Distance education or Distance Learning has come a long since it revolutionized the way education reached people and more advancement is only to be expected in our technology driven world. Distance education began even before computers and terminals could be hooked up to networks and classrooms beamed live from anywhere in the world.
Online education experts are finding ways to overcome the perceived disadvantages of online learning or e-learning as it is more commonly known. As technological developments evolve from day to day, it may continue to add more advantages to students.
There are many obvious advantages that go with e-learning. The three distinct categories that these advantages can be slotted under are:
Flexibility and Convenience
1. Ease of accessibility: Students can access e-learning courseware whenever they need it to review notes, lectures, discussions and demos. Community learning is also facilitated when students share notes with one another.
2. Flexibility: Since all that a student needs is a computer and Internet access to log in to study material, this is a very convenient option for professionals, working students and others to ‘attend classes’ without disrupting their work schedules.
3. Range of options: Some online colleges have been known to develop programs that are not offered by regular institutions giving students a wider reach of degree programs.
4. Study time control: Unlike on-campus courses that are typically slotted in rigid formats for classes and study time, slot online learning provides options to pause lessons if needed and extend study times as found convenient.
1. Money saver: Students can save money by having the advantage of not physically attending classes. Online learning cuts down on transportation and incidental expenses like babysitting, housekeeping etc. in the case of parents and homemakers.
2. Fewer expenses on textbooks: some online learning classes do away with physical textbooks making available reading material through libraries or digital publishers. E-textbooks provide substantial savings to students.
1. Interaction: Online learning is less intimidating than a regular classroom giving options for every voice to be heard and ideas shared thus helping interaction between students.
2. Online communication: This provides a more comfortable option for students to talk openly with instructors and counselors rather than face-to-face. Online communication also cuts down on time otherwise spent on physical meetings depending on availability of people.
3. More time to absorb study material: A U.S. Department of Education study finds that positive results are gained by students opting for online courses. The study notes that students learning online spend more time to understand material and tasks than those in a regular classroom setting.