Distance learning has had its increase every year. Many students are going into it for convenience and attainability. It is so convenient that working students can have their education during breaks, or anything in-between. They don’t have to report to a conventional classroom anymore.
Education has come a long way. No longer is the idea of a classroom the only place to learn everything. In fact, you can have your education without even seeing a classroom in your life. That’s the uniqueness of distance learning.
And there are a lot of advantages to it. Let us take a closer look.
This is the reason why many students are availing of it. It is accessible, easy to handle. Because contemporary life is so busy, and at times you have to do two things at the same time, people are striving for that easy access on things, including of course, education.
No Time Wasted
The concept of working at the same time as studying is unusual, but it saves a lot of time. You feel a sense of accomplishment when doing so many things aside from work concerns. You also have the opportunity to finish a degree while doing your day job.
You can study anywhere you want. As long as you have a good internet connection, then you can study, research and even discuss subjects online without actually being there with your instructor.
At Your Own Pace
Education has never been this easy. Studying at your own rhythm can only bring about a more concentrated education in the process. It is quite pressure-free, and deadlines are almost always non-existent.
Time Away From Academics
You can spend more time doing other things, like nurturing a hobby or time away with your family. Who knows, your family might help you with your assignments.
The widespread of the internet has created various distance learning systems that came up with excellent educational outcomes. This new learning system, though advantageous, has several challenges to overcome.
Over the past several decades, different hurdles have left distance learning systems inferior to its equivalent – face-to-face learning. Some of these challenges include the difficulty to change presentations to suit audience, inability to control teaching progress, and lack of learning styles. But the biggest one is the “keeping up” pace of communication.
One of the most important aspect of an effective learning process is the need to have a two-way (teacher and student) communication. Ever since e-learning began, a big issue has been thrown upon teachers and students. Each one cannot effectively ask or answer questions, frustrations, and comments.
A secondary issue in distance learning system is the absence of student to student interaction. In a traditional classroom setting, students are grouped with other students to share and contradict ideas. Subjects such as philosophy, language, and debate require a peer-to-peer communication for effective learning. With the lack of this kind of interaction, distance learning may just be defined as a mere transfer of information, without the true learning experience.
Today, these challenges still exist both in distance learning systems and in a classroom setting where there is a large crowd of students and a single lecturer. However, with the rapid acceleration of modes of communication in the distance learning programs, a large portion of these hindrances have been overcome. Real-time video classes for instance, a small group of students can benefit through chatting, online libraries, practice modules, and a feedback system that provides rapid response to teachers and co-students as well.
Most of these challenges may have been solved, but it is still existing. However, we all agree that these challenges are continuously being addressed effectively.
With video conferencing, dual stream capture and cloud-based technological innovation, some schools are establishing the convention for college distance learning systems. The University of Maryland has been using distance technological innovation for over 25 years and nowadays uses a system that contains six studio room classes equipped with high-definition cameras, video conferencing, LCD displays, annotators that allows teachers to write over shown pictures and cloud-based lecture capture and web-casting alternatives.
The idea behind these technological innovation is old, but the devices itself is new and is located in the remodeled Arnold E. Seigel Learning Center, which is associated with the university’s School of Engineering. Every engineering class is streaming live and recorded for later on-demand watching. The live documenting of lessons is what places the University of Maryland’s online studying system apart from others. “It’s not like someone comes in and is documenting some extremely produced lecture for a topic. They’re educating a class so as a university student at a distance, you’re getting the identical education and learning as you would if you were here on campus,” says Marty Ronning, assistant director of Distance Education and Technology Services at the University of Maryland.
This type of system “is becoming more of a de-facto convention for distance learning systems and college,” says Scott Morgan, senior account administrator for Western Chester, Pa.-based Advanced AV. Morgan wasn’t engaged in the UMD venture but does a lot of identical set ups in the mid-Atlantic area. The design of the remodeled studying center is designed to make the best academic chance of the university’s learners. Each studio class room has a Polycom video conferencing system and four LCD displays by NEC. They also have Sony models HD cameras, a Panasonic A/V switcher, an Extron annotator and Mediasite by Sound Foundry as a web-casting and lecture capture system. The dual streams help to make as close to an on-campus atmosphere as possible for the school’s off-campus members, says Ronning.
Industrialization has been a feature of distance education for many years. Otto Peters, a pioneering theorist, described when technology is used to reach learners in mass, education assumes commercial features, such as, standardization of services and huge manufacturing of academic products (Keegan 1994). To the level that letters knowledge trusted huge production of academic materials (e.g. books) it was a commercial business. Another sign of industrialization in distance education is division of labor. The course team as initially designed by Charles Wedemeyer and applied by the British Open University is an example of division of labor in online learning. The contemporary university is also gifted with a bureaucracy, by definition is a commercial operation, although the educating methods both in the class room and at a distance, mostly, remain pre-commercial (pre-modern) and craft focused.
Industrialization to train and learn is particularly suitable when the need of many learners for access is at stake. Daniel (1996) focusing the failure of “campus” education to meet such a need, particularly in developing nations, compared the function of “mega-universities,” or those serving the needs of at least 100,000 learners, with that of “campus” colleges. He said: “The mega-universities vary from campus universities in their manufacturing procedures. The operations of the mega-universities owe much to commercial methods, whereas academic procedures on campus are similar to a cottage industry.”
It is worth noting here that Daniel’s idea of a “cottage industry” is different than that of Toffler, who imagined a “cottage industry” as a “third wave phenomenon.” Daniel’s referrals to a “cottage industry” here is a pre-industrial operation with employees who work alone and perform their projects without the benefit of a supporting staff providing them the advantages of industrial division of labor. Introduction of the Internet with its potential for a post-industrial form to train and learn has led to a review of industrialization. Daniel (1996) making referrals to the disadvantages of the pre-commercial, and commercial operations, said “It is likely that neither strategy will be particularly well designed for the third generation of online learning technologies: the knowledge media.”
Distance Education has been around for more than 100 years. It can be traced as far back as the late 17th century. Also known as communication education and learning, it is basically education and learning focused on training people who are not actually present in a setting. This type of training and learning depends on inspired people to complete studies and session plans at their own speed and send their work in to be analyzed by their trainer. Essentially, distance learning is studying that includes the teacher and individuals being divided by distance, time, or both. Hybrid classes usually include a combination of classroom time and distance studying, usually with learners taking examinations in the presence of a trainer.
In its origins, distance learning took advantage of the e-mail service to deliver training and completed projects returning and forth between instructors and learners. As more educational organizations started to understand what distance studying could do for them, they started to offer certain programs via e-mail.
As technology progressed, some organizations started to utilize TV and radio programming as ways of providing their courses to the public. These educational organizations clipped up throughout European countries and became known as ‘open universities’, with learners exceeding beyond one hundred thousand. But while TV programming is still used sometimes, computers have become the primary form of distance learning. While once considered a bit of a black sheep, substandard type of training and learning, as more academic institutions and learners know what online is and what its benefits are, it is growing in popularity. The ability to utilize web meeting technology to involve online learners into an academic setting, along with the indication of many other academic materials and information, have made online the fastest growing form of training and education at the moment.
With its comfort, versatile daily activities, lower costs, and the everyday living of numerous approved academic institutions offering online, it’s clear and understandable why it is only expected to develop in importance.