Importance of Distance education
Distance education or distance learning is a form of education that originated with the development of correspondence education, over 200 years ago. However, due to the presence of many external factors (social stigma and lack of technological aids), it could not reach its full potential until the last 10 years.
With the rapid development of technology and the Internet, distance education could finally realize its initial idea – to provide quality home learning to students who were unable to attend regular classes due to financial, spatial/geographical or other reasons.
Although the popularity of distance education has significantly increased in recent years, the original paradigm of what distance education actually means has changed a lot in the last five years. In other words, distance education has made a transition in the last decade, first through its implementation in the form of online courses, to reach its today’s position where it is regularly implemented in secondary education institutions and higher education.
Why is distance education important?
An increasing importance of technology and the Internet in our everyday life has also left an impact on the education system. In recent years, educational institutions have been faced with a choice, to combine technological innovation with traditional teaching (blended learning) and enable remote learning on the one hand, or to stick to traditional, face-to-face learning that could potentially cause a drop in the number of enrolled students in the near future if technology demands increase, perhaps even forcing them to close down permanently.
Many secondary schools and colleges have accepted a new curriculum based on distance learning. Distance education itself brings many challenges, the most important being the lack of face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers, potential threats to student mental health due to isolation, and a decline in grade point average and acquired knowledge.
However, all these concerns are a natural reaction to sudden changes, which is perfectly normal. The experience with the implementation of distance education so far has proven it to be very practical, both for students and teachers, and for educational institutions.
The main benefits
With the arrival of the Internet, and introduction of digital technologies into people’s homes, physical boundaries, which were the main reason for inefficient communication among people, have started to disappear. Since technology has made such a big leap forward, people have almost entirely lost their subjective ability to distinguish between the real and the virtual world. That said, it becomes clearer how much the business world has changed and how many more changes await in the future.
Thus, distance education represents a transitional period for many young and older people, but also an adequate preparation for new challenges that await them in the business world. For that reason, we will list the main benefits of distance learning below, so that you can consider them before applying for some form of formal online education.
It saves money
Financial constraints are one of the main reasons why most young people cannot afford quality education. Student loans, rent, and other related expenses have proven to be a heavy burden for many individuals and their families in the long run. However, in the last few years, there has been a significant drop in tuition fees, primarily in secondary schools and colleges, due to the introduction of the distance education option.
Namely, not only did the tuition fees drop because the school/educational institution’s facilities and inventory were no longer used, but the expenses related to food, accommodation and all the other needs students have on a daily basis dropped as well. So, if you don’t have enough money for a quality education, you should consider distance education.
It is flexible in many ways
The flexibility of distance education is reflected in many areas of students’ lives, and it brings various benefits. Here are some of them:
You can get a degree from anywhere in the world
One of the best things about online learning is the fact that students from all over the world can get any degree they want, which had previously been impossible due to geographical constraints. Only a few years ago, talented children from certain European countries couldn’t study in the US due to complicated paperwork and overly strict administrative requirements.
Things have changed, however, thanks to the Internet and technologies that significantly simplified the application and enrollment process, helping applicants to skip the state administrative protocol that awaits any individual who wants to travel to the US. So, with the introduction of the digital education option, there was a change of the educational paradigm which used to be closely related to the country where the educational institution was located..
It saves time
With the population and population density growth in the big cities in the 21st century, free time has become one of the most valuable human resources. Many students who live miles away from their school lose an entire hour or an hour and a half on average only to get to school. However, with the introduction of distance learning as an integral part of formal education, students who lost a lot of time commuting are now able to attend lessons through video conferencing.
You can learn at your own pace
With the appearance of online learning platforms, students have been given a wide selection of approaches to learning. Namely, students who attend educational institutions that support asynchronous learning have the freedom to organize their time as they see fit. In other words, students can adjust learning to their own pace and schedule, and they can rewind and rewatch lectures which allows them to be more focused, and to learn with more ease. This approach to learning best works for those students who possess good time-management skills and who are able to meet the deadlines for assignments, presentations, and test preparations.
Working and studying is possible
One of the hardest things for students is to coordinate between their job and their school responsibilities that are usually time-bound. However, with the flexibility of deadlines for tests and assignments, and the freedom to organize their obligations as they see fit, students can reconcile working and studying for the first time. So, the final product of this benefit for students is the ability to achieve several academic goals at once, and to gain professional experience while still at school.
It is more effective and relevant
The original purpose of education was to prepare young people to become respectable citizens, and to prepare them for the demands of the business world. However, as the time passed, children were less and less prepared for the world outside their educational institutions, which caused a crisis of education. The only adequate solution able to respond to these sudden changes was the introduction of distance education, which proved to be a much more effective approach in a very short time.
Enabling students to organize their responsibilities from home and on their own, giving them access to learning materials, and allowing them to interact with their teachers and peers through digital technologies has given rise to many soft skills that will be useful long after completing formal education. Distance education has primarily enabled students to develop technical skills, approach problem solving more pragmatically, and to learn to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.
Speaking of relevance, distance education has far surpassed traditional degrees. Namely, new data and research in all scientific disciplines are published every day around the world. Thanks to the availability of latest research, teachers can provide students with an insight into new scientific discoveries, which makes their education more up-to-date and relevant.
Broader networking opportunities
This benefit suprasses any traditional classroom. We all know that social connections are one of the key factors in predicting a person’s business success. That said, students in online classrooms are able to meet their peers from other parts of their country, and from all around the world for the first time. Communication via video conferencing enables young people to make contact and potentially establish friendships that could turn into long-term business partnerships.
Is distance education the right thing for you?
After reading this text, you’ve noticed that distance education is a new form of education that adequately prepares students for the demands of the labor market. If we accept the assumption that worldwide technological development will continue in the years to come, it is only a matter of time before distance education becomes the dominant way of obtaining a degree.
So, if you want to be the master of your own time and responsibilities, if you don’t want to consider geographical constraints and pay high tuitions, if you want to have access to the latest learning materials and become independent, then you’ve just answered the question of whether distance education is the right choice for you.