Correspondence and Distance Education Differences

Nowadays, distance education is much popularly known as online education because of its use of the Internet as an instructional delivery model. And while correspondence education is part of distance education, they have differences in delivery methods, academic rigor, and convenience and flexibility factors.

3d e-learning conceptCorrespondence education was first developed in the mid-nineteenth century in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States to make education available to those who do not have access to a university. The course materials in correspondence education are given to the learner via mail or electronic means. Meanwhile, distance education takes advantage of the fast Internet technology in delivering instructional materials. It typically uses emails and live chats, as well as audio or video recording.

Distance education is far more rigorous compared to the traditional correspondence education. That is because it offers a more interactive environment. The teacher and the student, even student-to-student, despite being in different locations, can have a quasi-face-to-face environment that enhances the academic rigor. Traditional correspondence education, on the other hand, is done through mail delivery that fails to offer any type of interaction among students, all the more student-to-teacher interaction. In other words, correspondence education is static while online education is fluid and dynamic.

As for convenience and flexibility, both distance education and correspondence education offer a good autonomy to learners. The difference is that one has limited freedom while the other has too much of it. Online education, although flexible, still has deadlines for posting reactions on discussion boards which makes it not as flexible as correspondence education that has a “hands off” approach. There is a downside to too much freedom in correspondence education though. It may not be a good thing to all learners as it requires self-motivation and self-discipline.

Distance Education For Engineering Students

Advanced technology has made distance education a good alternative for aspiring Engineers. A number of online programs are offered. Graduates from these courses are embraced by employers with arms wide open. This acceptance have grown immensely over the years due to quality of the curriculum and qualified students from online schools.

dlsLearning engineering principles at any level (bachelors and masters) can be done online. The increasing number of colleges offering online courses has made it more accessible to get a degree while meeting other personal needs, most especially financial. Students, who pay for their studies, can work and study all at the same time. When they graduate, they won’t have to worry about landing on a job. This is because employers are less concerned of where an applicant’s degree was completed from – traditional on-campus or online. This motivates many students wanting to earn online engineering degrees.

Well, how does this work? By leveraging technology, distance education brings integrated course materials, dedicated websites, teleconferences, and chat rooms in class directly on to your personal computer or lap top – anywhere at anytime. Because distance learning lets students work while completing a degree, many have see that they can directly apply what they’ve learned on-the-job long before they graduate.

Online engineering programs are the best option for those who are looking to get a degree, or for those adults who want to go back to school and acquire master’s or an associate’s degree in engineering. The learning process is quite easy. Students learn through tools such as DVDs, recorded lectures, videos, and live streaming. Instructors give assignments or projects by posting them on virtual blackboards or send them through email, or on a virtual blackboard. Assignments may be done at student’s own time, but during exams, they will need to log into the school’s system at a particular time.

Defining Distance Education

Distance education needs to be clearly defined and understood for a variety of reasons. Without a clear meaning, significant discussion and analysis on pedagogy cannot occur. Furthermore, a precise meaning is important for both teachers and students when thinking about distance education and learning. Interpreting distance education and learning is made more difficult because the development of this type of education has changed quickly from first-generation correspondence education and learning to fifth-generation intelligent flexible learning. Furthermore, there are multiple published explanations. Before developing a usable meaning, it is helpful to see how distance education’s meaning has been both created and pushed up to now.

distance_educationValentine talks about distance-learning explanations by discovering colleagues’ differing views. He declares, “Greenberg (1998) describes contemporary online learning as planned teaching/learning experiences that used a wide variety of technologies to reach the student at a distance and is designed to encourage student interaction and documentation of learning.” However, Valentine’s notes that Greenberg’s meaning doesn’t address whether the student is learning asynchronously or synchronously. Valentine says that Teaster and Bliezner’s (1999) meaning makes clear that distance education and learning happens when the student is separate in space and possibilities. But the author features that technological innovation isn’t mentioned at all in Teaster and Bliezner’s meaning.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2009) describes online learning as “an educational process in which all or the majority of the instruction happens with the instructor and student in different locations.” In this meaning, Center States makes no mention of technological innovation or whether learning is going on asynchronously or synchronously. In evaluating Keegan’s meaning, Valentine says, “Keegan (1995) gives the most thorough meaning. He says that distance education and learning and training result from the technological separation of instructor and student, which liberates the student from the necessity of traveling to ‘a set position, at a set time, to meet a set person, in order to be trained’.” While Keegan’s meaning of online learning is indeed thorough, it is not able to determine education and learning. Learning and education do differ. Furthermore, for successful research to begin, defining online education and learning is imperative.

New Developments in Distance Education

The U. S. army has been at the leading edge of new improvements in distance education and is one of its biggest users throughout the world. In the 70’s, the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) use of correspondence education and studying had improved to a point that it was working one of the biggest U. S. post offices in Fort Eustis, Virginia to keep up with the requirement globally. These days, The Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP) is approved by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and is accountable for the official nonresident expansion curricula of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.

distance-educationIn the last two years, all branches of the military have intensely implemented the use of telecom satellite and the internet to provide various kinds of training and education and studying via video conferencing and web-based applications. In inclusion, the Distance Education Program (DEP) at the US Military War College provides an extensive program of training that result in the award of the Graduation Certificate as well as the Master of Strategic Study degree. The DEP is approved by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a program for joint education and studying, Phase I Senior Level (JPME I). The Distance Education Program needs 15 hours of study weekly that is provided via the internet.

The College of Distance Education (CDE) is the academic outreach program of the Naval War College.  It provides executive-level education and studying to officers of the various military services and to senior workers of the Department of Defense and other Government departments.  Three distribution techniques widely-used to by the College: faculty-led night workshops, a web-enabled program, and a CD-ROM centered correspondence program. These programs mirror, to a degree, this method of research provided to resident learners at the College’s Newport campus. The Air Force Institute for Advanced Distributed Learning (AFIADL) was recognized in 2000 “to display identification of the significance of online and advanced distributed education” according to Kim Bowling, then the Colonel of USAF and Commander of AFIADL.

Distance Learning in the 21st Century

distance_educationThe emergence of the knowledge economy had a powerful effect on business and education and studying. First, technology greatly affected training, educating, studying and handling practices. Companies were able to eliminate middle managers whose primary function was sending information between the top management and front line workers. Companies went “flat,” when leading supervisors could directly connect with front line workers using information technology innovation. Also, workers who were directly engaged in production or providing services were included in “quality circles” to share the pressure of handling the company with the managing class. This “downsizing” or “rightsizing” of the company also removed the stand up instructor in many organizations. Training could be placed on the World Wide Web, without the need for an instructor or company to present such details to students. Further, workers could access instruction at their convenience thus reducing time they would spend away from their projects in training, at times hundreds of kilometers away from their work stations. This way of training, known as distance learning, was developed in the organization separate of the theoretical and practical improvements in distance education in European countries and the United States. Concept and practice of online studying in educational surroundings strongly prescribed connections with an instructor and highlighted its importance. Nevertheless, the telecom and computer nexus allowed some businesses to incorporate training with working, giving rise to new ideas, such as, just-in-time training. This was obtained in certain cases through the creation of performance support systems, which directly allowed workers to link studying to projects at hand.

Today distance education is successful among home school students, K-12 educational institutions and universities, many of which require synchronous or asynchronous connections with an instructor while depending on instruction on the Web. Distance education, however has grown extremely in organizations and government organizations, including the army, where there is little or no interaction with an instructor.

While the number of those who are engaged in various forms of distance learning may pale in comparison to those who are studying in traditional ways, the important aspect is the steady rate at which distance students are increasing. If current trends continue, it will be just a matter of time for online studying to become the prominent way of studying and educating.

Increase of Distance Education Popularity

Nearly 22,000 students registered in online learning applications or distance education courses through South Dakota’s community colleges during the 2012-13 school year, up 8.5% from the year before and up 65% overall during the last five years.  The reported numbers were discussed by the state Board of Regents, whose members govern the community colleges.  Students in distance programs in the last year most frequently were undergraduates (75.5%), part-timers (69.9%) and female (64%).  The University of South Dakota had the largest slice of online learning with 34.4% of the registration and nearly 38% of the applications.

distance_educationSouth Dakota State University was right behind in registration at 33.4%, followed by Black Hills State University at 13.2, Northern State University 9.2, Dakota State University 7.8 and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 2.0.  Distance education covers a variety of delivery methods. Some are available solely through the Internet; others combine Internet and video technology and also involve correspondence and there are classroom programs at off-campus locations. Students getting distance programs increasingly tend to be from outside South Dakota.

The 6,394 non-residents came from almost every state in the nation last year and represented just shy of 30% of the total getting distance programs. Five years earlier, the number was 2,399, just under 24%. Non-degree seeking learners comprised 30.9% of undergraduates and 61.4% of graduate-level learners in distance education programs last year. Nursing, elementary education, pre-nursing and biology were the top four degree-specific programs for undergraduates. Among degree-specific programs, learners registered most often in education administration, business, administrative studies and curriculum and education.

What Makes Distance Learning Unique

Distance learning is a method which ­provides tremendous advantage, not only to the student’s population but also to the community as a whole. When a student goes to a university, they get a regular degree. The degree becomes more appropriate to the society along with being appropriate to the student. Distance learning offers programs in non-traditional places. So, it is wrong to say that it is a leftover school for students who do not get entrance in a university.

Hands on a globeWhat makes distance learning different from a physical university? There are three elements that make distance learning vary from any other studying, i.e. ­self-learning print content. This is further reinforced by audio-video packages delivered through tele­conferencing, internet classrooms and counseling. Students appear in on the internet degree programs with different levels of capabilities, but success in college needs many different abilities. In addition to the fundamentals, such as numeracy and literacy, certain soft abilities associated with teamwork, such as flexibility and group interaction, are critical to on the internet college student success. Online learners must also master specialized abilities, such as using computer systems and Internet systems, to function successfully in school. The most frequently mentioned single reason for college student drop-out—both online and at brick-and-mortar schools is profession indecision. Guaranteeing learners have a clear education plan that suits their profession objectives should be an institutional priority.

Numerous internet resources are available to help students choose an educational field that suits their strong points and profession objectives. One specific profession choice system that schools implemented is the Idea Generator. This system offers a short internet test that links learners to a profession area entered to their passions and strong points.

Distance Education Pros and Cons

As we know, the world is getting smaller and we are living in a global village. An individual in one place can talk in real time to an individual on the other side of the world. Technology has effectively reduced the globe. Technological innovation has impacted every element of our everyday life. No one has stayed unchanged with this trend. In this article we will talk about an element where technologies have really made a big change: online studying. Now you can sit in a distant area of a country and understand everything as if you are seated in a college classroom. Distance education has drastically changed the way we see higher education. It is a growing trend all over the globe and people are interested to know more about the trend.

distance-educationBefore you make up your mind to be a part of distance education, you should know its benefits and drawbacks.

  • Study from Anywhere, AnytimeThe best thing about online studying is you can participate from anywhere and often, at anytime you want. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are living, you can be a part of course work.
  • Flexibility of TimeNormally, distance education offers versatility of your time and effort. It gives complete independence to choose your own time frame for taking courses.
  • No CommutingI dislike traveling. If you are looking for online coursework, then you will benefit from not having to travel in populated vehicles or local trains to attend a physical classroom session.

However, with benefits there are some drawbacks of online studying. Here are some.

  • Limited or No Interaction with Instructors and ProfessorsThe most severe thing about distance education is you might not be able to communicate directly with your lecturer or teachers. In fact, often you cannot even talk about it to friends and other co-workers like you can do in a normal higher education course.
  • Lack of Severity, Competitors and Learning Environment – Sometimes, you cannot substitute a real higher education atmosphere with an exclusive higher education atmosphere on your computer. In online studying, your environment does not lend to a feeling of focus that is present in a classroom setting when class is given by the professor. Self discipline becomes an absolute must.

Distance Education Relevance

Distance education has gradually appeared as one of the most well-known ways to obtain information, with learners being able to access a versatile education and training that allows them to manage work and research. Distance education is a program that shows that education and training has no limitations and therefore no issue where we are, getting information is now more available globally. Distance education and studying is one of the recommended study methods these days. The fact that learners can learn from their home, as well as take their examinations through a number of online tasks and projects, is in itself so amazing. Gone are the days when one had to go to college to engage in a research subject, now studying is possible and only a few mouse clicks away.

It is a great way for the working experts to discover new places of research by applying on an online course. There are no set periods or schedules for an online course and you can choose your study periods according to your own routine and obligations. This way, not only will you be able to obtain additional information, but can also take a leap ahead and go up the achievements steps.

distance_educationBecause distance education is recognized as an extremely efficient method of training, academic researchers have analyzed the reasons and circumstances for which online learning is most effective. Commonly requested questions group in five areas:

Is technology-assisted, distant teaching as efficient as traditional face-to-face teaching?

What aspects determine the most beneficial mix of technological innovation in a given distance education situation?

What are the characteristics of efficient distance learners and teachers?

How important is teacher-student and student-student connections in the online learning process and in what form(s) can this connections most successfully take place?

What cost factors should be considered when planning or applying online learning programs and how are those costs balanced out by benefits to the learner?

Distance Education and Getting a College Degree

The benefit of distance education programs, perhaps the biggest and the one that has the most effect on people is budget. Different people enroll in distance education programs for different reasons, but the greatest objective is the same: to generate a college degree to help enhance their personal and professional lives. And if it comes to a price tag lower than a degree in the educational setting, then who can complain? The actual training and costs for programs on the internet cannot be much less costly than conventional school applications. Although educational institutions can pay a little less for their distance education or online degree, the difference may not be important. This is especially true for educational institutions that have already recognized themselves in distance learning.

distance-educationHowever, the improving competitors between institutions and universities and colleges to entice the growing group of on the internet learners at the turn could drive the cost of web based programs down, making them even more cost-effective for learners. Learning the primary reason for studying applications online is usually less costly because they allow learners to sustain a job and go to school simultaneously. Many on the internet learners are full-time professionals with serious careers.

Juggling school with a full-time job is much easier with the online degrees and provides the versatility to study from anywhere, just adhere to the program and work at your own speed. This is a far cry from the programs normal educational setting adhere to. This on the internet programs means learners can continue to work to their full-time job and get the same wage they were before they start studying; guaranteeing that the learning they do will not cause major upheavals in their financial life. Another thing is, being employed while participating college is that you can be able to get economical aid from your company. Many companies are willing to invest in their bright and promising workers. If you are able to persuade companies that the abilities and training obtained by your degree on the internet can benefit, then they may accept to finance part or all of your education and learning.