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10 Key Benefits of Distance Learning

Posted on 9/24/2019 7:00:00 PM by Legrand AV Team

Retired Army Major Jeremy Haynes earned his bachelor’s degree in a traditional classroom environment. But, he deliberately opted for an online class experience when he earned his master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology -- and then again for his doctorate degree.

The New York Times reported that Haynes had been injured while on deployment, which left him a paraplegic. After coming home, Haynes told The Times that he wanted to go back to school, but not in the traditional environment. He wanted to take classes online to achieve his academic goals.

Why online? He felt more comfortable taking classes from home, where he wouldn’t have to deal with parking, where he could zone in after his kids went to school and just focus. For him, distance learning has been the gateway to broadening his education.

More than 30 percent of all post-secondary students take at least one class online, and there are many reasons for that. Here’s our 10 key benefits of distance learning:

1. Online classes are often cheaper

With student loan debt spilling into the trillions, the cost of education is an omnipresent force that’s gripped the student body. What’s more, as universities across the nation vie to attract students because of dips in enrollment, keeping operating costs down is also of importance to university staff.

Since distance learning programs often cost less, they’re an attractive alternative to both students and universities.


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2. Greater flexibility for students and instructors

One of the greatest benefits of distance learning programs is the flexibility that they offer to students like Haynes and others. Being able to take online classes affords students the option to get an education in the setting of their choice at the time of their choice. In a way, it’s an empowering notion that grants students the control of their own education.

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3. Personal development and accountability

Students who undertake online programs must be driven enough to set their own schedules so that they’re actively keeping up with the class and completing assignments on time. Personal accountability and organization are transferrable skills that can benefit those students as they transition into the professional world.

By successfully completing a distance learning program, it demonstrates that students can complete tasks on deadline in a self-motivated, independent way.

4. It’s self-paced -- mostly

While online classes still have assignment deadlines just like traditional classes do, these class are mostly self-paced, which means students can work as quickly as they want, so long as they’re completing course work on time in an accurate way.

This notion benefits those students who really want to delve into the subject matter and hope to extract as much as possible from the subject matter. The student is in control of how much they want to learn in the time given.

5. Earn a living, while furthering your education

Every student has a motive for furthering his or her education. That could be opening up new job opportunities, or it could simply be expanding insight into a field of study. Whatever the reason, it all needs to get paid for. For many students, that means working their way through college.

On the other end, full-time workers can hold onto employment while seeking post-secondary education, whether that’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. Distance learning programs can be completed in a way that bends around the student’s schedule, which means earning a living while getting an education is much simpler than it would be if a student opted for a more traditional program.

An active learning space that emphasizes small group discussion and activities

6. A location-agnostic model

Imagine being able to travel the world while working through a biology class. Or, working a continent away while finishing up your master’s degree. Online classes can be done essentially anywhere that offers an internet connection.

This adds to the flexibility that students enjoy from distance learning, but it’s also a draw to universities who are seeking a larger, more global network of students.

7. A must-have recruiting tool

In 2016, more than 6.3 million students took at least one online class. That figure continues to grow as more students see the benefits of online programs.

Since distance learning is growing in popularity among post-secondary students, programs like these become a tangible recruiting tool that universities can leverage when attracting students from around the country and the world.

8. An expanded global network of peers

Distance learning benefits students all around the world because the restrictions of time and location have been lifted. What this means is that students from multiple different countries could in theory all attend the same class or even earn the same degree from a university that’s potentially thousands of miles away.

For students, this is a chance to build and expand their networks with others around the world -- a chance that might not have otherwise been available.

9. More chances to find career opportunities

With an expanded network comes more chances to find career opportunities.

Online classes aren’t always subjected to the same limitations that physical classrooms are. That means some classes might have more seats available, which then brings more students together. Pair that with the idea that students from around the world are coming together, it very well could lead to more career opportunities for students.

10. An enriching learning experience

Because distance learning can give students from around the world an opportunity to study together, offer flexibility to working students, and help others hone their accountability and organizational skills, these programs become much more than just a class or a degree.

Students in collaboration, utilizing the active learning setting to enhance their learning. 

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Distance learning programs offer students an enriching experience because of the growth that is driven by students’ will to succeed and achieve their educational goals. It’s not done without putting in the work, and dedicating the time and energy -- and resources, for that matter.

But, at the end of it, students come out with a well-rounded experience that helped them expand their perspective and gain access to information by way of credible courses and programs offered by universities around the world.