Distance learning has been instrumental in advancing education around the world and will continue to be so in the future. What is the purpose of distance learning though? Is it not true that it is better to learn in a live classroom with teachers and boards and so forth? Well to answer that question, it is important to look at the reason(s) behind the shift to distance learning. Even though many might prefer live in-person lessons, there are many benefits and advantages with distance learning; consequently, the use of distance learning courses/platforms is likely to increase not decrease.
The purpose of distance learning from its inception has been to deliver the best quality of education possible to the most people through a remote medium that makes distance and in some instances time a non-issue for learners. E-Learning online allows students to achieve in ways that might not have been possible before, this is without even considering the Covid-19 pandemic which locked schools up and forced everyone into a world of remote living. The purpose of Distance learning is to limit unpredictable factors, eliminate distance as a barrier to education, and put students on the best path to success.
Why is online teaching important?
The biggest issue and important aspect of distance learning and online education is the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, the pandemic continues and even though some schools and cities have opened their doors to students, not all have done so and many have already discovered the benefits of e-learning and distance learning. The ability to learn from a laptop or mobile gives utility and practicality to students, some of whom might be at a disadvantage or even lack the tools they might have with an online platform or distance learning course.
Globalization is another important point since we no longer have to rely on our local market for anything. Are schools near you not great? You can begin an online course. Do you lack a teacher of a particular foreign language in your area? You can find a one-to-one tutor online who can help you. We are no longer confined by the local and our notion of the possible has therefore been expanded. Although Covid-19 slowed down globalization for a time, in the end, it will act as an accelerating factor in education since it has opened doors that were previously closed such as access to new courses and programs online.
Lastly, an important aspect of e-learning is the level playing field it brings. Equality in education can be difficult for schools to achieve due to a lack of resources, uneven classroom sizes, and preconceived notions. Distance learning and distance learning platforms create space for equality in education since the courses are not always one size fits all and can accommodate students from different backgrounds. If you have a connection and a device the knowledge of the whole world can be at your fingertips and this is not only an educational advance but also a psychological which allows students to flourish.
Advantages of distance learning
One obvious advantage of Distance learning and e-learning education is utility. The courses can be easy to sign up for and use. The materials are generally provided and online materials are easy to come by. In traditional classrooms, there are many papers to keep up with: quizzes, notes, practice tests, essays, etc.; however, these can all be kept neatly online and in special folders within a distance learning courses online platform. An example of this would be rather than endless notes, why not instead click and edit a PDF document with an online PDF editor like LuminPDF or be able to take a quiz online and see right away how you did. There are many useful elements of distance learning.
Also, the ability to adapt is paramount in today’s educational environment and this is just not possible in a traditional sense, especially with what is going on globally, so the best bet is to shift to an adaptable online distance learning education program. The ability to adapt not only to the situation but also to the student is a great advantage of these programs since they can also adapt in what they provide. So in this way it isn’t only about traditional students who might be in the classroom but adults seeking new skills to re-enter the workforce or e-learning in teacher education so that they might better use e-learning platforms.
Types of E-Learning
The purpose of e-learning is to educate and one of the fastest most efficient ways to learn is with one-to-one learning where the student works with a private tutor who will assist them in the learning process without having to focus their time on other students. This allows for a custom program that will accelerate the learning process.
Another type of e-learning in contrast with one-to-one learning is group classes. This is great for people who enjoy the traditional in-class environment of learning without having to actually be in a physical location. This is especially helpful to younger learners who not only need to learn subjects but also work on their social skills while being in a comfortable setting.
Not all e-learning occurs in the same way, for example in recent years and especially in the past, there has been a shift to live classroom settings where the student or learner is in a live classroom often with their peers. This can be done as mentioned in groups of varying size but also one-to-one, but there are alternatives for those who are otherwise unable to attend live classes.
Some distance learning courses can be done with a delay so that they can be done remotely and at the time best suited for the student. Sometimes students live in different time zones or they are adult learners and have to work but that shouldn’t remove the ability to attend a course so there are options available to accommodate such students.
The purpose of distance learning is to provide an opportunity to learn to all students without the barriers of geography or time. There are many different e-learning platforms and many different types of online distance learning but they can all fulfill this key purpose of bringing education to people wherever they are.