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Distance Learning Pros and Cons

Updated on July 28, 2011

Katelynn Hamilton

The Pros and Cons of Distance Learning

Introduction:

            In the past twenty years the internet has created new and interesting ways for teachers of kindergarten -12th grade to present information to their students.   One of the most notable ways instructors are now able to incorporate technology into the classroom is through distance learning.  Online and distance college degrees have been around for a while, but now distance learning is being incorporated into education of kindergarten through 12th grade.  There are both positive effects and negative effects of distance learning.  The instructor has to know how to incorporate the distance learning component that best fits the needs of their students. 

Positive effects of distance learning:

            -  Convince/ flexibility:  students can work at their own pace and at their own time. 

-  Cost- travel expenses:  Less time traveling to class if it is all distance learning or a hybrid class.

-  Self- directed:  The student is the motivator (this can be both a positive and negative, depending on the student.

            - Less time in classroom (pro and con)

            -  Accessibility:  Students can access information when they need it.

-  Better form of learning for some:  Some students learn more and are more efficient when they use computers as a vehicle for learning.

-Students can see their grade calculations:  Keeps track of the student grades and work they have and haven’t handed in.  Students are able to see why their grade is what it is.

-  If a student is sick they don’t have to worry about work.  The student can go online and access the information they need.

            -  Access to materials: handouts, study guides, presentations, websites used in class.

-Availability of the instructor:  the students can communicate with the instructor during all hours instead of just during class time.

            -  Able to communicate with other students:  group work, missed class notes.

            -  Announcements or newsletters:  For both students and parents.

-  Experience of using the internet:  When a class depends on distance learning, your students are getting a lot of experience using computers and the internet.  this is real world experience for your students.

Negative aspects of using distance learning:

-           May lack the needed face to face time:  Some students need to be physically present in a classroom to get them to sit down and do the work.  For a student who procrastinates or who doesn’t do their work/ reading distance learning can be difficult.

-          Lack of social interaction with other students and teacher:  The social component of learning is not there.  Even if there are discussion boards you are not getting the face to face interaction.

-          Making time for homework and class work:  Students need to be able to prioritize and take the time to do their work that needs to be done.

-          Less support: Teacher cannot see the student struggling and help them as easily as in a distance learning group.

-          Lack of internet access

-          Lack of printer or other accessories needed

-          Lack of a computer

-          Cost of computer, accessories or internet access

-          May not be as helpful for early childhood education.

How to effectively incorporate distance learning in your classroom (ex- blackboard):

-Staying organized:  Keep the information for your students organized and have a calendar on your main page with specific due date.

-Prioritizing tasks:  Help students become better at prioritizing.  Remind them when to start working on things, also projects can be split into sections that are handed in to make larger projects less overwhelming.

Communicating with teachers and peers:  Encourage students to communicate and get to know each other and use each other to learn.   The student is able to talk to a teacher or peer at any time they need (not just during class).

Encourage students to ask questions:  Encourage students to ask questions.  Students are able to communicate with their teacher whenever they have a question.

Help develop a support network:  Develop a group of classmates that can help you when you have simple questions about an assignment.

Conclusion:

            Distance Learning and the incorporation of distance learning into your classroom can have many benefits.  Like anything there are downfalls, but if applied properly it can have lasting benefits for your students.

References:

Career Advantage, . (2002). Distance learning: pros and cons. Retrieved from http://www.careeradvantage.org/distance_learning_pros_and_cons.html.

Education: Reach Within, Shape The Future, . (2009). A Word to the wise – distance learning tips for k-12 students. Retrieved from http://www.tigua.org/47-a-word-to-the-wise-distance-learning-tips-for-k-12-students.

Comments

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    • Ashmitaa profile image

      Ashmita Chatterjee 9 months ago from India

      Thank you for sharing such an informative article. It was really interesting to go through it. Everything comes with a positive and negative aspect. However, according to me certain points highlighted as negative aspect of distance learning can be overcome through upcoming development in technology. More technologically sound one can be distance wouldn't be a big problem anymore. But definitely the course provider should give proper support to bridge the gap.

    • maukajam profile image

      maukajam 2 years ago

      Enjoyed reading the hub. I agree with agent007. Nicely done.

    • cmellon86 profile image

      cmellon86 6 years ago

      Excellent list! Both types of education work for different people.

    • agent007 profile image

      agent007 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the great hub! You really nail down the pros and cons of it and even cite sources!

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