Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and economies all across the globe. A lot of industries have had to readjust and realign to fight off pandemic blues. Education industry has been impacted heavily due to the pandemic. Online learning is not something new but after the pandemic it seems that online learning would be on an equal footing with on campus education.
In this post, we intend to cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and distance education.
But before we begin, here’s a quick overview on the impact of this pandemic on the education industry.
As of January, around 825 million learners globally have been impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s an image courtesy Wikipedia displaying this impact.
Online Education and Distance learning has been a lifesaver for students in the current COVID-19 era. From schools to colleges to universities, distance learning and online education have been the only modes of delivering quality education. Let’s quickly discuss here in this blog piece, the key pros and cons of distance learning.
A point to remember, online learning and distance education are not the same. Distance education would normally require more of the solo work while online education or e-learning is the technology-driven mode of education which simulates normal classrooms.
We are discussing the pros and cons of both distance learning and online education here.
Let’s get started with the pros or the advantages of distance and online learning.
The Pros of Online Education and Distance Learning
The unique selling point of distance learning education is the flexibility that it offers along with the ease of its delivery. It is also extremely cost-effective and you don’t need to travel to a different city or country.
Another key advantage of Online learning education is the modes that it offers to suit almost everyone. From weekend learning to a flexible length of the course, there is a lot that makes distance learning the preferred mode of education for senior professionals.
Let’s quickly sum up the key advantages of distance learning and online mode of education in bullet points.
- Flexibility is the biggest Advantage of all form of online education.
- You can retain your day time job
- Is less expensive than full-time counterparts
- You get a lot of extra material that you would miss on a normal full-time course
- Most of the distance learning courses are more career-oriented
- It’s futuristic when mixed with technology and extensive online content
- It’s easy to deliver for institutions
- An ideal choice for short professional certificate and job training courses
- Hybrid courses are getting popular- A mix of face to face and distance education
- Lots of scope of innovation in future
And that’s not all. Technology has made it possible for universities to experiment with the delivery of these courses.
Online education is the game-changer in the education industry.
Most of the top institutes have already started delivering courses online. From networking opportunities to top innovation, it’s a lot that is on offer within the course curriculum.
A lot of top e-learning websites act as aggregators to best distance learning and online courses. A lot of top institutions also have initiated both free and paid short professional courses.
Distance learning and online education are widely accepted now by employers as well. The online mode of education is set to gain face further in the post covid pandemic era.
Now, time for some disadvantages of distance learning mode of education.
The Cons of Online education and Distance Learning
Every coin has two sides to it. Same is the case with distance education. We now explore the flip side.
There are various cons on the flip side of the very promising online and distance education industry.
Technology can’t replicate personal attention at least as yet. Simulated environment or digital ebooks can still not replicate the vibrant classroom atmosphere.
The immense learning that happens during group work is missing.
Also, missing are the chances to improve communication and build a long-lasting network. Moreover, the campus fun is non-existent as well in the distance mode of learning. Clarity around employability post-graduation via distance mode is also missing at most places.
Lets now present in a few bullet points the key disadvantages of distance learning and online education.
- Where’s the fun? – the campus life and friends are missing.
- Can be intimidating at times with a lot of material all sent at once.
- Barring the top course providers, credibility and quality of these courses can be difficult to assess.
- Practical knowledge is missing or lacking in the online mode.
- Networking opportunities are fewer than the full-time courses.
- Individual focus is missing in most of the cases for online and distance education.
- A need for self-motivation is a prerequisite to take up online education.
- Not for everyone- Technology can be a barrier.
Distance learning and online education is certainly not for everyone. The experience of college life can’t be replicated through distance learning. A lot of solo work can make the whole process tiring and maintaining motivation throughout the period can be difficult.
Also, if you want to succeed while taking up distance learning or online education, you must be tech-savvy.
A lot of people lose steam midway thus delaying the process of completing studies. The flexibility offered can then become a disadvantage as a lot of people fail to complete the course in time. A lot even fail to complete the course and thus losing money.
Summing it up
Distance learning and online mode of education is an alternate route of education on offer. It can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous.
Distance education and online education from top education can be extremely difficult and a journey requiring a lot of discipline and self-motivation.
A lot depends on your expectation as a student. If you want flexibility around education due to your job, family etc. then distance education can be a blessing to you.
But, if you think it can be a cheaper and easier way towards a degree then you might be gearing up for big heartbreak.
It has advantages, it has disadvantages. However, the pros outnumber the cons of technology-driven online and distance education. The future is bright indeed with a lot of universities now offering hybrid courses. Exciting times ahead for the education industry.