As a breakaway from traditional learning - teaching system, distance education relates to a methodology of teaching in the absence of a direct interaction between teacher and the student.
In spite of the absence of interaction between the teacher and student, in distance education, learning is accessed by channels other than conventional class room mode.
Different channels of distance learning
There are several channels of distance education. Given below are few of them:
- Postal delivery happens to be the earliest channel of distance learning
- With the gradual development of web based technology, online technology has been evolving as one of the important channels of distance learning
- As far as the delivery of inputs of knowledge is concerned, interaction between teacher & the taught can also be established by means of technologies such as- instructional television, video , or web conferencing etc...
Advantages of distance learning method
- Freedom & adaptability
Irrespective of the medium or channels used in delivery, one of the greatest benefits of distance education centers on its individualized approach. Whether you are accessing the inputs of knowledge by means of post or online process; the connection is developed between you and the course material. This accessibility gives you better freedom to deal with your study material. You can choose and have the learning process thrashed out according to your convenience, as most distance learning methods are flexible involving little or no involvement of fixed schedule
Due to the imposing absence of a traditional teacher, as a student you learn to motivate yourself, when the learning environment comes under your control. The development of the streak of self motivation is also an important aspect of your growth. The self directed aspect of distance learning method in turn helps cultivate this streak
- Flexibility of choice
If you are a part of the traditional learning system, you need to follow the set schedule of a given course or curriculum. But with the availability of distance education, you can come back to the learning process even after being cut off from the regular learning scheme. It gives you a greater flexibility to opt for a course of study even after long spells of separation.
- Better accessibility
In case, you are separated from mainstream education because of distance, time and other relevant reasons. You can fall back upon distance education on merit of its accessibility. If you go for the online learning method, you only need to have a computer with an internet connection. Similarly if you choose for a correspondence course as one of tools of distance education, you need to ensure connection by means of postal delivery. This aspect of accessibility helps you to continue education despite being professionally employed
- You can earn as well as learn
- For those employed and in need for professional advancement, distance education is particularly beneficial. For the advancement of qualification, you need not give up your job. The adaptability of distance education will help accommodate both learning & learning
- Saves time & money
You need not travel across to a new region or country for availing of the benefits of a course. You can have it accessed by means of online method of distance learning. This not only saves time but also cuts down on financial expense. Moreover, most courses offered as part of distance learning method are cheaper than their regular counterpart.
Disadvantages of distance learning method
- Absence of a teacher/instructor
Freedom involved in distance learning may prove to be beneficial for some, but harmful for many. In the absence of a teacher or a guide, you may find yourself left between devil and the deep sea while handling the course material. You will need to rely solely on your grasping power. So for students lacking in respect of independent study, distance education is not a preferable idea
- Absence of a proper learning environment
Ambience or feel of the campus helps improve learning standard. It also has a role or two to play in respect of adding to the learner's strength. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the distinctive drawback of distance learning method because neither can it generate the campus spirit nor can it cultivate a proper class room situation
- Lack of motivation
If you are one of those needing constant cheer and jeer, it is better not to opt for distance education because you will awfully miss the source providing the same. Having embarked upon a distance learning course, there will be none to coax and cajole you into realizing your target. You will have to motivate yourself.
- Cannot generate as an alternate learning method
Distance education is often dependent on the use and development of high class skills and technology. So for learners lacking in the knowledge of them, it can't provide an alternate solution. Moreover, neither can it evolve as a permanent learning method for learners of all age and kinds. Student dependant on the same needs maturity, acumen and self learning temperament.