What is distance learning?
Traditional education requires attendance to lectures and seminars, whereas distance learning allows you to gain an education through the internet. It is comprised of online classes but still requires you to take exams and complete assignments in order to assess your learning. However, it is more flexible and allows you to coordinate your learning around other commitments and responsibilities that you may have.
Education is perceived as an enormous commitment, however it does not have to be the main focus of your life. Distance learning can be done alongside other things, for example working full-time, making it possible to pursue other things. Distance learning also makes education accessible to everyone and with the progression of technology, seems to be the way forward.
What are the advantages of distance learning?
- Remote learning. All that is required is an internet connection and you are then able to work from anywhere. This allows you to create your own working space and therefore be able to thrive in your own environment. It also means that you do not have to dedicate hours of your day to attend a class or hand in an assignment. It brings your learning to you.
- Convenience. The convenience of distance learning means that you can be more productive with your time. For example if you have a 30 minute commute on the train to work, you can use that time to read an article or watch an instructional video as part of your learning. It allows you to maximise your time wherever you may be.
- Flexible. Traditional education requires having to be present in a seminar at a fixed time every week. However, if for some reason you cannot attend, you then have the responsibility of going out of your way to find out what exactly you missed. Distance learning changes this by allowing you to access material at all hours of the day, and create your own timetable of study. If you are caught up elsewhere or have to tend to an emergency, you can be flexible and go over the material later, or another day without hesitation. It not only prevents you from falling behind but ensures that you are always one step ahead.
- Cost-effective. Distance learning eliminates the time and cost of having to travel to a class which can often add up and become a financial burden. This method of learning means that you can save the money that you would have otherwise used to attend a class. It also eliminates the need to have to move away from home in order to study which again is something that can become costly.
- More courses to choose from. Distance learning does not limit you to one institution which can often be the case for traditional education. For example, if you are looking to study a niche course, it may only be offered by select universities and therefore restrict your options. There are now countless options online and you have the opportunity to study a course of your choice without having to worry about being able to travel or move away.
Whereas a more conventional education may provide you with the opportunity to collaborate with other students in seminars or present to the class, distance learning is often perceived as an overall more isolated experience, inevitably leading to questions about employment options. However, distance learning makes you more employable because it not only forces you to become more self-disciplined, but allows you to develop countless skills and be accountable for your own learning. You are your own teacher, which can demonstrate to an employer that you were able to take control and commit to pursuing and achieving. These are all highly desirable skills and are extremely valuable to employers and can be used to give you an advantage over other candidates. In fact, an employer may value an online degree over a traditional education because it is a testament to taking ownership of your learning and succeeding.
With countless online learning degrees available, choosing and committing to just one course can often be an overwhelming experience. However, there are some important factors that you should take into consideration before deciding, which not only helps to narrow down your choices but also ensures that you have taken everything into consideration. Although the process can be daunting, it is essential for you to consider how exactly the course can help you as well as future prospects. Here are five integral questions that you need to ask before choosing:
1. Will the course help with my career?
Committing to a course requires a lot of time and money, therefore you need to be certain that it is ultimately going to be beneficial and worthwhile. The course should broaden your career prospects and help you gain knowledge about the industry in which you wish to work. It is important to take some time to look through the modules and topics that are provided in the course information to ensure that they are both relevant and helpful. The course should provide you with an advantage and guide you to where you would ideally like to be.
- Can you afford the online degree?
Courses can be expensive so it is crucial to compare and measure costs in order to ensure that everything is affordable. Although there are countless grants and loans available, such as a student loan, it is important to decipher whether or not you are able to fund the course before applying or enrolling. Online courses often have costs for materials such as books, so be sure to include the cost of these when comparing with other programs.
- Is it an accredited institution?
You need to make sure that the institution has high academic standards and will provide you with the best possible quality of education. If you are going to be investing your time and energy into a course, you need to be able to ensure that it is not only worthwhile but that you are gaining the most out of your education. Institutions should have academic accreditation and it is essential to look out for these.
- Are you able to transfer professional certifications or existing course credits?
If you already hold course credits or certifications, it makes sense to use these as a foundation to build on. This can also help to reduce the length of your course and ensure that the online degree will enrich and broaden your existing knowledge. Being able to transfer course credits can also impact the cost of the course and therefore you may find that you are paying less than you originally thought.
- How is this course going to help in building your professional network?
It is a good idea to carry out some research to find out how the online degree will be able to help with your professional network, whether that is through contacting teachers to enquire about how you will be interacting with them or looking at what is already available on platforms such as LinkedIn. With the availability of social media, it is now possible to connect with people from all over the world. You may also find it useful to search for existing online communities to see how they interact and share information. They can also help to answer questions and advise you.
Asking these questions will help you to finalise your decision and will ensure that you are considering all of your options. An online learning degree should be able to help you build a successful career through enriching your knowledge and providing you with the skills to become more employable. It is important to carry out research and choose the right course to ensure that you are building the best possible future for yourself.
With the rapid progression of technology and its integration into our everyday lives, the prospect of it being used as a tool to aid education and learning was inevitable. There are now countless electronic devices available, from mobile phones to tablets, making it possible to access information wherever you are. This not only creates a space for online education but also presents learning as an option to those who may not previously have considered further study.
What is online learning?
Instead of being present in a classroom every day, online offers you the opportunity to learn and take your classes from home. Whilst it still requires you to take exams and complete assignments, it creates more flexibility and therefore is often more appealing over a traditional education. You are able to access learning material as long as you have an internet connection, meaning that you do not have to commit to travelling to a class at a set time. Online learning makes education available to everyone and is also carried out through various teaching techniques, thereby appealing to every type of learning style. It provides all students with the opportunity to thrive.
Acceptance of online learning among people
Whilst some remain hesitant about choosing online learning over a conventional education, one only has to look at universities and the way that they are already utilising technology to aid learning and efficiency. For example, reading material is often posted online and students are directed to relevant resources on the internet to broaden their understanding. Universities also use virtual softwares such as BlackBoard to allow students to access modular information and material. Most university libraries even offer e-books which are invaluable to students and can help to reduce their time and costs. However, the use of technology also reduces costs for universities, for example students are often required to submit assignments online through softwares such as Turnitin, which detects plagiarism. This eliminates the need for a teacher to have to sift through to check and compare people’s work, therefore saving money.
If online learning were to replace traditional education, it would have a significant impact on budgets of universities. For example, they would no longer be required to print hand-outs or pay lecturers for standing and teaching a class. Although they would need to support students online, it would still reduce their time and cost. Technology has changed the face of education and is already being used so effectively, demonstrating that it can be and is a successful way of learning.
Future of online learning by 2025
The evolution of technology inevitably means that it will continue to replace and improve aspects of traditional learning. Younger people are quickly becoming accustomed to using the internet to seek information which is inevitably impacting the way that they digest and absorb information. Therefore, it is important for education to develop and change in order to cater to this type of learner. There has already been a rise in online learning and it is quickly becoming a prominent way of gaining an education. In a society that is becoming reliant on technology, it only makes sense for online education to develop into the predominant way of learning.
As technology quickly progressed, it seemed more than likely for e-learning to replace traditional education. However, its initial reception did not go as planned and it is only in recent years that it has begun to thrive. By changing its approach to education, e-learning is now focusing on the way that content is being taught to students by becoming more engaging and targeting those who will benefit from it the most. Online courses are now more interactive and are being taught differently to traditional education, which in the midst of a digital era is often a more appealing approach for students.
With the job marketing being more competitive than ever, e-learning can help to provide candidates with an edge. Business graduates often lack the skills that are required to excel in job roles due to not having had the time to gain real-world experience. Theoretical knowledge needs to be transformed into practical skills within the workplace and some students are unable to demonstrate this due to not having had the opportunity. However, e-learning consists of sitting down to learn online which displays determination and allows students to unknowingly develop and acquire more skills. Business students become more self-disciplined and cultivate practical skills that are highly desirable to employers. In comparison to someone with a traditional business education, this can help to make them a more favourable candidate.
Benefits of business education
With countless courses to choose from and the possibility of more career prospects, the popularity of pursuing a business education is soaring. Aside from being able to learn the fundamentals of what it takes for businesses to thrive, such as understanding the way that they operate and their hierarchical system, business courses also help you to develop into a more critical and logical thinker and gain a more in-depth look at what it takes to succeed. They are also particularly beneficial due to allowing you to choose between modules and decide which aspects of business are advantageous to your career. They can also open up the pathway to further study.
Benefits of e-learning
- Learn at your own pace. Online learning allows you to become your own teacher, ensuring that you are absorbing and understanding concepts. Teachers often have a time constraint when in a classroom and therefore quickly introduce new concepts and ideas without providing time to ask questions or fully comprehend what you are being taught. This inevitably requires you to carry out additional work in your own time, whereas e-learning provides you with the capacity to teach yourself whilst fully being able to comprehend ideas before moving on.
- E-learning requires you to create your own timetable because you are responsible for your classes. You can decide when you are the most alert and thereby ensure that you are working to the best of your ability. However, if for some reason you cannot adhere to your own timetable, you always have the option of being flexible and moving things around.
- Cost-effective. The cost of education is often underestimated. You are not solely just paying for the course. There are additional costs such as travelling to classes, parking costs to factor in if you are driving etc. These all contribute to the overall cost of educating yourself. E-learning helps to reduce this immensely because you are able to learn from your own home, making it a more cost-effective approach to education.
How much is it accepted by learners?
The shift in focus of online education to the student’s learning outcomes has proven to be successful and is therefore popularising this approach. Due to the interactive nature of e-learning, students are positively responding and pursuing more online courses. Activities such as participating in quizzes or contributing to being part of an online community not only help to support and sustain their business knowledge but assure that e-learning still provides the social and interactive approach of being in a classroom. The flexibility and accessibility also make education available to everyone, therefore contributing to gaining a higher quality job. When students are already accustomed to using technology for everyday activities and are utilising online resources such as reading articles and watching videos, e-learning is helping to cater to this audience and is therefore a more effective method. It has been well-received by learners and is only looking to improve.
E-learning is transforming business education by focusing its attention on the student’s learning experience and the different techniques that can be used to teach, filling the gap that exists within traditional education. However, it is through business education that e-learning has been revived and recognised as a credible and valuable method.
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