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Distance Learning Defined

By Jennifer Pattern

The Definitive Explanation

Distance learning is a term which encompasses all learning that takes place at locations remote from the point of instruction. It is an option for beginning studies or continuation of study off-campus in locations via cable television, internet, satellite classes, videotapes, correspondence courses, or by other means.

Distance learning integrates technology in educational courses whereby students may view and participate in lectures from various locations, or on an individual basis. Various forms of computer-based communication may be used to facilitate class discussions and communication among faculty and students.

Distance learning may take the forms of an instructor-led course delivered via satellite to traditional home study correspondence courses, which is viewed by the hierarchy in education as still the most effective practice which wields the highest course grades, in short, results.

The Advantages

Distance education enables the student to tend to the rest of their life obligations, and is perfect for those in employment either full or part time who cannot guarantee exact times and days weekly for education. Centred on the student, the distance learning course, laid out and worked through in this method is the chosen variety for the older student, and the younger, as it bridges the gap between the assessor and the student with technologies which can be used and accessed at any time. With this method, a student's location is not a barrier when interested in furthering their education, nor is their lack of time as the courses can fit into their lifestyle and schedule.

The industry has progressed a great extent, in securing reliable and effective systems to administer the courses. More and more students and campuses are recognising the value of online and home study courses. The educational institution responsible for the learning programme will offer the student the course materials in hard copy for their perusal, and their tutorage takes place online along with their grading of assignments. Each student has their own tutor who guides them through the learning process and coursework. Because they are capable of being in touch with their tutors, the students are able to ask questions more freely and receive more in depth answers than they would if a teacher was to stand in front of a class and have to tend to numerous students at a time under time restrictions.

The Syllabus

Distance learning programs are carefully thought out, and explanations to what the student is required to absorb are clearly laid out in these highly efficient course materials, thus giving the student the ability to check back and look forward if there is a question about the material. The materials are also there for the student to refer to when they are completing their coursework which would be the case in any working environment, and this mimicking gives the student the practise they need later on when in a working environment, and shows them the importance of knowing how to sift through information to get the answers they need.

The Asynchronous Method

Most distance learning is occurring asynchronously (at different times) which is the opposite of the norm as most institutions offer synchronous (teaching and learning being done at the same time), but the method has quickly caught on, bringing people to education that never thought they would be able to better themselves or their portfolios. Because of the care that is put into the compiling of these courses, even some schools that offer the synchronous method of teaching have opted for these materials to teach from instead of using the old text book method.

With the modern desire and requirement to continue education, and the competitiveness of the modern workplace the distance learning programs of the worlds best Colleges and Universities will continue to grow and be demanded. The message that should be taught in a global society is to clearly not miss the educational boat.

About The Author

Jennifer Pattern works for Direct Education, a company that advises students on learning programs and provides career advice. She recommends world renowned UK College


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