I’m not sure distance learning can be a perfect substitute for college, but on a basic level I think it can go a long way towards replicating the benefits you get from going to college.
The obvious difference is that you don’t get the benefit of day-to-day social interactions, not only with the teachers but with other students. The social aspect of college is very important in the growth of a person, and that is something that is lost in distance learning.
However, for some people, depending on where they are at in life, that’s not so important, in which case distance learning can be a good substitute for college, especially if you are disciplined and determined to get your work done.
With distance learning, just like college, you can get all of the information that you need. The only thing is that instead of learning it in a classroom, you’re usually learning it online. Depending on the student, this can be more or less effective, but generally it’s just another method that you can learn all that you need. In other words, there is more than one path to acquiring the knowledge.
If you are working towards a degree with distance learning, it can be almost a perfect substitute for college. Heck, it basically is college without the social aspect. At the end of the day, if you’re dedicated towards distance learning and doing everything that you’re supposed to, you can enjoy distance learning and find it a good substitute for the knowledge you gain during college.