Does distance learning have value?

The process of learning has evolved rapidly over the past few years. Even when the student and teacher are not present in the same place, it is possible to continue the learning process uninterruptedly, through distance learning.

 Something that was, way beyond imagination until a few years back, is an amazing reality now, owing to the technological advancement and changing lifestyles. It is nothing less than a boon for those who could not pursue or even start their education due to some reason.

 Let us take sneak peek into the various aspects of distance learning, which have proved beneficial. Traditionally, distance learning was synonymous with the correspondence courses only. Technology and the shift in the mindsets have resulted at the beginning of the new era in distance learning, which is fast gaining popularity.

The MOOC, that is a massive open online course, is a vast platform aimed at endless participation and access for all, through the internet. It also has interactive courses where the students can indulge in community interactions and discussions. This allows the students to have the leverage to get in touch and enrol in the college outside their reach, physically or materialistically. As a result higher education is not just limited to the few privileged ones; rather it is available to all the deserving students as well, enhancing their prospects and quality of life.

Due to the commercialisation of the educational institutions, the fee has been skyrocketing every year, which leaves the higher education a dream far-fetched, for many. With distance learning as an available option, the students can materialise their aspirations at a comparatively lower cost, with the added advantage of free online courses offered by many in the field. Not only the students, professionals seeking an added qualification for elevating their prospects, also find it extremely hassle-free to enrol and participate in the desired course, at their convenience, since its flexible schedule and structure has lessened the effect of time constraint and also curtailment due to personal commitment. There are a plethora of e-courses available, covering a varied range of subjects, which is also seen as a feasible option of distance learning.

However, there are certain pre-requisites to the successful implementation of a distance learning program.

. Proper training of the students to utilise the tools involved in the program is very important, as the lack of technical know-how can lead to an unsuccessful experience.

.Time management and self-discipline is another key factor. In the absence of efficient time management skills and domestic distractions, students in distance learning tend to drop out more than their traditional counterparts.

. Interpersonal interaction and support is a must that can help students to successfully pursue their distance learning program. The students might feel a little lost, in the absence of face-to-face interaction with the mentor. To ensure the much-needed connection with the students, meticulously planned support system should be kept in place to fill the lacunae.

Audio comments on the completed assignments, updating weekly videos on the ongoing topic, motivating the students with the congratulatory emails on the completion of the assignment, keeping in mind, those who are lagging, are the few measures taken to increase the productivity of the program.

Distance learning includes an array of learning programs, like crash-courses, diplomas, graduate programs and post-graduate programs in a variety of disciplines, making it accessible for the students all around the globe, without any constraints of time, money and energy, opening innumerable doors to the whole new world of knowledge and innovation, to be explored and the experience to be cherished for the lifetime.

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