Distance learning is not a novel phenomenon. It has assisted higher-education institutions for a long time. COVID-19 in 2020 has only accelerated its maturation.
What’s distance learning?
Distance education, as opposed to face-to-face conventional education, is a method that uses online platforms for discourse between students and educators. It allows students to study remotely, beyond the bounds of a classroom.
Before the pandemic, online distance learning was generally perceived as a good alternative to traditional on-campus education, for those that had no other option. The world did not consider it would transform education so quickly. After 2020, leaders have shifted their angle. They now believe e-learning and education in classrooms should be at the same standard. Who knows, maybe soon they will advocate for remote schooling to become the modus operandi. As parents of young children howl in despair at the very thought, this option remains to be seen.
Advantages and disadvantages of distance learning
Distance learning 2021 is a continuation from remote schooling in 2020. This article will reveal the perks and demerits of this means of education, especially those observed when it went mainstream during the pandemic. This information is important, as it provides awareness to students and educators. It helps them to identify where they are doing great and where they can improve.
Generally, considering the outcomes of remote education in 2020, scholars believe that the benefits of using online education, e-learning platforms outweigh the drawbacks. Below are the benefits of e-learning online education.
- You have the opportunity to learn at any time
E-learning school education is flexible in terms of time management. The classes are usually nonsynchronous and students have the opportunity to decide when they would like to take lessons. This means, a person can first attend to other activities that are critical, only to begin studies when they have become settled. A clear mind is required to effectively absorb new content from lectures.
- You have the opportunity to study at your own pace
It’s important to note that most people have varying speeds of understanding. Some need to go over and over a topic or concept before they master it. This is where e-learning and education in physical classrooms contrast sharply.
E-learning in teacher education allows people to get the knack of a topic at their own pace. This gives them a good chance of consuming all the information they need. Conventional classes do not give that same opportunity. The lecturer will tutor at a certain speed, hoping that everyone is following. To keep up with the lecturer, students are often pressed between paying attention and taking notes for later use.
These factors make e-learning online education the go-to method for demanding courses like medicine. E-learning in medical education allows undergrads to leisurely review their school work while also benefiting from e-learning sites online education. They can pause, slowdown and repeat the media (lectures and discussions) that are sent to them. This enables them to fully understand what they are studying.
- You can study any place
Another contrasting feature between e-learning and education in the classroom is that online education is independent of location. That’s right, a person can stay anywhere while studying with their school of choice. The greatest requirement here is a computer and a good internet connection.
Remote schooling is also advantageous for special needs children. Through e-learning for special education, they can study from the comfort of their homes. E-learning special education is not only beneficial for disabled students, but also for quick and slow learners who would rather learn at their own pace, with minimum stress in the comfort of their homes.
- Offers on the job training
Remote schooling enables a person to obtain additional skills on the use of computers and the internet. These skills may come in handy in one’s career later in life. And also, it promotes creative learning. Through e-learning creative education, undergraduates acquire the ability to think critically, independently and come up with novel ideas. These attributes are important and are required for any job. Employers seek workers with adept problem-solving skills.
Demerits of online studies
Although remote schooling comes with several perks, it is not without its downsides. Below are some of the drawbacks of this method.
- Cost and use of complex technology
Remote schooling comes with several additional costs. For example, a person must have the proper equipment and have a good internet connection for live video communication. Additionally, people who are not tech-savvy may find it hard to get things done by themselves. They can waste a lot of time trying to figure out things, rather than focusing on the school work itself.
- Remote education makes it difficult to provide quality feedback
In conventional classrooms, people have the chance to ask questions and get direct and instant responses from their teacher. The teacher can also assess his/ her student’s understanding of the lesson by asking general questions. This is not as easy through remote school education. Communication is rather slow. A student can ask a question but have to wait for the lecturer to see the message, review it and give feedback whenever they have time for it.
- Proper time management required
It’s easy to get carried away while studying from home. One can be distracted by friends, TV programs, food, gadgets, etc. To beat these distractions, a person should set a proper schedule and exercise a lot of discipline. More often than not, they may fail because it’s not easy. Studying can be an arduous activity and the mind has a way of fighting against it. Consequently, the conventional classroom removes some of the barriers to concentration.
- Not best suited for all courses
Studying online may not be suitable for all courses. For example, science programs such as engineering; may require undergraduates to visit laboratories to train for the practical side of their courses. Studying online may not be enough to complete all the modules. The same can be said about health courses. Nurses and doctors must attend some conventional classes to master technical skills. Online demonstrations are a poor substitute.
This is the reason why some employers are not confident to hire employees who studied online. They prefer undergraduates who were exposed to full courses and had a chance to study proper communication skills in a natural school environment.
Remote studies may be the future of education, but people have to adapt for this to work. Institutions should remodel all courses to conform well with this method of learning.
Although the world will fall back to semi-conventional education methods after the pandemic, remote schooling will continue to be prominent. The smart move is for people to acclimatize now and find ways around any obstacles of studying from home. It is the only sure way of staying ahead as further changes come.