Distance education has been successful right from its inception because it acknowledges the presence of large numbers of individuals who want to pursue higher education but shackled by their personal and professional commitments and cannot uproot themselves from their lives to study. It has ensured that education is not distant anymore. Starting from the days […]
Distance education has been successful right from its inception because it acknowledges the presence of large numbers of individuals who want to pursue higher education but shackled by their personal and professional commitments and cannot uproot themselves from their lives to study. It has ensured that education is not distant anymore. Starting from the days of printed correspondence to the contemporary methods like m-learning, e-learning, etc. distance learning has come a long way, thanks to the advancement in technology and communication and the penetration of the internet.
Printed correspondence method which is still prevalent in India uses printed hard copies of reading materials which are distributed to the participants who are required to largely engage in self-study, attend a number of tutorial/ on-campus classes to get clarity on concepts or clear doubts and give examinations for obtaining the degree/certification. This was followed by MOOC which too is essentially digital correspondence and studying course materials which are uploaded or mailed to the learners. This too is mostly self-study with little opportunities to interact with the faculty or have live discussions.
The further development of technology and the internet and the emergence of ed-tech firms have made distance education easy, more flexible and convenient for the participants with even top-notch universities providing courses through distance education websites and ed-tech platforms, offering even technical courses which require faculty-led classes and live discussions. These learning platforms vary widely from simple text-only ones to the more sophisticated ones which offer multimedia technologies, interactive lectures, access to a variety of learning materials and aids, etc. So, it is very important to choose a great platform to make learning easy and effective.
What do great distance education/ ed-tech platforms offer?
Live and interactive lectures through digital classrooms: In today’s day and age of video calling technology, it is possible for distance education websites/ ed-tech platforms to recreate physical classrooms digitally through the use of cutting-edge technology. So, look for a platform that provides face-to-face learning through live and interactive lectures led by eminent and experienced faculty members. Also, ensure the platform allows you to ask doubts online during the lectures or engage in other classroom type discussions with the faculty. This way you are in a classroom even though not physically present in one. Many platforms offer only pre-recorded lectures which will mean you cannot ask questions or engage in fruitful discussions with the faculty.
Learning Management System: Look at what the learning management system used by the platform offers. Sophisticated and advanced distance education websites and platforms will offer 24×7 access to learning materials/ digital library that can be used for self-study components. They will use gamified content, high-quality reference videos for effective understanding, continuous assessments, online calendar, announcement space, discussion forums, analytics, etc. to empower learners to get the best learning outcomes. The best platforms also offer dedicated student support. The course content of the best platforms are also accessible across several mobile devices and computers.
So, learning is through distance education is not difficult at all! You just need a great platform.