Distance learning vs University learning
Online education is still a nascent market but is becoming increasingly popular as a way to get a higher education and boost career opportunities. Simply, online education is here to stay and will grow more in the coming years as more people have access to the technology. Many recent studies show that distance learning is becoming a more prominent influencer of education development.
For example, people who already have a job and want to juggle their career with education can find distance learning a great way to stay on top of their schedule. Similarly, young mothers are finding online education is an excellent way to get qualifications. They understand studying can be time consuming, with always something to read and always something to write. Online learning saves time and can yield the same results as a physical university.
That does not mean traditional universities are obsolete, and certainly for many students they remain the best option. With that in mind, let’s look at the pros and cons of distance learning.
Pros of online education
Online courses are flexible
University degree programs are typically rigid, with the teaching year defined and unbreakable, including having to be physically present in the classroom. With online distance learning there are no predefined timetables, with students free to take the degree over multiple years and set their own schedule. Working at your own pace is one of the biggest benefits of the online education model.
Work and learn
Because of the flexibility detailed above, online learning students are able to have full-time jobs without compromising their ability to learn. Learning and working at the same time can be achieved by taking more years to complete an online degree.
No geographical limitations
Many students attending traditional universities often choose their course or school based on where the university is located, especially adult learners. With an online distance course, you will not be bound by geographical location and can choose the course you want without having to relocate.
Distance learning technology is expanding, and users can now access their course material across PC, tablet, and smartphones. Study and complete work on your morning commute, during a lunch break, or even from the comfort of your sofa. Brainstorming ideas and writing them down during a bus ride is a great way to use time more efficiently. Young parents are especially finding online universities are a good way to pass time while studying for an education.
One of the main concerns people voice when thinking about pursuing an online degree is whether they will have the same qualification as a degree from a regular university. The answer is an unequivocal yes, an online degree is a fully accredited qualification. Of course, like when seeking a traditional university, do your due diligence and check the online university is legitimate.
Cons of online university
As mentioned above, online degrees are fully accredited if you study with a reputable institution. That does not stop some people doubting the validity of distance learning. This is not a dismissible concern because like anything in the online world, there are bad actors out there selling false claims. So-called diploma mills are fraudulent education centers that hand out fake degrees, so it is very important to get your online education from a fully accredited university.
One of the main benefits of attending a physical university is it provides a level of structure and moderation. Students attend classes and are accountable to professors and fellow students. This positive structure is mostly removed in the distance learning model, potentially allowing for procrastination to be rampant. Students embarking on an online degree will need to ensure they can remain focused and disciplined.
No support networks
Studying for any degree is not easy. There is a lot of reading, writing, studying, and research to be done through the length of your studies. Without doubt there will be times when the volume and content of the work will be overwhelming. If the work is too hard, distance learning does not always provide a good level of support to help you through the tough times. Access to professors is limited, so if you are planning to start distance learning, make sure you know it is a mostly self-directed pursuit.
You’re on your own
Following from the last point, online degree students usually don’t have much time interacting with professors. Online classes are often lonely and there is no real interaction. That said, this problem is largely offset by the fact most distance learners will be studying part time and have plenty of time for outside interactions.
No campus experiences
A big part of going to university is experiencing campus life and the activities associated with being a student. As a distance learner, you won’t have access to this way of life. However, most online learning institutions will usually hold a graduation event for students.
Maria Taylor is a content marketing expert & has contributed on several blogs online. She love to write for blogs & feel free to connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.