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What are the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning?

February 04,2011 by: Maxim Thomas

Distance learning is gaining popularity with time. A very efficient and valid way of increasing one’s professional and educational knowledge, more and more people are choosing to opt for distance learning programs rather than going for the traditional methods of earning higher degrees.

Distance learning has its advantages and disadvantages. It is for the person who wishes to avail distance learning as a means of gaining additional skills, to weigh the pros and cons of the program before joining a valid education program online.

Advantages of distance education

1. Distance learning provides its students the convenience of time. In the present work scenario an employee will have to face many obstacles to restart his educational aspirations along with fulfilling his other work commitments. Here distance learning comes to play a big role as it makes it possible for an employee to continue with his job and his education together without disturbing the schedule of any. Since the learning schedule is flexible therefore distance education is very convenient for students to attend.

2. In normal traditional methods of learning a student remains confined to only those courses that are being offered by the institute. In distance learning the courses offered are of wide variety and not limited to that offered by the colleges itself. Learning becomes more accessible and does not remain confined to boundaries or places.

3. Distance learning incurs lesser expenses than normal traditional methods of learning. The main reason behind this is the fact that while in distance learning the basic need is that of computer and internet access only, in traditional learning the whole learning process needs to be set up starting from classrooms to playrooms and toilets etc. This makes distance learning cost effective than traditional learning.


  1. The main disadvantage of distance learning is that the instructions are provided via internet and no interaction occurs between the instructor and the student. There might be topics that require elaborate explanation or students might have doubts to clear. Distance learning system does not provide that option to students.
  2. The course materials available in distance learning are through the different letters and emails. Audio and video tapes are also supplied to help the students understand the concepts. This is another drawback as in traditional learning techniques, students get to have hands on experience making learning more interesting.

Distance learning does not allow students to learn the benefits of group learning. Ideas and concepts cannot be shared and students more or less get confined to the materials supplied by the online institutes.

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