Weigh the advantages and disadvantages before choosing distance education.
There’s nothing quite like the comforts of home, even when it comes to getting an education. The age of the internet has transformed the way we do a lot of things, including the way we learn. It’s now possible to get a diploma or earn a degree without leaving the house, and in spite of job or family commitments.
While this scenario sounds great, its always advantageous to look at both sides of the coin before choosing the right path for you.
Advantages of Distance Learning
The time and energy saved through distance education can be astronomical. Avoiding a hectic commute and the hassle of trying to make it to class on time can help keep your mind free of stress and anxiety. When the weather turns bad, forget about fighting the elements, just turn on the coffee pot. If you live in a remote area, choosing distance education can mean living in your own home in comfortable surroundings instead of packing up and moving to an unfamiliar place.
With distance education, you’ll be able to study at your own pace and do course work at a time that fits with your busy life. You are the master of your own schedule and can choose to stay up late if you’re a nighthawk, or hit the books early if you’re a morning person.
Less Interruption of Daily Life
Distance education allows you to continue your full or part-time work schedule or even look after a family or other commitments while you earn a degree, diploma or certificate. You’ll have the best of both worlds, without too much of an interruption to your daily routine.
Tuition for on-campus courses is usually more expensive than for distance learning courses. This is understandable since a physical location must be maintained and faculty must be paid. With distance education, you’ll also save money on commutting or paying for a residence within the vicinity of the school. If you want an education but have to live within a budget, this option could be financially feasible for you.
Disadvantages of Distance Learning
The classroom setting creates an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. As is the case with some who work from home, students who are isolated may find it difficult to be self-disciplined enough to complete the course requirements. Face to face interaction with other students creates a learning environment with social interaction and a network of support.
Indirect Contact with Professors
Often, a teacher is a lot more than someone who just dispenses facts and figures. Many students benefit greatly from direct contact with a professional instructor who adds personal experience, valuable guidance and, last but not least, motivation and encouragement to succeed in their studies.
Lack of the ‘College Spirit’
Many feel that post-secondary education should be an ‘experience’ which includes more than just classroom learning. Distance education lacks the on-campus atmosphere and ‘college experience’ that for some is one of the main reasons for attending. In fact, in some views there is still a stigma attached to distance education.
Limited Course Options
There is an increasing variety of accredited courses available through distance education, however, there are some programs that still require in-class work such as hands-on practical applications and experimentation, etc.
If you’re a highly driven, self-disciplined person with a busy personal schedule who likes to work on your own, distance education could be for you. However, if you’re a social person who thrives in the structured environment of a classroom with face-to-face interaction, you might decide that regular learning is a better fit for you. Either way, you can pursue higher education and reach your goals.