As internet connections become faster and available to almost everyone on planet earth distance education opportunities are becoming more prevalent. This provides benefits for many people who previously were unable to pursue their degrees or further their careers. When you are deciding whether a distance education program is right for you consider the following benefits of distance education:
- Distance Education is Helpful for People who Have Trouble Getting to Class: There are many reasons why people might have trouble taking classes and pursuing degrees at traditional college and universities. Some people have physical or mental disabilities that make it very difficult, if not impossible, for them to leave their homes. In the past this effectively prevented people from pursuing higher education. However, students who choose to pursue a distance learning program will not be at a disadvantage.
Similarly, distance education is helpful for people who have demanding jobs or parenting responsibilities that make it impossible to get to a college campus to take courses. These people benefit from being able to further their education at home or at the office. This is particularly important if the student lives a considerable distance from a college or university since distance learning completely cuts out any commute time.
- Access to what you want to study: One of the biggest benefits of distance education is that your choice of what to study is virtually unlimited. You can pursue a distance education doctorate in your current professional field or you can take a completely different type of class.
Whether you live in a college town like Boston or rural parts of North Dakota, your choices of what to study were once limited by what was offered by the institutions of higher learning in your area. Today, thanks to distance education that is no longer true and you can study whatever you want to study without thought to your current geographic location.
- Learn at Your Own Pace: Many online courses are set up so that you decide when it is time to move on to the next topic. This is a great benefit of self paced distance education courses. Instead of being one of the fast learners who is ready to move on well before the rest of the class and becomes bored and uninterested or being one of the slow learners who doesn’t fully understand a concept before the teacher moves on, a student in an online course can control when each new concept is introduced.
- Affordability: Distance education courses are often less expensive than traditional colleges and universities. This is true because of the simple fact that tuition is lower. It is also true because the distance education student avoids paying student fees, parking fees and room and board. Often, students also avoid paying book fees because all of the course material is located online.
- Learning: Many people find that their personalities are well suited for distance learning courses. Shy people are more likely to join an online class discussion than they are to raise their hand in a large lecture hall. Students can also review the material as many times as they need to before moving on to more difficult concepts.
The History of Distance Education
Distance education is not a new concept. There is evidence that off–site education was happening in the United States back in the 1700s through mail in programs where students mailed their work back to their teachers.
Distance education continued into the twentieth century. During the mid to late 1900s, new forms of distance education became possible over the telephone, radio and TV. Some high schools began to offer distance education classes in courses that they did not offer.
By the beginning of the 21st century, distance education had become mainstream with the invention of online education. It is estimated that well over 90% of the largest colleges and universities in the United States offer online education courses and more than 3 million students participated in these courses during the 2005 school year.
While the benefits of distance education have been consistent through the years, it has never been as convenient as it is now to participate in this type of learning experience. Accordingly, we are seeing a surge in the number of students who take advantage of distance education each year.
Also read Getting the Most from Online Education