Distance learning is an extremely popular form of learning because it is a much more convenient way of learning, especially if you are combining studies with full-time work. With distance learning you don’t have to be physically present in classes or lectures, as you are usually sent the work that needs to be done and then it is up to you to organise your time to ensure that it is completed. There may be some interaction online or over the telephone, but you are more-or-less left to get on with it, which is great if you are the kind of person who can organise your time and who is self-motivated.
Most people who decide to take a distance learning course want to improve their education and work towards obtaining a higher level qualification, usually for career development or for the love of learning, or a combination of the two. Clearly, then, the type of people to take distance learning courses are very much focused on the outcomes and so are able to make the most of their studies. It is not the same as moving away to study at a university when you’re in your teenage years, as there is less emphasis on the social side of learning and more about individual educational goals.
Thus, distance learning tends to be popular with older individuals who may not be able to study full-time because they have to work or raise a family. You still have to put a considerable number of hours of study in to achieve academic success, but you have the freedom to read and write when you want. You don’t have to worry about missing lectures, as this flexible way of learning is there to accommodate people with busy lives. Usually, there will be some kind of interaction online, through correspondence or the telephone, but this is kept to a minimum.
As a consequence, it is relatively cheap to study a distance learning course, since once you are provided with the materials it is basically down to you. With so many students taking these courses, costs can be kept to a minimum, which means you are able to work towards a higher level qualification without spending as much as you would if you attended a red brick university. This has obviously helped to widen access to education, as more people have been able to take advantage of cheaper fees and more convenient study practices to work towards qualifications that will improve their career opportunities.