Benefits of Distance Learning
Different forms of distance learning have been in existence for ages now. Course material was once delivered by mail and an education away from school was always an alternative, albeit not entirely a popular one at the time. But all this changed with the advent of computers and the Internet. Thanks to e-mail, multi-media learning tools, video-conferencing and interactive communication, distance learning has reached an entirely new level of acceptance. Statistics show that there are nearly 1.6 million students in the U.S. today taking advantage of online education.
So, what does distance learning imply nowadays? To put it simply, distance learning is a means of education, which has done away with the traditional format of an educational premise or establishment. Brick and mortar institutions have given way to degree programs and courses available round the clock on the Internet and accessible from anywhere in the world. As more and more schools and colleges include virtual education into their curriculum, the quality of distance learning also improves. It is however, still imperative to verify that the institution offering the online degree is fully accredited by the necessary agencies – governmental or non-governmental – so as to ensure that the quality of training and education meets all the levels required.
There are several advantages to distance learning. Some of them are:
• Distance learning offers flexibility. As long as you have an Internet connection and a computer, you can study when you want and where you want. It also offers flexibility for those juggling other commitments such as a job or family responsibilities.
• Online degree programs are a boon for those who have accessibility issues regarding the school or college of their choice. This could mean that they live too far away to commute (or even in a different state or country) or are restricted in terms of mobility – they might be injured, handicapped or elderly.
• There is no waste of resources or time involved through commuting to class, transport costs and even parking fees.
• As an online student, you will have access to the most current material available as well as have the opportunity to be taught by faculty from around the world. The Internet has removed all geographical boundaries and distance learning can help foster a larger worldview through interaction with students and perspectives from all corners of the world.
• Distance learning propagates self-paced learning. Students need to learn how to pace themselves and concentrate on areas that require more attention. The advantage is that there is no need to wait for slower students in a class to catch up or lag behind the quicker students as seen in a traditional classroom setting. Students also have the opportunity to join chat rooms and forums at any point of time to hash out solutions and discuss problems with the course with other students and faculty online.
Distance degree programs can be less expensive than a traditional degree program with lower tuition fees and costs saved on accommodation, travel, parking, babysitting and the like as students will be studying from home. Scholarships and financial aid is also available for online students as they are for on-campus ones.
There is no doubt that an online distance learning degree can benefit many but before enrolling for any course, do all your homework about the college or institution. There are a profusion of diploma mills out there that offer degrees at ridiculously cheap rates. This is mainly possible as there is hardly any education involved in such scenarios. Avoid the temptation to cut costs and choose a college that is recognized as a valid establishment by potential employers and save time and money in the long run.
There are a number of excellent accredited online institutions in the country today, so go ahead and make full use of the tremendous opportunities available at your disposal and take that leap into a more successful future.