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What Are the Advantages of Distance Education?

4 Min Read
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Our education systems have had to respond to COVD-19 on a very short notice. The go-to solution? Distance learning. Yet for many, this is a new domain — and naturally, students, parents, and administrators want to know the benefits. We’ll look at the advantages of distance learning for students and why it may be a good thing for both you and them.

7 Advantages of Distance Education Courses

1. It’s flexible

A key benefit of distance learning is flexibility. This benefit encouraged many educators to shift to distance education after the coronavirus outbreak since e-learning allows students to continue participating in class without having to be physically present.

Here are just some of the ways distance education offers greater flexibility than a traditional classroom setting:

  • Teachers and students can adapt learning to their personal schedules.
  • Some parents can adapt their schedules to assist their children with distance learning since physical teachers are not present, but we also understand this is a difficult task for parents.
  • Distance learning can cater to a student’s productivity needs. For example, maybe a student lacks focus in the morning but pumps out most of their work in the evening. Unlike traditional classes, distance learning doesn’t require students to be on call at a specific time.
  • In a distance learning classroom, students don’t share their learning space with 20+ other students and can send emails with their questions to teachers whenever they need to.
  • There’s also flexibility when it comes to study materials. Distance learning often only requires a phone or computer and a stable internet connection.

2. It can accommodates students with special needs

Distance learning can have some benefits for students with special needs, including:

  • An individualized and self-paced learning process that accommodates students with ADD or learning differences.
  • Accommodations for students with physical disabilities, when commuting and moving from class-to-class is an issue.
  • More accessible solutions, like tools for the hearing impaired and an option to pause, rewind, or slow down lecture videos.

Online education continually adapts to students with specific learning needs. Doing so is much more difficult when you’re in a physical classroom and have to manage multiple students’ needs simultaneously.

3. It saves time

One of the best pros of distance learning is that it saves you time over the course of the day. 

In a traditional school, a teacher oversees a whole class of students who raise hands, ask for feedback, pass notes, chat with their friends. And all these interruptions take up time. In distance learning, although there may be live video classes, a lot of the content remains available 24/7, including live-recorded class lectures, resulting in fewer interruptions compared to a traditional setting.

Moreover, if your school is making use of preexisting curricula and learning materials or an LMS system, then you could easily save time compared to planning and replanning lessons based on a traditional schedule.

Students save time, too. If they’re doing well, they can move ahead; otherwise, they can slow down and take their time with the material.

4. It offers more networking opportunities

Another distance learning advantage is that it opens up a world beyond the typical classroom. For older students, this is a huge perk, especially those in high school and college who might be on a job hunt. Through distance learning, students can get in touch with experts in their field of interest, numerous teachers and professors, and much more.

5. It allows students to hone their time-management skills

Distance learning caters to a variety of learners. It’s up to the student how and when they will get their assignments done. And regardless of whether that’s a week or day before the due date, the process mostly depends on the student.

This responsibility differs from the more monitored traditional classroom, where all students are expected to do the same work at the same times on the same days. For the most part, there are no rigid schedules with online learning beyond assignment due dates, so students have a greater say in how they complete their schoolwork. This helps them practice good time-management skills that will serve them well in college and into adulthood.

6. It helps students develop their technical skills

Tech-savvy individuals are in high demand in the workplace. And the majority of distance learning programs use some mode of technology for content delivery.

Distance learning programs promote these technical skills that are relevant to many occupations:

  • Online research
  • Word processing
  • Video conferencing
  • Slide presentations
  • Discussion boards
  • Collaborative apps
  • Social networking
  • Email correspondence
  • Post info to a website or blog
  • Video creation

Online literacy is the future, and distance learning promotes those skills.

Part of our New Normal: The Many Benefits of Distance Learning

There’s no way around it: COVID-19 changed our world, and the future of education will never be the same. Distance learning may be part of our “new normal,” and instead of seeking the downfalls, it’s time to shift our perspective and seek the advantages of distance education.

Like any other medium, distance learning is not perfect, but there can be immense benefits of distance education if implemented properly.

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.


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