Distance Learning: its Advantages and Disadvantages

UDC 37.018.43
Publication date: 04.08.2016
International Journal of Professional Science №1-2016

Distance Learning: its Advantages and Disadvantages

Kegeyan Svetlana Erihovna
Sochi State University, Sochi
Abstract: Distance learning has become popular in higher institutions because of its flexibility and availability to learners and teachers at anytime, regardless of geographic location. With so many definitions and phases of distance education, this paper only focuses on the delivery mode of distance education (the use of information technology), background, and its disadvantages and advantages for today’s learners.
Keywords: distance learning, e-learning, interaction, virtual learning facility, advantages, disadvantages

Distance learning is defined as a kind of open learning using computer and telecommunication facilities that provide interactivity of teachers and students at different stages of training and individual work with the latest materials information network, most of which prepared by teachers. The main objective of distance education is to provide education to those individuals who cannot attend classes in traditional schools and colleges. In such an educational program the learners and the source of information are separated by time and distance. Distance education is now recognized all over the world due to the advancement of technology. Distance learning is increasingly becoming an alternative in education, industry, large corporation, and various government entities, by and large when students, employees are far and wide spread geographically within and outside that region in which the course has been taken place. As a result of this success, the benefits of distance learning have led many higher educational institutions to implement some distance learning classes, even if on an experimental basis. [2]. Distance Education is one of the modes of education that facilitates flexibility of place and availability of time. Whenever you feel comfortable to study you can carry on with your studies. Rather to attend daily classes in regular colleges and universities it is easy as well beneficial to carry on with your job work and during holiday or at weekend you can go through with your further education. There are several points that one must keep in mind deciding courses and colleges of distance education. Like fees structure, admission criteria, course contents, internship programs, how much it is matched with market trends, weekend classes, study material, reputation of particular college and university in the market, exams dates and so on. All these help you in selecting best distance education universities or colleges and courses as well. [1]. Education is the ladder to enrich knowledge and achieve success. Higher education builds up the strong pillar to prop you up throughout your journey to accomplishment. The routes to learning differ from each other but all of them converge to the same melting point and that is the acme of success. Distance learning is a comparatively new and innovative alternative to conventional studies. Distance learning came into existence with the sole aim to provide education to the school and college dropouts. It got good response from those who could not continue their studies due to either financial penury or ordinary merit. When ‘learning from distance’ idea penetrated into the education arena, these individuals saw a streak of hope to embellish their portfolios. With a slow but steady pace, distance learning caught the attention of the professionals who wanted to further their education. The working personnel are eager to earn advanced degrees but time is the constraint for them to fulfill their desire. If they have to go back to the regular studies, they need a break from job but most of them are reluctant to accept this proposal. [3]. Distance learning is the only solution for them to earn higher degrees without any need to go for furlough. Even the students consider the unconventional mode of learning as the stepping stone to success. Some of them register their names in a distance learning program to do vocational courses while continuing their graduation or post-graduation studies from the brick and mortar institutes. Most of the students as well as professionals are interested in distance learning MBA program. The professionals scour for an opportunity to climb to higher position on strength of management degree. The students who could not make it to the elite management schools join the distance learning management courses to make their personal dossiers impressive to the employers. The off-campus institutes have included many an industry-oriented course to make the candidates eligible for the emanating demand in different sectors. The fine and rare blend of theoretical lecture and practical exposure is what highlights this contemporary mode of education. Over time, the employers have shrugged off their apathy towards the off-campus learning program. Many individuals who have earned management degree through distance learning mode are flooded with offers from the prestigious companies worldwide. The professionals with a distance learning MBA degree under their belts is experiencing substantial hike in their pay package. The employers are in quest of dash of professionalism in the candidates who can implement their theoretical knowledge in the practical field. It matters little to them whether a candidate has got his degree through regular or distance mode. Distance learning has embraced modern methodology to impart training to the ambitious learners. Net based study program has been introduced to arrange for virtual learning facility. With e-learning approach to education, popularity of distance learning is spreading near and far. From the tony areas to the remotest corners, unconventional learning has secured dominant presence by garnering overwhelming response. [5]. When studying to gain a further qualification there are a number of learning options open to students. The one they choose to select will reflect their current lifestyle restrictions and broader career aims, and will generally be the course that the student finds the most conveniently suitable for their needs. The system of distance education, as well as any system, imperfect and has its advantages and disadvantages . Advantages of  Distance Learning

  •  Distance learning does not require the student to commute to campus for class; he or she simply needs internet access to be present in the lectures and discussions. This saves the student both time and money, allowing the student to study and complete their class assignments at their own home.
  • Students could still earn their online degrees even while keeping up with the demands of a job. This gives an advantage to working students and employed adults, allowing them to balance their work and education despite a busy lifestyle.
  • Online classes allow its students flexibility in managing the study programs in their schedules as they see fit. This is convenient for the students because they could arrange time for their classes and other responsibilities any way they want to.
  • Studying online allows the student to learn more about the internet and improve their computer skills, making them more familiar with technology. They could also use this extra experience and knowledge in other facets of their lives.
  • Distance learning allows self-paced study. Whether the student is fast or slow learner, he or she could learn at their own pace with little trouble compared to actual classroom discussions. This also reduces stress on the student’s part. [4].

Disadvantages of Distance Learning

  • There is the risk of the student lacking discipline to follow through with the curriculum. Because the classes take place on the internet, there are many distractions that could hamper the student’s focus on the lesson. There could also be some form of dishonesty among the online students.
  • Because distance learning wholly depends on computers and technology, any difficulties with equipment or connection would hamper the student’s progress in the program. Also, having such equipment and maintaining internet connection could be costly. [4].
  • Distance learning may not always provide all necessary courses a university has to offer. There are some courses that may not be suitable to be taught online, and requires attendance in an actual classroom setting.
  • A degree or certificate earned from distance learning would not be accepted by some employers. This is because these kinds of employers associate a certain stigma to online learning.
  • Because classes take place online, there is little development in oral communication skills. The experience of interacting through online means is different from that of traditional courses, and there is the lack of proper social interaction. [4].

Many studies have attempted to find out whether distance education differs from traditional modes of instruction when referring to facilitating student success. The majority of these studies reported no significant differences between the distance and traditional modalities. Most important, the design of such type of research (whether comparative or evaluative) clearly places emphasis on the importance of the method of delivering instruction and is consistent with the instructivist (instructor-centered) learning theory but inconsistent with the constructivist (learnercentered) theory, which is more concerned with the role of the student in learning than with the role of the instructor in teaching. [6]. Distance learning is seen as a viable alternative for lifelong learning opportunities, including informal courses, professional development tutorials, and full degree programs. The growth of online courses, enhanced by the ease of access, media attention, and interest from the private sector, has increased demand, and efforts are underway to respond with various online learning activities.


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