The concept of distance learning has been with us for many years but upon the advent of the internet its popularity and efficacy was greatly increased because the new technology made the learning process much faster, more cost effective and far more efficient overall.
We have seen this in the corporate space with the value organization find with learning management systems. For the academic space, is distance learning for everyone?
Tomorrow employees are today’s students. Let’s explore how technology is changing how we define education and what that means for students.
It no longer matters if a student lives hundreds of miles away from a major center of population as the internet brings the world of learning to his or her own home. No mailing of written work is required these days as it can be communicated virtually instantly to a tutor by email.
Having established that distance learning is extremely efficient let us consider the cost, and the type of individual it is suitable for.
Those on a tight budget will certainly benefit from distance learning, since it is usually more cost effective than the traditional forms of education. This is because the latest technology allows the institution to reach more students than ever before using the same number of staff members. In addition, they do not need huge premises, such as those required by the traditional teaching institutions. As a result the overall costs for a student are considerably less than they would be if a college were actually attended each day.
Individuals working full time can benefit tremendously from using distance education. Even with a degree one often reaches a ‘ceiling’, which can only be broken through with the acquisition of further specialized skills and greater knowledge. A distance learning qualification could well be the perfect solution to such a problem.
Distance learning is not only for career-minded people. For example, a housewife who is caring for her children at home and has study time available might benefit greatly from the enrichment opportunities provided by a distance-learning course. This does not have to be a degree course. There are many online courses available in a variety of subjects, such as interior decorating, website design, philosophy and computer programming. Whether a student seeks Network Administrator training in Miami Florida or wants to learn how to trade options in New York, suitable distance learning courses are available.
Less able-bodied students
Those with ongoing health issues, disabled individuals or people living in extremely remote areas could also reap substantial benefits from distance education. Someone confined to a wheelchair living in a remote part of Arizona, for example, is suddenly no longer cut off from the world. He or she has a virtually unlimited array of options both for personal enrichment and career advancement.
Convenience of distance learning
This brings the discussion to the topic of convenience. There is simply no other form of education that can compare with distance learning in this respect. No longer does one have to waste hours sitting in heavy traffic every day and then end up spending an equally long time hunting for a parking space. Distance learning allows the student to study from the comfort of his or her own living room, or even bedroom.
Technology plays a major role here. The lecturer can be contacted at short notice via email, phone or online chat. A lecturer can interact with students on a one-to-one basis or with many students at the same time using webinar technology. Students can also interact with each other via chat rooms and study groups. Twenty years ago this would simply not have been possible.
TOPYX learning management system provides the award-winning learning technology easily available for organizations to help users gather, interact and learn with chat tools, online communities and more to keep users engaged.
One more benefit of distance learning through an institution such as CBT College is that new knowledge can immediately be applied in the student’s work situation. This is great, particularly in fields such as IT and accounting where the practical application of knowledge is of the utmost importance.
Jeffrey A. Roth
Vice President, Marketing and Communications