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Types of distance learning, and three pros and three cons that come with distance learning.

Updated on March 19, 2013


Many people in today's society are looking for the quickest and most efficient way to get things done. In a fast paced society, people tend to feel rushed due to their constant on the go lifestyles. Distance learning has become one of the more popular forms of education in recent years. Many people are choosing to go to college online, or do a variation of both online schooling and traditional in class learning. Many colleges and universities are offering degree programs that can be done strictly online. This method of learning has appealed to many people who have a variety of responsibilities to balance. However, just like everything else in life there are both pros and cons. In this article I'm going to point out the various types of distance learning. I'm also going to give three pros and three cons of taking up distance learning. These are strictly my own opinions, so there is no right or wrong. I hope you will continue to read on.

Types of distance learning.

There are several types of distance learning methods that potential students can take up. Lets briefly discuss the types of distance learning options that are available.

  • Open schedule online courses: This is one of the options that I'm a bit more familiar with. This option of learning requires students to log on to the course they are taking online. The instructor uses E-mail and bulletin boards to keep the students updated on coursework and due dates. There are deadlines that must be met, but students are allowed to work at their own pace since there isn't a set schedule on attending.
  • Hybrid distance learning: This is another option that I'm familiar with. This method can be done in a classroom setting, or through an Internet chatroom. When I done hybrid distance learning, I was in a classroom setting with other students. However, our instructor was in a classroom with other students in another city. We watched the instructor through a camera, and had someone in the class with us called a "Proctor" to keep an eye on things. We communicated with the instructor through microphones placed throughout the class we were in. This proctor also gave us assignments, papers, and graded worked that the instructor faxed to us etc.
  • Computer based distance learning: This method of distance learning requires students to meet up at a specific time on a weekly basis. The meetings take place in either a classroom setting, or a computer lab. However, all of the learning is done strictly on a computer.
  • Fixed time online courses: These courses take place strictly online, but students are required to log on for class at a specific time. These courses often take place in a chat room style setting. Many consider this method of distance learning to be the most common.

Now that we are somewhat familiar with the types of distance learning options that are available, lets get into the pros and cons of distance learning. Remember these are strictly my own opinions.


We're first going to start out with the pros of taking up distance learning.

  1. Travel friendly: This is probably one of the main reasons people choose to take up distance learning. Going to school online can greatly cut down on the expenses used to go back and forth to school.
  2. Working at your own pace: This is another good thing that can come from distance learning. If you are taking courses in an open schedule type format, you can pace yourself towards completing assignments. This option worked great for me when I took online courses.
  3. The development of discipline: Taking an online course can definitely help in building your discipline. It requires you to prioritize a little more than you would in a traditional class. Since you are basically teaching yourself, you appreciate earning a nice grade in an online course a little more.


Now that I've given you the three pros on distance learning, lets breakdown a few of the cons I feel that come with distance learning.

  1. Lack of classroom interaction: This is expected to come with taking an online course. You don't get the same interaction with the instructor and the students like you would in a traditional classroom setting. This can be a problem for people who requires a more hands on approach to learning. Those affected by this may want to consider not taking an online course.
  2. Possible slacking in studying: Some people only do well when they have someone helping push them. You are most likely not going to have that in a online course. You are going to have motivate and discipline yourself. This isn't a problem for some people, but there are many people who struggle with this. It can especially be a problem for younger students.
  3. Lack of relationship with professor: Most college professors aren't known for having personal relationships with their students. However, some instructors develop a sense of closeness with students in a classroom setting. Lets face it -- you are most likely going to be just another name to a professor in an online course setting. This can play a huge factor if you need a point or two to get a grade that you want. People are more willing to help those they know better, and this is hard to obtain through distance learning. Not impossible, but a bit harder.


So what have we learned from this article? We have learned about the different types of distance learning options available. I have also given three pros and three cons that come along with distance learning. I will admit that I had some nice experiences taking distance learning courses. I recall an English course that I took where I didn't meet my instructor until the day of the final. After we all finished the final exam, a few of us went to a local Cheddars restaurant and ate. It was a great socializing experience. I've also had a few troubles from taking distance learning courses. However, I was able to get through it and learned to discipline myself. Distance learning may definitely be an option for me in the future. Remember that these are strictly my own opinions. If you have any others to add on, feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading.



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    • prospectboy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bradrick H. 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @Online Degree Programs, Thank you very much for viewing.

    • profile image

      Online Degree Programs 

      5 years ago

      Wow! Wonderful and useful information sharing the article it is quite interesting to read. Thanks for sharing.

    • prospectboy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bradrick H. 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @LisaMarie724, I agree with you all the way on that. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 

      5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Online courses are so much more convenient for adults who have families and other responsibilities. This is a great hub outlining the reasons distance learning is a popular choice amongst students.

    • prospectboy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bradrick H. 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hello Paul Kuehn. I didn't even realize that there were hybrid distance learning style courses that far back. Thanks for informing me of that. I took several hybrid courses in college. The ones that were tougher were the Business Math courses. I've never been really good at math, and I needed that in class help with it. However, I was able to get through it. Like you mentioned, there were delays with the transmissions in the ones I took also. Kinda made things frustrating. Thanks for reading, sharing, and leaving your feedback. I appreciate it a lot sir.

    • prospectboy profile imageAUTHOR

      Bradrick H. 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hello again StephanieBCrosby. I agree with you 100 percent that it takes a certain kind of person to take up distance learning. I will admit myself that I was somewhat undisciplined my first couple years of college. However, when I started taking Internet courses, they made me prioritize and become more disciplined. Thanks a lot for reading and sharing your experiences. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      I took distance learning classes about 20 years ago and they were of the hybrid distance learning type. The courses I took were language courses. The only problem I remember is that back then there was often a 2-5 second delay after the transmissions were sent. This a good interesting hub and I am sharing it with my followers.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      I cannot agree more with your opinions for why people have turned to distance learning. I have taken about every type of course imaginable in terms of content delivery. And I find that it takes a certain type of individual to be committed to distance education. Some people need someone in person "cracking the whip" to make sure things get done. So taking online classes for "convenience" will not work for them. But I have had some really good experiences with online and other forms of distance education, like correspondence. And I am someone that loves person-to-person interaction. Anyone considering online learning should certainly consider the pros and cons you mention here.


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