Benefits and Limitations of Distance Learning

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Benefits and Limitations of Distance Learning

Distance Learning Defined

Technology is restructuring many aspects of education. An example of this phenomenon is distance education. Distance learning is defined as " the practice of educating learners who are separated from the teacher or trainer and each other by space, time, or both" (Moller 115). Distance education occurs in a non-classroom setting when students participate in course discussions, exercises, and receive assessment from the instructor by utilizing technology such as video conferencing, audiographics, CD-ROM, and Web-based media (Welsh 41). Furthermore distance learning programs are becoming increasingly popular at academic institutions and corporations. Most importantly these programs are offering learning opportunities for people that are normally restricted by class time and space (McHenry & Bozik 21).

Many educators and administrators are beginning to comprehend the impact of distance learning. In fact the American Council on Education predicts there will be more distance learning classes offered. John Noon writes in Syllabus, ‘Distance learning courses are offering students new flexibility in course and even campus selection, causing many institutions to begin redefining themselves’ (McHenry & Bozik 20). For example the University of Phoenix, a for-profit university, offers distance learning classes to 50,000 students spanning 12 states. Additionally Britain’s Open University will align itself with several universities in the United States and will start classes this year (Markel 208). Thus distance education is ‘currently the fastest growing form of domestic and international education’ (Boling & Robinson 169).

Annually corporations sp...

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