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Distance Learning: Pluses and Minuses

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The most traditional way of learning is ‘Regular Learning Education’. This means that student is always under the observation of a teacher, tutor or a lecturer. They always keep their eye on the students they are assigned with. Under this method of learning, most students have better chance at learning and exploring about their concerned subjects and course of study. Similarly, another way of learning is through ‘Distance Learning. Under this technique, students complete their entire course while staying at their home without needing to physically go to campus for education. The students communicate with their instructors by means of chat rooms like ‘Edmodo’ or ‘Piazza’, video conferencing, or via email. One of the major advantages of distance learning is that you get the privilege of staying at home and prepare yourself for a degree from any university, be it local or international. You get the benefit of studying right beside your loved ones along with doing your daily chores at the same time.

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However, every good thing comes at a price. Distance learning is no stranger to criticism. Some of the drawbacks are that there is no direct contact with faculty and this leads to lack of discipline. Also, not all courses are available or taught. Moreover, not all the employers value distance learning, some prefer old traditional style education. Similarly, one of the greatest snags of distance learning is that students tend to get isolated. For instance, when you are indulged in a distance learning course, you learn at home or any other place. Although virtual classroom is full of students but none is physically present beside you thus there is no or little interaction with other students. Similarly, if there are no peers available with you, the ability to work in groups or have a face-to-face environment conversation with fellow students is much difficult. In fact building relationships of any kind is out of question. All of this makes you feel secluded from your fellow students very easily because you’re working only on assignments and all school related activities alone. Not only this, posting messages to chat rooms or participating in group discussions over the internet can make you feel less interactive as compared to in-person. Moreover, this isolation can result in difficulty in getting immediate feedback. For example, when you want to submit an assignment and need to get something checked before submission, you have to mail your instructor and then wait for their reply, depending on when the instructor becomes online. However, in traditional classrooms all you need is to ask the instructor during class or after class and you can get your answer right away.

Apart from all this, though the issue of isolation cannot be avoided but it sure can be minimized. Study groups can be formed which includes a number of students. These groups can then decide on a time or place to meet once a week every week. Soon these students can become good friends. These study groups not only minimized isolation but also makes students comfortable in socializing and building relationships. Moreover, web collaboration, opportunities to send emails, post messages to message boards or engage in online group discussions, can also fill this sense emptiness for many students.

Coming to the conclusion, distance learning can prove to be a lot helpful for students, especially those who could not afford to get formal education as these distance learning courses are usually less costly. Now it is obvious that distance learning can be a great opportunity for any student who likes to further his study without physically attending any traditional institution. However, the key point to remember in distance learning is to keep yourself motivated, manage your time properly and do join study groups to minimize the isolation effect.

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