Distance education or distance learning is the term that applies when a student is enrolled in a course, but they complete their classes and studies at home rather than in the school.
There are many distance education formats available nowadays such as: internet-based, classroom/internet based and print-based. Also, these programs can be completed entirely at a distance, or through various blended programs where completion is just partially earned through online studies. Distance learning has really expanded in 2014 when more than 5.2 million students enrolled in at least one online course.
While completing their work students are mostly under the supervision of their parents or without any supervision, but are as in the traditional classrooms completely lead by their instructors.
There are various benefits to distance education. One key benefit is the partnership between the educational institution, instructor, parent and student. Good communication needs to be ensured, in order to help the student access all the available resources, and to complete the work with the full support of the education provider.
Distance learning is also great because of its flexibility. When completing your tasks at home, you can do the work when it fits into your work and life schedule. You can also spend the amount of time on a particular subject that is needed in order to understand it properly, rather than needing to fit the studies into a certain time frame.
Virtual Classroom Benefits
Having students in a classroom setting can sometimes distract them from their own work. Students can easily get caught up in what other students are doing rather than listening to the information being taught or completing their assignments. With distance education, they are the becoming the only student present in the virtual classroom. This can help ensure that they are staying on task and getting the information out of the lessons that they need, without any distractions that are commonly present in traditional classrooms.
Accommodating the Students First
Each student learns better in their own way and at their own pace. Some learn better through visually looking at the information while others learn better with hands on work. With distance education, the course work can be accommodated to meet the learning needs of the student, at least most of the time.
Some may think that distance education can not be effective, but according to some surveys – it is even more effective than the conventional education. The student receives as much one-on-one attention as they need, and this is most helpful in ensuring that they fully comprehend the work they need to complete.
Online Learning Programs
When it comes to distance education, there are two different programs that can be used. The first is an online learning program. This type of program will give the student more of a school experience, especially if it is an online high school program. The student can view lessons online by watching a podcast, read various documents, watch videos, complete research they need to, and even interact with other students.
Correspondence Learning Programs
The second is a correspondence learning program. This type of program is well structured and is primarily paper based. The work is completed in workbooks and is great for students to develop a routine that they will stick with in order to complete their learning. They will not have the interaction with other students but will work more closely with their parent in their studies and have the support of teachers as needed.
Compensating the Student`s Social Needs
The lack of socialization for any student enrolled in distance education courses can be an issue for their future development into responsible and accomplished human beings. Socializing with other students is an extremely important life skill that they need to adopt as soon as possible. In order to give the student a chance to properly socialize with others, many distance education programs include an opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities as an extension to the educational functions. Also included in these activities are the various practices that help in developing character, critical thinking, social skills and their talents.