Making the Most Out of Distance Education
By Phil C. Stone
Education has changed in dramatic ways these last 10 years and no place more so than in distance education. The arrival of the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and with whom. It offers endless possibilities for teaching and learning in four basic ways: immediate access, flexibility, work training and lifelong learning.
New communication technologies such as Flash, Shockwave, wikis, and social media has opened college level courses to more people. Distance education comes with access 24/7. A person can attend most any college in the world with professors of exceptional knowledge and teaching ability. Though some text occurs in the course features, technologies such as videos, animation, and collaborative work pages enrich the learning experience. A student can read the text, watch the professor on video, see an animation of a concept displayed, then go to a Facebook page and discuss. Classes start on any day or hour of the week. Distance education stands on communication, interactivity and collaboration.
The course work in a distance education program lends itself to addressing more of the learning modalities. It caters to student needs. If a student learns visually, words and pictures of the concept are available. If a student learns by auditory means audio recordings of the text or other important information comes interspersed throughout the course. Student’s kinesthetic needs are met since keyboard interaction, real life simulations and more assignments which require going into the real world and talking to people are the norm.
Students do not work around the college and professor schedules as much. Broad arrays of choices come available between colleges and even within a single college’s distance education program. Courses run the standard college semester, but may include shorter 6 weeks or 9 weeks courses. Courses are not tied to a specific locality so a student in a rural area or country with fewer universities available can receive a high level education.
Once a person works — unless training comes provided at a job site — it becomes increasingly difficult to continue education due to work and family obligations. Distance education solves much of the problem. Industries communicate to colleges and universities on their needs. The educational institutions willingly create courses. The only requirement needed is Internet access in a distance education program. The work force degree level, certification level or knowledge level as a group increases. Fresh ideas and possibilities occur since information from other sources streams in. This lets even a small business have a well trained staff at an affordable price that is exposed to the best practices in the industry. For business, this comes as a win/win.
The job market rises and falls. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a statement in September 2010 stating people born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 11 jobs to date. Men worked 11.4 jobs and women worked 10.7 jobs. When looking for a job a good strategy is during your time off to take a course or two. Distance education makes it easier to explore a new path or strengthen the one you are on. For brain health, staying mentally active in your adult years goes a long way for making a quality life. Distance education offers a proven way to stimulate the brain. Choosing interests or discovering new hobbies makes life more interesting as well.
A Class is Available for You
Whatever your need or interests somewhere in the world some institution, teacher or professor has developed a course and awaits your arrival. The hardest part is just getting started. Perform online searches, take a course and learn something new today.
Phil C. Stone writes for PCDI Canada a respected, worldwide leader in distance education. PCDI Canada offers professional-level training courses and high school diploma programs. Students are able to complete their diplomas through correspondence courses.