Advantages of Distance and Online Education
Distance education has a couple of advantages to offer. They are:
The most notable and popular of the advantages of distance learning is the flexibility: Learn wherever you want and whenever you want. The majority of programs allow students to learn when and where it's convenient for them. For those who are struggling to balance their distance learning goals with working a full-time job and taking care of a family, this kind of flexibility can allow many people to pursue education who would not otherwise be able to do so. Since there are no on-campus courses to attend, students can learn from their own homes, at work on their lunch breaks and from virtually anywhere with internet access. For some, it can even be a big source of savings on the fuel costs and time required to commute to classes.
Raise your "market value"
Those with professional jobs can also benefit from distance learning in the job security and advancement it can provide: With unemployment on the rise and competitiveness for jobs high, having additional training and education can be an advantage whether you're in the market for a new job or simply want to move up from your existing position. The potential for salary increases with additional training is a benefit few can argue with when contemplating pursuing a distance learning program. Distance learning training can help you earn everything from simple certifications that take only a few weeks to a Master's degree. Because the programs are generally flexible and can be completed during free time, students will be able to hold on to their current jobs while working towards their ultimate professional goals, and some students may even be able to get reimbursed from their employers for their distance learning training expenses.
Anywhere you are
Those living in small or remote communities can also get a great advantage from distance learning: With few local options for education, it can be hard to find schools that offer the programs and degrees you want with the professional faculty and resources you need to succeed. Distance learning removes this problem and allows students anywhere in the world to choose from a wide range of educational facilities that between them offer virtually every major possible.
Distance assessments and evaluations
It should be mentioned that almost any form of assessment or evaluation is possible with online classes. Teachers can do traditional quizzes or tests with multiple choice questions or problems to be solved if desired; they can even be done with time limits. However, it seems that assignments and projects that involve critical thinking, creativity, problem–solving and group discussion/interaction are more appropriate for online education. Portfolio methods that involve journals or work samples are also ideal for Internet instruction especially when the web is used since they can include multimedia components. Likewise, many institutions implement evaluations for the instructors that the students take. For example, at the end of a course there could be an evaluation the students can click on to rate the instructor and offer opinions on the quality of the online instructions. This helps schools accommodate for anything that is lacking in the e-learning experience so that every student can get the most out of it.
There are methods for schools to ensure that there is no cheating or plagiarizing and that students actually learn: The question of cheating always comes up with any form of online education since online activity is normally done in an unsupervised setting. To the extent that assessment involves assignments or projects unique to a given individual (or done in a team or group context), this is not likely to be a problem. Tests can also be made unique for each person – or they can be conducted in a supervised (proctored) environment (like a library or learning center) if really necessary. There are even proctored exams now that are done while students are at their home computers, in which the proctoring staff will monitor the student during the test taking to ensure there is no cheating. Plagiarizing can now also be prevented by instructors running papers through a plagiarism checker, such as CopyScape. With these new technologies, even cheating and plagiarism can be prevented just as well as in the classroom setting.
Team projects and other forms of learning in a classroom can also be done online: This is particularly true when people do team projects with a single outcome representing the collective work of the group. Note that this is just as true in traditional classroom settings. However, it is possible to have the contribution of each team member identified and perhaps background work shown in Appendices or attached files or web page links. These new online methods of allowing teamwork allow students to experience group projects almost as well as they would be doing them together in-person.
Very cost-effective form of learning
The high cost of education affects students in higher education, to which distance education may be an alternative in order to provide some relief. It can sometimes save students a significant amount of money as opposed to traditional education. Distance education may be able to help to save students a considerable amount financially by removing the cost of transportation. In addition, distance education may be able to save students from the economic burden of high-priced course textbooks. Many textbooks are now available as electronic textbooks, known as e-textbooks, which can offer digital textbooks for a drastically reduced price in comparison to traditional textbooks. Also, the increasing improvements in technology have resulted in many school libraries having a partnership with digital publishers that offer course materials for free, which can help students significantly with educational costs. Overall, distance education done online is generally a much less expensive way to learn and get degrees.
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