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Distance Learning: Advantages and Disadvantages

Distance learning gives non-traditional students an alternative to attending campus and classrooms. Through distance learning or distance education, students could avail online college or online high school education and earn their online degrees with the use of simple internet connection. Graduates and employees could also advance their skills and knowledge with the distance education option, which allows them to earn continuing education certificates to add to their credentials.

The advantages and disadvantages of distance learning includes the following,

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.
  • 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.