18 October 2019

Should you consider distance learning?

Distance learning is a method of study that enables students to work remotely rather than attend face to face lessons. The number of people choosing distance learning options, such as gaining a degree with The Open University, is on the rise but is it the right option for you? 

Advantages of distance learning
There are many advantages to distance learning but the three key benefits are: 

  1. You can study from anywhere
    With distance learning, you can study from anywhere as you aren’t limited to needing to physically attend a certain university. You can study in bed in your pyjamas, or out in a cafe with a hot chocolate, or on holiday, you can literally study from anywhere.
  2. You can study around your life
    Distance learning enables people to study around their lives. Whether they have children who they need to look after, work commitments that they need to attend to or other things they need to prioritise. The flexibility of online distance learning is a common appeal to most applicants and makes education accessible even to those with other commitments.
  3. The cost of studying is often cheaper
    Distance learning is often a lot cheaper than other education options, saving you tuition costs, commuting costs and living costs. This helps to make it accessible to everyone. 

Disadvantages of distance learning

As with any type of learning, distance learning is not for everyone and some of the commonly cited disadvantages include:
  1. It requires a lot of self-motivation
    The flexibility and remote nature of distance learning can make it difficult for some people to stay motivated. Without a classroom and set learning times people can fall behind, so it’s important to recognise if you have the motivation to complete a remote learning course.
  2. It can feel isolating
    Whereas conventional universities will put you face to face with your peers on a regular basis and provide opportunities to socialise with your classmates and lecturers during trips like university trips to Washington, distance learning means spending a lot of time alone. Some people struggle to build relationships and feel isolated during distance learning.
  3. Some employers still feel online and distance learning is inferior
    Although attitudes are changing some employers still regard distance learning and online education as inferior to traditional methods. This is changing but it is still something to be aware of as you may come up against it in the future. 
Is distance learning for you?
If you’re considering distance learning then weigh up the positives and negatives of the situation carefully. What some people will see as a negative of distance learning, such as lack of peer to peer interaction, others may see as a positive and vice versa. To help you make up your mind, research the course you want to do and the provider you are thinking of using and speak with them in person, ask them every question you have to make sure you have a clear picture of what will be required of you and once you have all of the information you will be in a better place to make an informed decision. 


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