Scallywag

What is man's ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.

~ Shinichi Suzuki ~

Does Distance Learning Work?

March 18th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 33 secs

Honestly, what can distance learning really do?

I always had a jaundiced view of distance learning. Like taking music lessons where you received sheet music in the mail and had to sing it back to your instructor over the phone. It wasn’t exactly ideal. But that’s ancient history.

Thanks to the Internet, most fields of study of are possible to follow… virtually. Today, distance learning really works and is no longer the poor stepsister to on campus learning. With the exception of open-heart surgery on your kitchen table, nearly everything else is doable.

This means anybody who has the Internet at a half decent speed can discover new information. You really can enroll in online courses through distance learning, regardless where you are. And that’s exciting.

Better yet, some enlightened universities even let you do a full degree through distance learning for free! These worthy institutions include:

  • Yale
  • MIT
  • The Open University

and many more besides. Have a look at www.howtogeek.com to explore just a few of the options and you start to see how exciting distance learning is becoming.

With one of my hats in the teaching ring, I get enthusiastic about learning. Not that I am totally sold on formal education. But the very act of doing distance learning breaks down a lot of the formality and encourages opportunity. Which, when you consider how important it is for your career, is downright exciting.

I’m happy that for the very first time in history, high standards of learning are becoming increasingly accessible to everyone. That’s a fantastic thing! Because desire and ability deserve to be developed, regardless of people’s financial limitations. Distance learning has the potential to smash through economic barriers to give people everywhere the means to increase their ability. That’s totally new and could even change the way we live.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s nice, Christian. But I only want to do pottery as an evening class.” In that case, you can at least use the Internet to enhance your pottery knowledge and find out where you can pursue your interest in a hands on workshop.  Distance learning needn’t be the whole story, merely one useful piece.

When I did distance learning at the University of Sydney back in the early 90s, I went to the campus for a few weeks each year, and that worked quite well. Today, with the benefit of online social networks, studying from home doesn’t need to be an isolating. You can easily link up with other people to share ideas, cooperate on projects, and casually convey your feelings about the whole process as you go.

This all bodes well for regular people, at least, in theory. If we can sandwich the time to study in between:

  • Juggling the cat
  • Stirring the saucepans
  • Clearing the dishes
  • Ironing the shirts
  • Wiping
  • Weeding
  • Working
  • Paying bills
  • Organizing, and
  • The odd nanosecond of leisure

the opportunity is there to pursue the course you’ve always wanted to do.

Perhaps, one day, distance learning won’t be a side serve but the main meal. As communication gets increasingly sophisticated we might find ourselves seated with others in holographic classrooms that span the world. Families and individuals might own their own education much like we own our eating options, clothes choices, and decorating themes. Shaping your learning could become such a do it yourself process people will wonder why we ever settled for set courses at all.

In the meantime, distance learning is already quietly boosting our educational prospects at a rapid rate. With cost and location becoming less of a limitation, the biggest issue now remaining is simply finding the time.

Are You A Happy Learner?

Your Future Deserves Better

Learning Is Easy

 

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