Benefit of Distance Learning Education

What is your concept of distance learning education? Do you think you know? Distance learning is one of those things that has been changing so much in the past few years that there are many opinions and definitions floating around out there. Despite that fact, since it is so much in the public eye, most of these conceptions are being distilled down to one simple meaning: distance learning is simply a form of education where the instructor and the class body are in different physical locations.

Distance learning used to only be conducted by snail mail and an occasional telephone call; that was all that technology allowed. But as communication technology has evolved, the distance learning community saw the opportunity hopped on the wagon. Now, it has incorporated the Internet, television, and video and audio conferences.

Typically what kind of equipment is used? To a large extent, it depends on the scope and orientation of the specific type of degree a student is seeking. It also depends on the culture of the particular school. However, it is reasonably safe to say that the student will at the minimum need a personal computer with access to a high speed Internet provider. In most cases, the computer hardware must be able to handle audio and video processing. The computer will certainly need a word processing program and, depending on the course work, specific software. This might be a drafting program such as AutoCAD or a programming compiler just to mention a couple of possibilities.

A myriad of students can benefit from distance learning. Many working people nowadays are incredibly busy with an increased work load and important family obligations. But to stay ahead in their profession, they need to keep up with the changes. Or, it might be someone fresh out of high school with no campus nearby. Increasingly, baby boomers are retiring, but are in such good health they just don’t want to retire; they are financially secure and want to pursue that dream career but just don’t want to be part of contemporary campus life.

As long as the student can satisfy all the requirements for eligibility, he can certainly take advantage of the distance learning education system. As with any other educational system, there are fees and tuition, but there are many ways to fund the class work such as grants, financial aid and student loans.

What kind of student might not expect to benefit from distance learning? Although the freedom and flexibility of distance learning makes it a highly effective way to gain a quality education, it just does not work for some people.

Who might fall into this category? Procrastinators, for one. Because of the very nature of this kind of learning, the student must have a strong sense of self discipline and an ability to budget his time so that he meets all deadlines.

Another scenario where distance learning might not work is the case where the student’s house is full of screaming children and a nagging spouse. All these distractions might very well make in impossible to concentrate. And concentrate you must because even distance learning has term papers and final exams!

Other students might be attracted to the other things associated with higher education such as a sports program or clubs and associations. You certainly won’t get any of this with distance learning. Other personality types require quite a bit of open dialog between themselves, the instructor, and their classmates in order to fully absorb learning concepts. Other than video or audio conferencing, this is severely lacking in the world of distance learning. The bottom line is: while deciding whether distance learning is for you, focus on both the pros and cons.

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