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Disadvantages to Distance Learning

Updated on May 9, 2011

Distance Learning

If you didn't know, distance learning is the new and improved college experience. It's an online campus with online classes, assignments, tests, and chats.

Distance learning is a relatively new form of the college experience. Although, yes, the University of Phoenix, has offered online classes since 1976, for the most part, it is still relatively new and improved.

It may sound pretty easy and simple. I mean, you're taking tests online and unsupervised... Ha. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's easy...

Yes there are many advantages to choosing a distance learning program, but have you seen all the disadvantages?

Advantages to Distance Learning

Okay, I really can't go over the disadvantages without at least touching on the advantages a little bit.

The advantages to an online education are fairly simple to understand and figure out.

  1. You can work at your own pace.
  2. There are no scheduled classes or meetings.
  3. You can do your tests and assignments when you have time, as long as you still meet the deadlines.
  4. You can work around your school in regards to your normal work and family schedule.

Distance learning works well for those busy adults and working parents who cannot make scheduled on- campus classes.


Now, for the nitty- gritty of it all. The advantages are easy to see when your a busy person wanting to further or finish your education. But, when you really get down to it, distance learning is not for everyone and every lifestyle.

The disadvantages include:

  1. Even though, you don't have to go to class, you still have to meet the deadlines.
  2. Tests and quizzes are usually timed, so if you opt to use the book while taking the exam, you still have to meet the time limit or risk a penalty to your grade.
  3. Most professors require you to make discussion board posts and replies to threads started by other classmates. These can be easy to forget.
  4. It can be hard to find the right time to study and basically teach yourself the lessons. Yes, the teachers tend to provide a syllabus and assignment schedule at the beginning of the semester, but the time really flies when you're working and keeping a family.
  5. When it comes to the more advanced courses, you may need to find a tutor at a local college because again, you're basically teaching yourself. Yes, the professors and other classmates are available usually by phone and email, it can be hard to find the time to discuss the lesson. And, you still don't get the same one- on- one as live, on campus classes and discussion.
  6. For those auditory learners, distance learning may not be the ideal option. In most cases, you won't be able to hear the professor's lecture, you'll be reading powerpoint presentations, lecture notes, and book assignments.

When making the decision whether or not to take distance learning classes, you need to consider your learning style and whether you think you can handle the classes, virtually on your own.


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    • profile image

      tupou faaoa 5 years ago

      distance learning is a good and also the modern method of learning method. but traditional education is more better, because you don't have to rely on the internet ehhh.......

    • pioneerio profile image

      Abeer Gh 6 years ago from UK

      Distance learning sometimes feel unreal, and the major disadvantage is that some employers don't recognise it! I had my PhD traditionally and my masters though distance learning.I prefered traditional learning, but then, that is just me :)

    • profile image

      ayen_808 7 years ago

      for me, i still want the in-class learning to keep student's competence and somehow to encourage the teachers to be iniative in coming up with an effective teaching strategy and not just depending on what the technology can offer.

    • profile image

      Latha.M 7 years ago

      yes the distance education is real good we can gain our knowledge even in our busy life .

    • profile image

      YaHub 7 years ago

      Yes, distance learning is not something easy to do, that's why those who can succeed to get a degree through distance learning really have done great jobs - and will be better rewarded in their career because they are more self-reliance in getting the jobs done.

    • akhlis profile image

      akhlis 8 years ago

      Informative hub, Whitney!

      You're absolutely right about some points. But about the timed tests and quizzes, I think people can't cheat by using books but they can hire someone else to take tests or pay someone else to help them answer questions. Only people with great determination in studying should participate in distance learning. Juggling work and learning is never easy. It drains us mentally, psychologically, etc.

    • profile image

      Jen 9 years ago

      Hi I am taking online classes, and I love it. Its convienent for my busy life. Its not as easy as everyone thinks. You have to be disciplined. You have to log on three days out of the week. You have to read all the readings required for that week. You have to participate in the class discussion online. Just writing something doesn't count as participation. The instructor reads your work and descides whether it's a substansive response. We have homework but no tests. We have a lot of essays due that are strictly based on our understanding of the subject. The homework isn't that easy either. I spend several hours just doing one assignment.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      Gadzooks, I agree it is so much harder to take distance learning classes versus regular on-campus classes. My family, especially cousing of the samge age, look at me like "why can't you make all 100's" Well I'm teaching myself, and there are time limits on tests, so you can't cheat and take your time doing so.

    • Gadzooks profile image

      Gadzooks 10 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Whitney,

      I actually work in this field, not distance learning as such, but "blended learning" where materials are made available online, but there is still a requirement to attend University.

      Doint a course 100% remote is a lot harder, even with live video conferencing and all the other "toys" available, but, being able to attend 1 day a week, or even 1 day a fortnight opens up education to a much wider audience and is a good thing IMO.

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 10 years ago from Fremont CA

      Distance learning is also impersonal. I mean, we don't get to get to interact with people which I think is essential. With distance learning, it's just the individual & the computer. It's like a clerical job.