What Are the Pros and Cons of Distance Learning?

Distance learning programs offer flexibility around busy schedules; however, face-to-face experiences are minimal. Read on to explore more about the pros and cons of distance learning.

Distance Learning - The Basics

Distance learning is designed to provide educational opportunities to students who are unable to pursue on-site study. Written correspondence courses, online classes and other remote classroom delivery methods fall under the category of distance learning. Below are some of the pros and cons of distance learning.

Important Facts About Distance Learning

Schools Many public and private school types offer distance learning at the community college, university and graduate school levels
Degree/Certificate Levels Undergraduate students pursuing certificates or degrees, and graduate students seeking a certificate, master's or doctoral degree will find online opportunities
Degree Fields of Study Available options include business, education, sciences and arts
Online Availability Many schools offer fully online and/or hybrid (classroom and online) studies

Pros of Distance Learning

Distance learning gives students the flexibility to complete coursework from home, a local coffee shop, their car and other remote locations using a computer or, increasingly, a mobile device like a phone or tablet. Additionally, many online programs allow students to watch lectures and complete assignments on their own time. This can be particularly beneficial for working professionals who can't leave their jobs to pursue full-time, on-site study and for parents who can't regularly visit a campus due to family obligations.

The curricula of distance education programs are often identical to that of on-campus programs, allowing students to receive the same education in either format. Additionally, today's online students have access to many of the same services as on-campus students, including library and career services, academic and financial advising, and tutoring. Some schools even have honor societies and other student groups specifically geared toward online students.

Cons of Distance Learning

Although most distance education programs allow students to interact online with peers and instructors, some students might miss the face-to-face communication and consultation that comes with studying on-campus. Additionally, the impromptu study sessions and brief questions and explanations that happen so easily on-campus are tougher to come by in a distance education setting.

Online students also need to be extra focused and committed to their studies so they don't fall behind. Some online students might find themselves easily distracted by the demands of their daily lives when studying from home or not disciplined enough to keep up with lectures or complete assignments when they have no set deadlines.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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