Education has been at the helm of transition for a long time; we have seen curriculums evolve and teaching patterns adapt to suit the dynamics of an ever-changing world. The most recent example of this was the introduction to Distance Learning. With its introduction, education can no longer be seen in the same light as before as technology has been given equal weight as an educator, profoundly impacting students to prepare to tackle modern challenges.
What is Distance Learning?
Before we dive right into what factors influence distance learning we will take a moment to explain what distance learning is. In simple terms, Distance Learning is learning that takes place without having to attend a class physically but instead follows them via platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets, amongst others. This learning method has proven to be steadily rising in popularity, with more than 8 million students registering for it in 2021, with the numbers expected to hit a staggering 57 million by 2027.
Let's look at what makes Distance Learning so viable?
Distance learning has been credited as giving an equal chance to everyone worldwide, regardless of background and status, to get an education. Many advantageous merits have served as the foundation for this mode to gain the level of popularity it has. The first and likely most credited reason is that the students' costs are significantly lowered by not having to pay miscellaneous charges (petrol, parking, admin fees etc).
These savings could instead be put towards other upskilling courses that, when coupled with the qualifications a candidate is set to obtain, allow an individual to supersede expectations as a global employee.
Learning at your fingertips
There has been a degree of scepticism about whether learning virtually creates a positive environment. Still, it has to be said that classroom settings may not be possible for many students owing to other factors such as distance or working part-time. With distance learning, all a student needs is stable internet access and a mobile device, and they can learn anytime on the go. This has proven invaluable to working professionals who can only make time after their shifts. There is also the added benefit of having lectures recorded and posted on platforms such as Panopto, so that even if students cannot attend, they will not lose out. The only requirement is a mobile device and a stable internet connection.
A melting pot of courses and exposure
Distance Learning has the great benefit of not singularly limiting an individual to local universities alone but any institution worldwide, so long as they are willing to adjust their timing to the curriculum. This not only allows for a global education but also the perfect opportunity to network and connect with like-minded professionals from around the globe, which can play a significant role in helping to bolster your LinkedIn profile, amongst other profiles. The added impact of having virtual courses will lead to an influx of students opting to engage in distance learning and concurrently gain international exposure.
Upskilling made easy
When students opt for distance learning, it isn’t merely to know what is in their course curriculum; educators have made it a point to allow students to upskill their soft skills in areas such as digital optimisation, presentation, and more. These elective subjects shall prove to be exemplary in helping to educate and adjust students who are not as technologically inclined to be able to meet the mark.
Distance Learning as a multi-dimensional mode of study will undoubtedly be a benchmark of academic achievement and sculpt new foundations on what education is, and how it can be achieved. It will also drive progress and job creation as academics are now open to trying various new techniques, thus gaining invaluable exposure to move forward.