Distance Learning Programs: What You Should Know

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

Did you know that 75% of schools have conducted classes online in 2021? 80% of schools are adding additional technology to help students navigate online courses as well. 

Do you want to learn more about distance learning programs? This guide will tell you everything you need to know. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Is Distance Learning?

You should first know a distance learning definition. Distance learning is a way to get an education through online instruction. Distance learning allows students to receive an education without having to be in a classroom but using online learning platforms.

It might be difficult to imagine if you’ve never taken an online class, but distance learners can receive the same quality education as their peers who take classes in person. While distance learning isn’t new, it has become more popular with the rise of technology and changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

What Are the Different Kinds of Distance Learning Systems?

There are many different kinds of distance learning systems. The system used in your school can use any one of these styles of learning or a combination of them. 

Video conferencing is one common type of distance learning. With this method, a class meeting takes place over a video call. This allows students to interact with one another and their teachers.

Hybrid classes submit their assignments through an online portal. They participate in classwork online half the time and in-person during the other half. 

Open schedule courses are much more flexible. These classes provide students with all of the course material at the beginning of the semester.

The students are free to work on the material at their own pace. Assignment deadlines might be set once a week or at the end of the semester. 

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These Are the Different Forms of Technology Used in Distance Learning

The most basic form of distance learning just requires access to the internet and a computer. The more advanced the technology, the better the program can be, however.

The right video conferencing software will make a class go on without a hitch. Avoid running into problems by keeping your computer updated to keep it running smoothly.

A good learning management system makes navigating online classes easier for the student. Here, students will be able to log into one place to access all course materials. You’ll also have access to features like class discussion boards or private messaging options to maintain engagement with the class. 

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What Is the Experience Like for Online Learners?

While students new to online learning might have difficulty at first, learning the system becomes easier each day. Students will have instant access to professors through a message board. 

As a teacher, you can set up virtual office hours to discuss any concerns. If you’re a student in the class, you can work on group assignments and projects through interactive video conferencing options. 

You’ll also be able to download course textbooks onto your computer or tablet for studying purposes. 

What Are the Benefits of Online Learning?

There are many benefits to completing your education online. It offers you the chance to develop self-discipline.

It offers a lot of freedom and flexibility. As long as you have access to the internet, you’re able to complete your schoolwork from any place. 

Online learning is accessible to anyone with a complicated schedule. If you work during the day, you can complete your studies at night. 

Getting an online education can save you time and money as well. You won’t have to spend gas or bus money on a commute to campus. You can also avoid traffic by doing your coursework from the comfort of your home. 

What Are Some of the Cons of Online Learning?

Next on the list of pros and cons of distance learning are some of the disadvantages of being a distance learner. Younger students might struggle a bit more with online learning than older ones. 

The self-disciplined nature of online learning can cause younger students to fall behind. They might struggle to meet deadlines. 

Another downside of online learning is the cost of reliable access to the internet. While most homes have access to the internet these days, switching to online learning might require purchasing a better internet package. 

You might have to upgrade to a better computer or buy a webcam if one isn’t built into your current computer. 

Additional Services You Can Offer to Distance Learners

As an instructor navigating the world of distance learning, you want to do everything you can to help students succeed. Offering students the same services they have access to on-campus is key. 

Access to tutors can help students struggling in difficult subjects. Access to the same library resources traditional students have is another important service. When students have online access to research materials, they’ll be able to learn just as much. 

What Kind of Courses Are Offered to Distance Learners?

There are all kinds of distance learning courses available today. K-12 schools have succeeded in maintaining a high level of learning online. 

Many college programs offer a lot of their courses online. Some degrees are even offered completely online. 

How Can You Make an Online Course Successful?

Making an online class successful is all about keeping engagement up the entire semester. If you’re starting your first online class, start with a welcome video and ask your students to make one too. This will help you all get to know one another and stay connected.

Provide feedback and updates every week. Check-in with students and let them know you’re available to answer their questions.  

Everything You Need to Know About Distance Learning Programs

Whether you’re a student or teacher, learning about distance learning programs will help you prepare for success. Make sure you understand the different learning systems and technology used. 

Check out some of the other education blogs on our site for more helpful tips.