The Benefits of Distance Learning Explained

Updated October 6, 2023

When the coronavirus appeared and schools were closed as a precautionary measure, distance learning became the new normal for many students around the world. Suddenly, students were forced to learn in a completely new way. No longer were students heading to physical classrooms and lecture halls. Instead, they were logging on to their computers and signing into virtual classrooms.

Although distance learning was somewhat of a learning curve for some students, for many this was their usual day-to-day student life. Distance learning has become much more popular over the last few years with many students opting into studying online. Why? Because there is usually added flexibility and less stress involved with distance learning for certain students.

Whether you are a university student faced with the challenge of distance learning due to the coronavirus or you are considering whether distance learning is best for you, here are some of the benefits you can enjoy.

Set Your Own Schedule

Flexibility is usually the key benefit of e-learning. Traditional courses and university life will typically be planned for you with little to no flexibility. You will be provided with a timetable and be expected to attend all classes unless you speak to your tutors (and even then, you may not be able to adapt your timetable to how you need it).

Distance learning, on the other hand, allows you to plan your studies around your other responsibilities. For instance, at the beginning of a course you will be provided with deadlines. It is then up to you to plan your own schedule so that you can learn the points of each module and complete coursework assignments. You can plan how long you spend on each module and how much time you dedicate to each course material.

The ability to set your own schedule is ideal for students who have to work a job while they study, as well as mature students who may have a family to care for while also studying. Here’s how to create your own self-directed learning plan.

Reduced Commuting Costs/Less Time Spent Commuting

While some students may have the benefit of living on campus, students will typically move somewhere else once they have completed their first year at university. Commuting to university can take its toll for many students. Not only can it become quite costly, but commuting can be time consuming.Time that could be better spent studying or working is usually spent on a bus, train or in the car.

E-learning/distance learning cuts out commuting all together, saving you time and money. Rather than travelling to a physical location, you log onto your computer and start studying from home.

The Comfort of Your Own Home

Studying can be incredibly stressful for some students, so having the homely environment of your own office space or living room (wherever you decide to set up work for the day) can help reduce your stress levels and improve performance. Remember, everyone has their own preferences. While some students may enjoy heading to a lecture hall or to the university library, others will find the crowded and somewhat noisy lecture hall and study spaces overwhelming. A peaceful learning environment brings out the best in any learner, and distance learning and being able to work from home is more likely to increase productivity due to the added home comforts.

You Can Get a Degree from Anywhere in the World

The beauty of distance learning or online courses is that you can learn and graduate from anywhere. Many universities offer online courses to international students, so if you are wanting to graduate from a university in a different country to your own, the best thing to do is contact the university in question about the course you are interested in and see whether they can make arrangements for you. For instance,Aston University Online offers an executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) for professionals and business leaders around the world who are looking to strengthen their business skills. All their research methods modules are taught in avirtual environment, meaning business professionals can balance their existing responsibilities while attaining a degree from a reputed institution.

Distance Learning Courses are Often More Cost Efficient

The cost of distance learning is much lower than traditional courses. This is because online learning makes classrooms, physical materials (no more handouts) and the physical presence of tutors and lecturers redundant.

As previously mentioned, there are also the reduced costs associated with commuting.As well as this, students who are also parents can spend less money on childcare as they are able to make other, more cost-effective arrangements due to their personalised study schedule.

Instant Support and Communication

Online learning means everything is instantaneous due to the online portals created and dedicated to e-learning. Whereas students and staff at traditional universities are more focused on planning for face-to-face lectures, online universities will ensure they have online portals that are quick and effective so that lecturers and students can communicate with one another almost immediately. For example, tutors and lecturers are able to update and communicate course changes by uploading any edited course material to an online portal. Students can then access this asset easily and instantly.

Online support is nearly always available for distance learning students. You will usually have access to video or traditional messaging services through a chatbox. Therefore, if you have a general question for the university or a question for a specific lecturer, you can get the answer to your question without having to worry about trying to locate your lecturer or pin them down between physical lectures.

Newer Learning Assets (which are accessible 24/7)

Traditional lectures typically use the same format of a lecturer standing in front of their students presenting or talking to the room. You may have a presentation to follow or you may have to simply listen and take notes. This learning style can become dull and tedious for some students. Distance learning, however, allows lecturers to upload more interesting assets for their students. For example, some universities design assets such as:

  • Podcasts
  • Online tasks
  • Puzzles
  • Directed reading
  • Videos
  • Live discussions

These learning materials are much more engaging than the usual presentations used in typical university environments.

As you can see, there are many benefits to distance learning. Traditional university courses can be limiting, whereas e-learning offers the beauty of flexibility, lower costs and more exciting learning assets. Whether you are about to leave college, are looking to further your education, or are a parent wanting to return to school, distance learning offers you the opportunity to gain a degree in your chosen field while also providing a whole host of other advantages.