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Education has been evolving for many years now, and with the challenges to stay in classrooms, created by the COVID-19 pandemic situation, many educational institutions had to move away from a traditional classroom setting to distance learning.
This form of education has also helped those who were unable to attend face-to-face classes for different reasons to fulfill their educational aspirations by being able to take distance learning programs.
Moreover, the development of technology in the area of video conferencing tools and live streaming services have also brought a lot of advantages for both the teachers and students at the same time, so it is easy to understand why many now prefer to go with distance learning as their way of getting an education.
Of course, distance education may not be the best option for everyone trying to get a degree or professional certification, so understanding better what distance education involves and the advantages of distance learning courses becomes essential for anyone trying to make a smart decision when choosing between traditional school or online education.
We know that making a decision like this can be critical in anyone’s life, so with this guide, we want to help you be better informed so you can make a smarter choice. Keep reading to learn the details.
The first and most obvious aspect of distance education is that the learning process takes place with instruction that is distributed via the Internet by means of video conferencing software or an online education portal.
Another relevant aspect is that distance learning programs can be synchronous and asynchronous. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Taken from the name, an asynchronous distance learning program can be defined as one where both the teacher and the students are in an online environment at the same time. In other words, the contents are delivered in real-time with live communication through video conferencing tools.
Obviously, this is the closest form to traditional classes, but it usually lacks the flexibility expected from distance learning because students need to meet with their teachers and perhaps other students at a prescheduled time. This form of distance learning does not allow students to learn at their own pace.
Similarly, we can define an asynchronous distance learning program from the name, as it refers to a learning experience where students receive content to consume at their own pace. Students are not required to meet their teachers for a real-time lecture, but they are sometimes given deadlines to go through all the content and complete assignments.
From the teachers’ side, they can create the content and assignments whenever it is more convenient for them, and they can offer students support either in live sessions at convenient times or through messaging tools upon agreement.
At this point, it is important to highlight that some distance education may combine both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning to improve the whole learning experience.
With all these in mind, it is time for you to see the main benefits of distance learning programs.
Before we start describing the key advantages of distance learning, it is important to make clear that this is not a comprehensive list. Different teachers and students will find different advantages in distance learning, so there may be some we are not mentioning.
Remember, this guide intends to give you enough information for you to make your mind on whether distance learning is the right choice for you or not, so we have only selected some advantages we consider as the most relevant ones.
That said, here are the distance learning advantages we selected.
Perhaps this is the most obvious advantage but also the most relevant one for many of the stakeholders in distance learning, meaning teachers, students, and even parents when speaking about distance education for children.
From the teachers point of view, distance learning offers flexibility to adapt their schedule to their needs in order to work more efficiently and achieve a work-life balance. This derives from the fact that there is no commute involved in distance education allowing for a better time management.
From the students point of view, the flexibility regarding time management is similar. However, another important aspect of the increased flexibility for students is the fact that they can have other activities and even work parallel to their learning process.
On the other hand, for some parents having their children at home at times they would usually be at school can be challenging. However, the flexibility of distance learning can also open opportunities such as spending more time with them and adapting their schedule to help them learn especially in asynchronous distance education when the teacher is not present.
Apart from the benefit of time management, the benefits of distance learning not requiring anyone to commute provide savings on car fuel for both teachers and students (or their parents, if it is the case).
Also, distance education generally has cheaper tuition fees or offers the opportunity to pay only for single modules or courses that will be taken, meaning that online programs are usually more affordable. And students do not have to spend money on rent or meal plans as required for those who go away from home in search of higher education opportunities.
When students move around they have to carry some of their study materials, which can be inconvenient if they include heavy textbooks or because some students tend to forget them sometimes.
Knowing that no one leaves their mobile devices behind nowadays, distance learning students can widely benefit from having learning materials digitalized in the palm of their hand. And even if they prefer physical textbooks, such students will not need to carry them around as they can leave them to use them at home.
Given the fact that distance learning programs require students to use a reliable internet connection and other complicated technology, students are forced to up their game and become tech-savvy which is something that can open opportunities since many employers demand newcomers to be well-versed in this kind of technology.
It is important to also highlight that not only technical skills are developed with remote learning, but also communication skills since it is more difficult to pass a message online than in face-to-face interactions.
Some remote learning programs, which are created by colleges or universities, offer a degree, but others only offer a certificate of completion. The latter is a type of remote education that has been considered as having no value in the past.
However, in recent years, employers have evolved together with education and now understand that distance education is valuable even without granting a special degree upon completion. If it is accredited by the institution offering such education it is valuable.
For example, there is something called the Distance Education Council (DEC) in India, and all programs that are credited by this council are automatically recognized as suitable for employment in positions under the Central Government. So, as long as you know the corresponding authority to credit your education in the physical location of your employer, you do not need to worry.
Distance learning offers access to education to people across the world and even to those students with restricted mobility and other disabilities or special needs, such as hearing difficulty, thanks to technological developments.
Also, distance learning is great for students for some networking with people all over the world, something especially interesting for working students or those looking forward to launching their careers in a sector like the aviation industry.
As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can be learning from the comfort of your living room couch. You do not need to be physically present anymore, which is extremely beneficial during the times of the pandemic.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and distance education is no exception. However, the major drawback maybe for those students who require social interaction or students who find it difficult to stay self-motivated without the help of a teacher.
Here at Aeroclass, we are proud of being pioneers in distance learning for the aviation industry, with an offer that includes fascinating aviation topics for entry-level students who are trying to launch their aviation career or those who are more advanced and to evolve to the next level.
Of course, you can always contact us in case you need any help or guidance on what would be your best next step to launch or improve your career. We will be more than happy to help you.