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The Merits of Distance Learning as We Transition to Through the Digital Age

Distance learning has quickly become normative as the pandemic has forced students and teachers alike into quarantine.  Though distance learning certainly has its drawbacks in terms of the lack of socialization with peers and the occasional technical glitch, it has the potential to supplant traditional learning as time progresses.  The benefits of distance learning greatly outweigh the drawbacks.  Let’s take a quick look at the merits of web-based learning.

Online Classes are Conducive to Learning

The average student is distracted by his or her classmates as well as the inherent pressure of a shared learning space in conventional classroom settings.  The bottom line is learning in a room with other adolescents imposes significant peer pressure to fit in, be popular, and act in a manner that wins favor with one’s peers.  This is quite the stark contrast to learning from home in a quiet room with minimal if any distractions.  Distance learning removes the element of peer pressure as the only time the learner interacts with classmates is through the occasional group interaction through videoconferencing.  As a result, the student’s focus is squared on actual learning rather than socializing in a manner that helps him or her fit in. 

Add in the fact that most students have a quiet room in their home for peaceful distance learning and it is that much easier to understand why some actually prefer attending virtual classes.  After all, the typical classroom is far from completely silent.  Between boisterous classmates, the PA system, noise from the maintenance crew, and other distractions, conventional classrooms simply have too much activity to facilitate the learning process.

Enhanced Flexibility

Though some schools require that students attend virtual classes at specific times, distance learning does not always have to mirror traditional school hours.  Online lectures can be saved and uploaded at the student’s preferred time.  Furthermore, online discussions in text format can take place at any hour of the day on a web-based message board.  This enhanced flexibility empowers students to learn at a schedule that suits their unique desires, family commitments, and other scheduling variables.  This way, there is no need for students to sit still in front of the computer for eight straight hours each day.  Rather, teachers and tutors can establish virtual office hours and discussion periods flexibly so students can mentally and physically refresh after online classes and soak up the material better than would be possible with one class after another in a conventional classroom setting.

Accessibility for Special Needs Students

In particular, special needs students find it difficult to make it to a traditional school and learn academic material in an efficient and effective manner.  If you are the parent of a little one with special needs or a student who has been diagnosed with ADHD, he or she will likely find distance learning more suitable as it removes the element of noise, distractions, and fellow learners.  Furthermore, hypersensitive children are more likely to prove comfortable learning at home than in a regular classroom setting. 

Some students simply struggle to maintain the pace of learning in regular offline classrooms as they do not feel relaxed in such spaces due to social anxiety, ADHD, or another disability.  Separating the student from judgmental peers through distance learning empowers the student to learn at his or her own pace and feel that much more comfortable contributing to the discussion, albeit in a virtual manner.

Distance Learning is Comparably Efficient

There is no sense bussing students to school, burning fossil fuels, polluting the environment, and wasting time when virtual leaning is available.  In short, learning from a computer at home is comparably efficient as less time, effort, and money are invested in commuting.  The student can simply roll out of bed, turn on his or her computer, and begin learning.  This approach also benefits the parents as they do not have to invest their limited time getting their kids ready to catch the bus or transport them to school on their own while on the way to work.

Distance Learning Improves Students’ Tech Skills

Today’s employers favor those who have advanced tech skills.  Most adults spend the majority of their workday staring into a screen while using a computer.  Kids who are comfortable using computers at a young age will develop the tech skills that create a foundation for a tech-oriented college education that ultimately opens the door to lucrative employment opportunities.  Even if the child is simply using a keyboard, mouse, monitor, videoconferencing software, and the web, this exposure helps him or her feel that much more comfortable with technology, setting the stage for the development of additional tech skills that prove quite rewarding.

Patrick R

Patrick R

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