Although distance learning has established itself as a viable education option for years, many people, who are more familiar with traditional campus-based schools, hold preconceived notions about online education.
However, the more consumers learn about this technologically driven form of education, the more they realize that distance learning can be just as valuable, if not more so for some individuals, than traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
Classroom instruction offers a higher-quality of education compared to distance learning.
The truth is there is no evidence supporting the assertion that the education students receive in a classroom environment is in any way superior to the education they can receive online. In fact, a growing amount of evidence has demonstrated that online education is on average as good as classroom instruction. The book “The No Significant Difference Phenomenon” offers a glimpse at the findings from several studies revealing that distance learning offers the same quality of education as traditional classrooms.
Distance learning students lose interaction with instructors and other students.
While some distance learning programs offer independent study with limited communications with instructors, there are many online education courses designed to facilitate significant interaction between a student and his or her instructor as well as with other students enrolled in the class. Such programs included features such as virtual team projects, online study groups and threaded discussions. In addition, distance learning often can help some students feel more comfortable in class discussions. A student who is intimidated by the thought of speaking in front of 200 students might feel at ease offering his or her viewpoints in an online environment.
Employers value degrees earned from classroom instruction more than those earned from an online school.
Today, more and more employers are finding that distance learning can be as valuable as classroom learning for their employees. In fact, some employers might prefer distance learning to more traditional schools because of online education’s flexibility – a distance learning course might be less likely to interfere with a company’s day-to-day business compared to a campus-based program of study. According to a recent study by Eduventures, Inc., more than 62 percent of employers consider the value of distance learning to be equal to or greater than that of traditional instruction.
The role of the teacher is less important in distance learning programs.
In reality, the role of a distance learning instructor is no less important than that of a traditional instructor – it is just slightly different. In fact, some teachers have reported that distance learning actually can take up more of their time because of the need to be as responsive as possible via email. In addition, teachers of distance learning courses have found that their role has changed in a positive way – while traditionally, they might spend much of their time delivering instruction in the classroom, with distance learning, they are able to free up more time to interact with students as mentors and advisers.
A distance learning degree is easier to earn than a degree from a traditional school.
Distance learning is not a short cut to a degree. While there are unscrupulous diploma mills out there that essentially sell degrees, an accredited distance learning program can be just as challenging as traditional programs. Some students have found that they actually read more, write more and do more research in a distance learning course, primarily because they spend less time sitting in a classroom and more time on their actual studies.
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