotlight because of how useful and convenient it has been for us.
Distance learning is a form of education that doesn't require students to be physically present in school. This form of education conducts classes in the form of videos and modules, even exams are conducted online. As a result, you are able to participate from anywhere in the world.
Regular Education System
The traditional education system has remained quite the same. Universities are still operating face-to-face classes. Although the use of multimedia and technology has changed the experience around the last few decades, students who are pursuing degrees are still attending lectures and examinations to finish courses.
Distance Education Vs. Regular Education
Education gives us knowledge of the world around us. It builds our capacity to change it into something better. So, if there were anything that you would like to get conveniently, it would be education. The flexibility in learning is comparatively a newer concept.
In the past, people would often select a profession for themselves and carry it out for the rest of their lives to make their livelihood, but people are having to adapt to new situations—even working two jobs at the same time. The changing times will require people to develop more and more new skills to adapt to socio-economic changes. People are going to have to keep adding to their set of skills. It’s not going to just be about their bachelor’s degree.
People are having to adapt to new things and learn new skills. This is a part of the whole new upgrade we are going through in all walks of life. The world is not the same as how the traditional academics shaped it. People are having to adapt to new skills and learn new things to keep up with the modern world. It has particularly changed a lot in the way we interact with people and how we learn new things. People's comfort zones are changing. Failing to upgrade will cause you to fall back into the wave of time.
How Distance Education Has Changed Regular Education
The recent pandemic situation had brought the whole world to a standstill. The usual activities in all types of institutions were halted for weeks. This also included educational and vocational institutions calling off classes for an indefinite period of time. But thanks to the online education system, teachers could get in touch with their students.
All schools, colleges, and universities around the world continued their lessons by switching to an online platform. Institutions adopted online teaching methods; established educational institutions are even continuing online. Various academies are instructing students with the help of online distance learning programs. Even renowned universities from Europe and North America have already been offering online programs for a while. So with the availability of qualified instructors, renowned institutions can further integrate the learning experience of online programs.
Advantages Of Distance Education
To be absolutely honest with you, distance education is a complete advantage, though it hasn’t reached the stage where it can compete with regular education. Distance learning can definitely be a complementary form of education. Many young enthusiasts can get the relevant qualifications and earn new skills by studying online. Some of the advantages of distance learning are:
Flexibility With Time
One of the main advantages of distance learning is the flexibility with time. You can learn at your own pace, whenever it is convenient for you. This has enabled learners to be involved in other activities as well.
Access To A Wide Range Of Courses
One of the greatest advantages of distance education is you get to choose from a wide range of courses. In the traditional system, you would normally study a specific course to get a degree. But distance learning has brought lots of relevant life and career-oriented courses that you can easily avail of based on your needs. Traditional academic courses are not always designed based on the student’s needs, but distance learning has enabled learners to gain knowledge on a vast array of subjects.
Commute Or Transports
Distance learning doesn't need you to commute to classes every day to attend lectures or lab classes. This saves a student both time and money.
Build Up Your Own Mindful Way Of Learning
There is nobody to supervise or guide you in distance learning courses. You are provided with all the learning materials.
Easier Access To Knowledge
The availability of online courses has made learning a lot easier. The modern-day is an age of information. People are willing to spend a lot in order to gain the knowledge they desire for themselves. People need plenty of new skills now to keep up with the changing times. Online learning platforms are lifesavers to this extent for some students.
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.
Learn While You Work
Online degrees are time flexible. So you can actually work a full-time job and learn at your own convenience. This is one of the most remarkable sides of distance learning. Learners can easily pursue courses for their own personal and professional development while being employed full time.
Shortcomings Of Distance Education
While institutions offering the online course have made the learning system convenient, it has its own set of disadvantages as well. These are:
Chance Of Distraction
Often learning from home allows for a greater chance of facing distractions. Learners are exposed to their home surroundings, which may not always promote the cause of learning.
Limited Scope For Practical Learning
Some practical courses are not possible to learn through theoretical lessons. We have got to accept the fact that distance learning can not facilitate the learning needs of each and every type of course.
The Validity Of The Degree
Sometimes the validity of an online degree or the credibility of the instructors is questionable. So it's better to check the credentials of the instructor and the user reviews of a course. It's recommended that you choose courses accredited by legitimate awarding bodies to ensure the best quality and credibility.
Missing Out On Social Interaction
And finally, social interaction. This is the sole reason why online learning can never replace regular schools. For a learning purpose, online learning is fine. But you cannot make friends while doing an online course. You got to live with that fact.
Though with a few shortcomings, online education platforms can still grow to give a complete User Experience. The place of regular education still has no alternative but the content of the world has changed and people are having to keep up with it. The learning experience of distance education is also expected to improve and integrate learning experiences to make online learning platforms more inclusive. Together we can reach a point where distance education will be an inseparable part of our life.