What Is Distance Learning

Distance learning is the next trend in the area of higher education, but what is distance learning specifically?  It goes by many other names that you may be more familiar with, such as online learning, online education, distance education, virtual college and e-learning.  This trend allows students to pursue an educational degree program through an accredited university or college from the comfort of their home using a computer and internet connection.

While distance learning can also talk about various learning courses available via mail, the rising popularity of the internet has pretty much rendered that method of distance learning a thing of the past. With a computer, internet connection and self motivation, you can earn a distance learning education degree.

Advantages of College Distance Learning

The main advantage of distance learning is the flexibility you have, especially if you already have a job, children or other “grown up” responsibilities. You can study at midnight after the house has gone to bed, or squeeze in some course work during your lunch break at work. Being able to work at your own pace is a huge benefit of distance learning, and one of the main reasons to consider this kind of college education. Cheaper tuition for online courses also makes distance learning more affordable than traditional colleges or universites, adding another benefit to the working individual.

Drawbacks of an Online Education

Unless you are highly self motivated, online education can be tougher than you think. Some students currently taking online coursework complain that they miss the interaction of other students and the professor that can be found on a traditional university or college. Distance learning requires that you be disciplined in scheduling your study time, coursework and meeting deadlines. The reading and writing skills required because of the lack of teacher and student interaction can be difficult to overcome for some.

Types of Distance Learning

When talking about distance learning colleges, there are two basic types of courses offered. There are synchronous and asynchronous courses. Basically, the synchronous study programs require that you log into your online course work at the same time as your professor and other students in the “class.” Primary communication is in real time, through web cam and instant messaging. Asynchronous courses do not require simultaneous attendance with the professor and other classmates online. Most communication is through web chats, discussion boards and forums.  In these asynchronous courses, you truly work

Making a Choice

There are many distance learning colleges and universities that offer many choices to help you obtain your degree online. After deciding on a particular field of study, you should choose an online school that best fits your learning style and has a good reputation in your chosen field. Also, be certain to choose an accredited online school so your degree is accepted by any future employers as well as other colleges and universities should you want to tansfer to another college.

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