The education industry is going through rapid changes in its form and mode of delivery. With new educational requirements and a changing, more mobile and globalised economy, new programmes and courses are added by education providers on a regular basis. In order to keep up with an itinerant workforce, the mode of online and Distance Learning in education is gaining higher acknowledgement than in the past.
Although the terms online and distance learning are used interchangeably, it is pertinentto note that these two terms are different in its approach towards education. Online mode of learning is one that takes place electronically using online tools such as Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, webinars, video lectures, both recorded and live. Learning is facilitated by tutors using virtual office hours, discussion boards and via emails. The distance learning mode of education was previously also known as correspondence education, where no real time interaction took place between tutors and students and learning was initially mailed to students via post or later electronically via email. Traditionally in distance learning, assignments were sent in to students, which they later completed and sent back for grading purposes. The distance learning mode of education later took various forms such as online, blended or part time education, depending upon the mode of delivery, interaction and support involved.
If you are a student looking for courses or degree programmes that you can complete online or through distance learning, then read on to find out the benefits and the perceived disadvantages of online and distance learning education.
Advantages or Benefits of Online or Distance Learning.
Just as traditional, campus based programmes have their own set of advantages, so does the online mode of learning.
- Ease of Access: With practically the entire programme offered online, the online degree programmes can be accessed via your fingertips. All you have to do is just log in to the Learning Management System of the university and access tutorials, eBooks, lecture materials and online library. Whether you are a working mother, juggling career and familial responsibilities or a working professional always on the commute, the online programme can be studied from anywhere, be it the comfort of your home or the airport lounge !
- Flexible: Flexibility to schedule your studies as per your convenience is the entire hallmark of online education. With universities such as the Edinburgh Napier University, students can easily schedule their studies as per their convenience and availability. Submission deadlines are indicated well in advance to provide enough preparation time for students to submit assignments. The university also has dedicated staff members to assist students with online studies, hence making it more flexible and manageable.
- No travel required: With online courses, there is minimum to no travel commitments involved, hence making it even easier to access learning materials from anywhere in the world. The lectures and course content are delivered online and tutorial feedback and support also take place online hence eliminating the need for travelling to the campus.
- Less Costly: The programmes offered through online and distance mode of education are less costly and more thorough, as opposed to the same programme taught on campus. With the online library providing thousands of study materials and ebooks, the online learning surpasses traditional mode of learning in terms of the cost and benefits of the programmes.
Disadvantages of Online or Distance Learning:
Although there are many advantages of online and distance learning mode of education, there are some perceived disadvantages that exist with this approach. Some of them are discussed below.
- Required Motivation: With ease of access and user friendly websites built by universities for online courses, students often tend to relax and find it too easy to study online and hence end up delaying their study sessions. Studying online requires a great deal of motivation as opposed to campus based programmes, where students are constantly pressured by tutors for deadlines, examinations and submissions.
- Access to tutor: Some students are used to having direct face to face contact with tutors and ask questions after classroom lectures and find it difficult to do the same with online studies. Keeping this in mind, universities such as University of Leicester and the Edinburgh Napier University provide students with multiple opportunities to interact either via student emails, online messages, discussion boards and virtual study seminars to ensure maximum tutorial support and availability for online students.
- Unavailability of certain courses: Although there are a myriad of courses offered online and through distance learning, there are still certain programmes that cannot fit into the online mode of learning and those include programmes requiring practical element such as Engineering, Clinical Medicine and Medical programmes.
Stafford Global's Online Programmes
At Stafford Global, we specialise in providing quality UK education through online and part time mode of learning. Our programmes range from undergraduate degrees to postgraduate and PHD courses offered via accredited online colleges in the UK. Our partnership with some of the best universities in UK caters to students studying across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Balkan regions and India.