Making the choice to go to college or not is a tricky decision for any student. Nowadays there are so many choices it is difficult to decide which route is best suited to you. Do you go for the college 300 miles away from home that does the best course, or the one close to home that’s not so good? If you’re anything like I was at eighteen years old, the choice is a simple one: pick the college as far away from mum and dad as possible! Thankfully, colleges are beginning to make our lives a little less complex by bringing in a fairly new concept known as distance learning.
Distance learning was present in the 1980s but few people were aware as not many colleges employed it. With a rise in the number of teenagers choosing to go to college now, as well as mature students wanting to return to study, knowledge of distance learning is on the increase. In a nutshell, distance learning means studying at home, away from the hustle and bustle of a college campus, but with the necessary materials and support that are needed to complete the course. There are many advantages to this way of learning, but the disadvantages are also prominent, and need to be considered when making the decision.
Distance learning can be an excellent way to study for mature students who just wish they had done that course ten years ago, but don’t have the time to go back to college now. A distance learning course can be fitted in when and where you fancy, working around family and job commitments. There is no need for long distance travel away from home so there is little impingement on everyday life. There is the ability to contact course tutors either via the Internet or phone with ease regarding any queries, and most courses have active Internet communities enabling interaction with other students.
Distance learning may not be the right choice, however, for those students wanting a “college life.’ As students will be living and working from home, with very little peer interaction, they need to be aware that they are literally in it for the course certificate. Of course, there is the capacity to chat to other pupils via the Internet, but is that really the same as having the whole experience on campus? This does need to be considered before anyone enters themselves into a distance learning course.
Finally each person needs to ask themselves whether they have the motivation to complete a course on their own? There’s no tutor saying when to sit down and study, or what to do next. It really is essential to be your own boss and ensure the work gets done on time. If this sounds like you then a distance learning course could be the perfect solution to fit into your daily routine. If not, maybe consider other more structured course options.
Distance learning can certainly be a substitute for college, especially for mature students with families and other commitments. However, it is necessary to remember that it is not always the best choice when considering personal motivation skills and interaction with others.