Just a few short months ago, the term distance learning meant something else entirely. It was a form of remote education where a student may not always be physically present for the lesson at a school or college. Students would take correspondence courses and communicate with the school via mail. Now, with the advancements in modern technology, it involves online education.
Distance learning initially catered to those who cannot attend classes due to health complications, busy work schedules, parenting demands, or any other situation that necessitated staying close to home. Distance learning also meant studying a wide range of topics with teachers and students from a variety of different backgrounds.
There may be some confusion between the differences of online learning and distance learning. Distance learning is actually a subset of online learning, as it relies heavily on the educational tools of online learning, and that is probably where the confusion lies.
Without question, the global pandemic created a paradigm shift that resulted in schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world shifting to remote, or online, learning. This was an abrupt change that required an immediate pivot from in-person classroom teaching to virtual classrooms and distance learning. According to the World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children are currently unable to physically attend traditional classrooms. Researchers believe online learning will continue to be the norm post-pandemic, as many benefits have been seen in terms of shorter school days, increased knowledge retention, and more focused attention during classes and assignments.
Students and parents have both expressed the notion that e-learning is convenient and beneficial. In light of this, more and more educators are shifting to an online mode of teaching, with many schools looking for school management systems that include features like distance learning options, Curriculum Manager, and seamless Google integration. With the help of these powerful tools, schools can efficiently manage their critical operations and communications, and continue teaching students during these challenging times.
Learn more about how the distance learning classroom outperforms its traditional classroom counterpart:
Flexibility. Arguably the biggest benefit of distance learning is that it gives flexibility to students to fit schoolwork around extracurricular and family commitments. When you consider the increasingly busy schedule of many students, this sort of flexibility comes as a huge relief. For teachers, it is not required for everyone to sit in front of a screen for eight hours a day. Instead, you might set a scheduled time period during which the teacher is available for online help or virtual class discussions can be scheduled.
Accessibility. The needs of students vary, and no classroom is perfect for every student. Distance learning or studying from home provides students with a stable and secure environment that can be more easily tailored to their specific needs. It’s a safe space for students who might usually avoid speaking up to raise their concerns (or clear doubts and queries) with their teachers without any hesitation. Not to mention, students can learn at their own pace without any social pressure.
Soft skills. Soft skills are general abilities that set our students up for success for the rest of their lives. Distance learning is the perfect opportunity to hone crucial soft skills as students learn to prioritize their time, learn to effectively use technology, and most importantly, equips students with the knowledge of these skill sets that they can take with them into their future careers.
Personal responsibility. Additionally, distance learning mandates that students learn to take ownership of their learning. They develop a responsible outlook on their own education and rely largely on themselves to complete assigned tasks and objectives. With teachers not physically present in front of the students each day, there is a certain level of problem-solving and critical thinking skills that is required for students to succeed in a distance learning classroom.
This isn’t to say that distance learning doesn’t come with its own set of challenges, but when implemented effectively, it can be instrumental in changing student attitudes toward education in a way that the traditional classroom never could. The benefits of distance learning go far beyond protection from a virus. Just as schools keep students safe at their campus, they can also keep students safe when learning at home. By selecting a powerful school management system that alerts schools to at-risk activity both online and offline, students are able to feel safe in an environment in which they can thrive and prosper.
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