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Distance Learning: Definition and Its Types (Brief Discussion on the Most Common Types)

Updated on May 4, 2020
Distance Learning is the new normal in the 21st century education— Education 4.0.
Distance Learning is the new normal in the 21st century education— Education 4.0.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, regular classes are disrupted and ended earlier than expected. The Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon Islands of the Philippines, and other parts of the country, is still being imposed; hence the opening for a new school calendar is affected. Country’s education agency has now decided to start the school year 2020-2021 on August or September instead on June; however this is still subject to many considerations, and depends on the situation of COVID-19 pandemic. The agency is looking on the possibility of using distance learning to still cater education among learners, and keep them away from acquiring the disease.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance Learning is a form of education where there is less face-to-face interaction between learners and teachers, or no physical interaction at all (Oxbridge Academy, 2020). This include but not limited to correspondence education, home study, virtual instruction, and module-based learning. This means that learners have to learn from home by providing them with learning materials to achieve the desired competencies.

Types of Distance Learning

There are different types of distance learning that can be used this time of pandemic, and be opted to address the lack of internet in some places. These are Synchronous Distance Learning (SDL), Asynchronous Distance Learning (ADL), Hybrid Distance Learning (HDL), and Electronic Learning (E-Learning).

Synchronous Distance Learning

Synchronous Distance Learning (SDL) involves live communication through social media platform or teleconferencing. Some social media such as Zoom, Facebook and Skype can be used in this kind of distance learning. Virtual class is one of the characteristics of SDL where teachers give discussions to learners through the social media platform. Learners can also ask question to teachers, and at the same manner teachers can provide immediate answer and feedback to learners. However, this is difficult to implement in areas where internet is unavailable.

Asynchronous Distance Learning

Asynchronous Distance Learning (ADL) allows learners to learn at their own pace, and does not require virtual meeting to achieve learning rather learning goals are achieved through the materials provided to learners. Learners, however, are required to submit their academic work on a given set of deadlines. This kind of distance learning does not provide immediate feedback, however a good option to places where internet is not available.

Hybrid Distance Learning

Hybrid Distance Learning (HDL) is a combination of SDL and ADL. In this form of education, learners are required to meet at a particular time in an internet classroom or physical classroom. Learners are given also the opportunity to learn from home for some competencies at their own pace.

Electronic Distance Learning

Electronic Learning is a form of distance learning which enables learners to access learning through computer-based learning materials such as CD, DVD, PDF, or e-books. Television can also be used in this type of distance learning.

Distance learning is a good option to deliver education to learners in times of a health crisis. However, things must really be considered including the chance of learner distraction, technology-based concerns, lack of social interaction, and difficulty to supervise learner’s performance. If these concerns are addressed, implementation of distance learning will go smoothly during a pandemic.

© 2020 RBN Library and Resource Center


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