LearnKey Blog

Distance Education


One of our Sales Representatives recently returned from the New Mexico Technology in Education (NM TIE) conference and one of the biggest things he noticed was the attendees were predominately from Higher Education, mostly community colleges and they all had one thing on their minds – distance education.

One reason distance education continues to be a growing trend in higher education is because it is convenient and you can fit it into your schedule. This has become increasingly important as costs of higher education continue to rise in a down economy, most students are working and going to school. Distance education allows students the opportunity to do both.

Distance education can also offer a student living in Iowa a chance to take college courses at a school in California that might offer them the degree program they want and is not available at their local college.

As a student in a distance education program both of these reasons were big factors in my decision to continue my education. I needed to find a way to take classes and continue working full time. I also was able to choose the program that I wanted even though it was not offered at the local college. So far it has worked out great, but there are drawbacks to it.

You have to be organized and stay on top of assignments because there are no teachers reminding you when they are due. Another issue is checking in and participating in discussions. Because you do not attend regular classes most programs do require you to participate in discussions as a way of keeping up your attendance and forgetting can result in a lowered grade. I have found these drawbacks minimal compared to the advantages distance education has to offer.

So what do you think about the distance education trend? Do you think distance learning will eventually replace traditional schools? How far will it go, high schools, middle schools, or even elementary schools?

2 thoughts on “Distance Education”

  1. I think in the near term we will see continued growth in the demand for distance education at the college however I am convinced that it will not replace traditional classroom education. The student experience and often lifelong connections that are made in college would be impossible to replicate with today’s technology. Social networking, twittering, web conferences etc do not yet come close to the face to face experience of working with your peers and faculty. In subject areas where hands on labs are required we still need direct connection with those facilities. I would think that virtual social interaction does not quite reach the level of personal contact. Yes we have some very interesting sites and even Wii controls can provide a stimulus that has potential. There are some wonderful developments on remote medical proceedures, robotics and other accomplishment of technology but we are still social beings. Okay so much for a really brief opinion on the short term.
    I would consider us to be in this big transition phase where we are moving from the traditional way of human interaction; which includes school to this newer age of advancing technology. SO if I think about the long term future when we all get over the hang ups and thoughts on how things used to be I would think there is a very real posibility of distance learning replacing traditional schools. When the technology reaches a higher level of communication; when we can virtually co-exist in the classroom space in real time and interact to a level that satisfies our social side we may be able to make the leap. So this is when we can remotely operate hands-on from anywhere the tools that fit our profession or applied task. And we figure out some way to hang in the pub on Saturday night…yeah that part might take a bit longer especially when you might want to head home with somebody.
    Oh yeah and the funding bodies will love the idea that they don’t have to build and maintain bricks and mortar. They just have to figure out how to make it profitable.


  2. Distance Education is also being driven promoted by economics. In the UK where government funding has been cut by 20%; the capacity to offer courses in a face to face format is under pressure. In Australia, where the government education sector is increasingly under financial pressure, the same argument applies.
    Distance Learning can be far more cost effective, if managed properly -and if the efficiencies of modern technology are applied, it is possible to provide a better quality of learning; as well as more flexible learning

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