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Is Distance Learning Good or Bad?

21st January 21

Despite the fact that distance learning has been around now for over 100 years, it still gets a bad reputation. Sometimes being labelled as an ‘inferior’ method of education that offers both lesser quality qualifications and a poor learning experience. Often leaving prospective students wondering if distance learning is a good or bad option altogether.

These negative connotations mostly arise from speculation from those who have yet to have direct experience with it. If you were to ask a previous distance learning student what they thought, you’d likely hear a completely different story. In fact, 78% of online students feel online learning was the same if not better than their offline learning experiences.

It can be hard to see how people can feel so strongly for and against the same learning style. Admittedly, a lot of the negativity surrounding online distance learning providers stems from the existence of ‘diploma mills’. Which are essentially scam schools offering fake qualifications. Unfortunately, reputable online colleges can wrongly be tarnished with the same brush as these academic frauds.  

However, regulation and accreditation systems are in place to help learners distinguish genuine providers from the fake. Allowing students to pursue distance learning and enjoy the many benefits of online education without concern.

If you’re considering taking a distance learning course, read on to find out why previous students recommend it so highly.

learndirect - Is Distance Learning Good or Bad?

It’s more Affordable

Affordability is high on the list of priorities of those looking to pursue online education. That’s because online distance learning tends to be the more affordable option for a number of reasons.

You can get the same high-quality education at lower prices because of the fewer overheads involved in online facilities.

Tuition fees are typically more cost-effective because the price of your course doesn’t factor in running a building. Or the cost of a teacher to deliver lessons. Instead, you’re paying purely for the course materials and access to them, which often results in much lower prices.  

Outside of the tuition fees, you’ll also save a significant amount by not having to pay for additional expenses. Consider how much you’d pay for transportation to campus, textbooks and supplies, as well as printing. None of these are necessary for distance learning courses.

The regulated Qualifications are the Same

If you’re looking at an online course that provides a recognised qualification, it’ll be the same as its offline counterpart. The course may be delivered to you in different ways, perhaps through a mixture of reading, audio and video materials. But the course itself has been regulated by the exact same awarding body.

This means online GCSEs, A Levels and Access to Higher Education Diplomas are no different from those studied in class.

The government agency Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) is the regulator of every awarding organisation. No matter if they are on or offline. They make sure the courses you take are scored, graded and recognised equally.

So, make sure your distance learning provider has the Ofqual seal of approval. That way you can be safe in the knowledge that the qualification you’re working towards is the real deal.

learndirect - Distance Learning - Is it Good or Bad?

It Caters to Your Needs

Distance learning courses are delivered in line with the student's needs as opposed to the schools. In traditional education, you’d be bound by a strict timetable of classes, dictated by operating hours and teacher availability. With no room to move them around so they align with your schedule. Instead, you’d be the one making the sacrifices to fit them in.

With distance learning, there are no classes or timetables. So, you needn’t be anywhere at a specific time. You decide what time you’ll commit to learning and when it takes place. No matter if that’s during the day, late in the evening or in the early hours of the morning.

This flexibility allows you to study around your already busy life. Which is one of the biggest drawcards for students considering online education. Many of which have either pre-existing work commitments or family responsibilities. In 2020, studies showed that 60% of online students had children and 67% were working while studying.

By choosing to study online you don’t have to choose between paying the bills or family time and your education. Minimising the stresses and strains that can be associated with classroom learning.

What’s more, you can study around your challenges. Should you have a physical disability or mental health issues that hinder your ability to attend classes, it’s no problem. You can learn from where you’re most comfortable and remove any concerns you would have otherwise felt. Allowing you to focus on your work and enjoy the learning experience.

No matter your background, needs or experience, distance learning is open to everyone.

learndirect - Is Distance Learning Good or Bad? - It caters to your needs.

You’re more Likely to find the Course you Want

Distance learning providers are also becoming increasingly popular due to the variety of courses they provide.

There is limited availability for many courses offline because they don’t generate enough interest to be worthwhile. Bearing in mind that schools must make enough money to cover higher overheads, courses must turn higher profits.

So, if you’re looking to study business, for example, you’d likely only have the option of one or two courses. Rather than an abundance of courses that cater to different business specialisms or skills.

The school would be looking to channel the interest so that one course would meet the needs of many. Saving them the expense of paying for a wider range of options that cater to more niche requirements.

Online courses are cheaper to purchase, set-up and provide. For this reason, the range offered by online providers is far more extensive. They have much more freedom to provide less mainstream courses. Giving you a wider range to choose from when considering your options.

Distance learning providers generally have courses to meet almost every need. Whether you aspire to study at university, gain workplace skills or explore a hobby, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

learndirect - You're more likely to find the course you want with Distance Learning

Getting Started

For the above reasons and many more, distance learning is certainly a good alternative to classroom education. You can achieve the same result as you would through traditional means, but with added flexibility and affordability.

Find out how you can make the most of your distance learning experience.

Otherwise, if you’re ready to start looking at online courses, search the ones available with learndirect. As a leading UK distance learning provider, you can be assured of their quality.

What’s more, with our online courses you will benefit from dedicated tutor assistance as well as flexible payment options. Helping make your transition back into education even more affordable. 

Browse our range of GCSEsA-Levelsprofessional skills and Access to HE Diplomas by clicking the link below.  

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