As a doctoral learner and facilitator to online students obtaining an associate’s degree in business, it is easy to determine the advantages of distance learning. First, the adult learner has the ability to learn from the comfort of her home. Many adult learners have children and work a full time job. These added responsibilities make it difficult for adult learners to attend the traditional classroom setting especially during the daytime hours. The adult learner can complete coursework in the early part of the morning or late at night depending on her preference. In some distance learning courses, the facilitator makes the lessons as well as the assignments available at the beginning of the week. The adult learner can plan out her week based on the assignments that are due. For example, in the doctoral online class, the learner receives the assignments the day before the work week begins (classes begin on Tuesday; therefore, the assignments are available on Monday). The weekly responsibilities of the students consist of completing two to three discussion questions, responding substantively to two of their peer’s postings three out of seven days, and completing a major 1250 to 1700 word APA formatted paper. The responsibilities sound like a lot; however, with proper time management the student can complete the assignments, work her full time job, and have time for recreational activities with her family. If everything is due on Monday the student can allot time as follows: Tuesday is a day of rest from coursework; Wednesday and Thursday are research days for the discussion questions; Friday is a writing day for the discussion questions; respond to peer’s postings Saturday through Monday; use Saturday and Sunday as research days for the paper; and write the paper on Sunday and Monday.
Another advantage of distance learning is the student has the opportunity to learn from a diverse student body. When students take distance learning courses, their classmates do not necessarily live in the same city or state, some live in different parts of the world. In the online classroom, students come together and learn from one another by way of the discussion questions. When the students answer the discussion questions, they not only add theory to their responses, they also add their personal experiences.
Attending college by way of distance learning has a number of advantages for a disciplined adult learner. The adult learner can complete work from home and still have free time to spend with her family if the student exhibits good time management skills. The adult learner can also learn from students from diverse backgrounds which contributes to a collaborative learning environment.