As we know, world is getting small and we are living in a global village. A person sitting in one corner of the world can talk to a person sitting on the other side of the world.
Technology has really shrunk the world. Technology has affected every aspect of our daily life. No one has remained untouched with this revolution.
However, in this article we shall discuss an aspect where technology has really made a big change and that is distance education.
Now you can sit in a remote area of a country and learn everything as if you are sitting in a college classroom.
Distance education has really changed the way we see higher education. It is a growing phenomenon around the world and people are interested to know more about it.
Before you make a decision to join distance education you should know what are advantages and disadvantages of distance learning.
Advantages of Distance Education
Study from Anywhere, Anytime
The best thing about the distance education is you could learn it from anywhere and at anytime. It does not matter in part of the country you are living you can join the course and start learning.
Even if your course is offered by an international school you could easily get access to course material if you are a citizen of a different country.
Get all the knowledge and training anywhere you reside on the planet.
Flexibility of Time
Normally, distance education offers flexibility of time. It gives complete freedom to choose your own time for taking up the course.
If you do not have time in day then you can learn at night or some other time because only thing that you need is a computer with an internet connection.
You do not need to go in person and submit anything. Time is the most important thing and you could save it through joining distance learning.
I hate commuting. If you are opting for a distance education then you do not have to commute in crowded buses or local trains.
As I said earlier, you need a computer with an internet connection in your home. Entire college would be in your bedroom and you do not have to go out.
Commuting is the most difficult part because you waste a lot of time, money and more importantly the energy. No one likes commuting for long hours.
Plethora of Schools and Colleges to Choose
There are many schools and colleges now that offer distance education. Hence you will not find any problem in finding a college.
You could choose a college which is best for you. In India, IGNOU is a great university for offering distance education. Although you do have to attend few classes in a week but it gives you real flexibility.
Similarly there are many other colleges & universities like IGNOU where you can join and get your education distantly.
This is another great advantage of distance education. The total cost that you incur for joining Distance College is very less compared to joining a regular college.
If you are from a poor background then you could easily afford the distance college. Moreover, the fees for certain courses are in distance learning are very less compared to learning in a full time normal college.
Hence, if you feel you have shortage of money then you could get quality education at low price.
Learn While Working
You can learn or pursue your college while you are working. As I said earlier distance education offers complete flexibility of choosing time.
The distance learning is not going to conflict with timings of your day job. You could work all day and study at night or vice-versa.
Therefore if you are a working professional then you could choose distance education without affecting your 9 to 5 job.
Moreover, it is really good for the housewives who can learn sitting in their home.
So these were advantages of distance education.
Disadvantages of Distance Education
However, with advantages there are some serious shortcomings of distance education. Here are they.
No Interaction with Teachers and Professors
The worst thing about distance education is you cannot interact with your college professor or teachers.
In fact, you cannot even talk to friends and other colleagues that you do in a normal college course.
You seriously miss the human aspect because you are only engaging with the technology and machines.
You will not be able to socially mingle with your friends and enjoy a normal college life.
Moreover, if you have any doubt then you have to clear yourself without taking help from your teacher or friends.
Lack of Seriousness, Competition and Learning Environment
Sometimes you cannot replace a real college environment with a virtual college environment on your computer.
In distance education you lack a seriousness that is present in a classroom when lecture is given by the professor.
Moreover, here you are alone and you do not have anybody to compete because you are alone.
Without any competition you tend to learn less. Therefore the overall learning environment in a distance education is lot different than a regular college.
Job Markets Do Not Accept Online Degrees
This is could be quite dangerous if you are totally relying on distance education for a degree. You might get a degree but that is not going to be recognized by privates companies in the job market and the same problem in government jobs.
Still employers prefer a degree from a regular college over online or distance education. They think that distance education is still not a serious form of education.
Therefore, if you think you will get a job with an online degree then you might be wrong.
Not All Courses Are Available and Can be Learned through Distance Education
Moreover, online courses or distance education has some serious limitations when it comes to offering courses.
You want to do specialization or major in a particular subject then it might not be available for you.
Moreover, there are certain courses in which practical demonstration is more important than lectures on videos. So you cannot learn such courses.
Format of Courses Not Suitable for Everyone
Format of online courses are not suitable for everyone. Sometimes you will not understand anything what is taught through an online video.
Certain students could never understand what they are trying to teach you.
So this is another limitation of distance education.
Internet Availability and Affordability
Finally, this is sad reality that everyone cannot afford a computer and an Internet connection because you need these things for distant learning.
All the lectures and conferences that would be given would through a webinar and you need a high speed internet connection.
Many people cannot afford it. So they cannot join a distance education college because of their financial condition.
So there were advantages and disadvantages of distance education. There are advantages and some disadvantages but the bottom line is if you want to learn something new then you could take up a distance learning course.
However, you cannot rely on it imagining that it is going to give you a job one day because employers still do not prefer distance education.
So don’t think of getting a degree through distance education but you can use it to learn something new.