Distance learning, often called an online class, is a type of remote education where classes between teachers and students are not conducted in a classroom setting but through video calls, chat, email, mail, etc. Thanks to the power of the Internet, education has taken an online dimension which is now widely known among students.
Like any new form of technology, only a few students enrolled in distance learning programs a few years back. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that enrollments for this type of class skyrocketed.
For many of us who are used to the traditional education format, we will learn here how distance learning works and why colleges allow it.
How Does Distance Learning Work?
The distance learning framework did not start instantly like what some of us may think. Its inception was a gradual process, influenced by modern technology. Professors and teachers introduced the early forms of distance learning through correspondences using email or mail. Some colleges and universities struggle with finding substitute teachers when their teachers are on indefinite leave and allowed correspondences as an early form of distance learning.
The various applications of the Internet have inspired educational institutions around the world to take an alternate approach to education without the need to occupy their classrooms. This new educational direction led to the formation of distance learning colleges and traditional colleges offering distance learning alternatives. Distance learning utilizes the Internet and uses different class systems such as video conferencing, synchronous learning, asynchronous learning, and hybrid learning. Essentially, distance learning does not involve personal interactions between students and their teachers or study peers. With a stable internet connection and a computer or mobile device, you can start a distance learning program to get your studies on track.
Why Do Colleges Allow Distance Learning?
There are various reasons why colleges allow distance learning or even embrace this type of learning format. Gaining a competitive edge and promoting their educational institutions are among the top reasons for adopting distance learning in colleges. Colleges need wider exposure and recognition to increase their admission and retention rates. Distance learning through online mediums has been gaining traction before the COVID-19 pandemic. In a way, the pandemic served to accelerate the pace of acceptance of distance learning among students, educators, and educational institutions. Those who are insistent on sticking to the traditional classroom format are forced to adopt distance learning either temporarily or permanently. Even when the pandemic ends, distance learning will remain a significant educational format in the future.
What Are The Benefits Of Distance Learning?
Flexibility and freedom are two notable benefits of distance learning. Learners are no longer constrained by the classroom environment and schedules and can learn their lessons at their own pace. They can choose the place, time, and medium for their lessons. For those who are comfortable with real-time lessons and interactions with their teachers, there is a video conferencing option. Students who have other priorities such as a job, parenting demands, and other responsibilities can opt for a flexible class schedule or an open-schedule online course. Those who have a definite schedule or routine can select fixed-time online courses.
Wider access to educational resources is another advantage of distance learning. Teachers are more open to different reference materials in distance learning, and students no longer need to bring stacks of books to study.
Savings and convenience are other benefits you can gain from distance learning. Online courses use fewer physical resources and costs compared to classroom-based courses, which lowers the cost of education. Online-only universities eliminate the need for infrastructure costs and students also gain recognized and accredited degrees, certificates, and qualifications equivalent to their school-based counterparts.
Technology is also changing the way education is delivered and pursued nowadays. We are no longer limiting ourselves to learning in classrooms as more distance learning opportunities are offered. Distance learning is also providing equal opportunities for higher education access to people around the world. As such, we are gaining traction in achieving the ultimate goal of giving quality education to everyone.