Distance Learning: What to Expect With Online Education

Distance Learning

Last Updated on December 7, 2022 by Team Experts

Distance learning offers the opportunity to attend classes around busy work and family schedules and still get the benefit of an educational environment.

Online education is a fast-growing and popular method of obtaining a college degree. Universities across the world now cater to working adults making it easier for adults who have full-time careers to earn degrees through continuing education and distance learning. Being a free essay writer, I know that many universities offer online classes and flexible scheduling, but not all universities offer the same benefits. Thorough research is needed into each university under consideration to ensure the best education for individual needs.

The University of Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States and the largest private university in North America. Working adults seeking associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level degrees can find over 100-degree programs to fit their needs. With the online education opportunities offered by this or other universities, there are few excuses not to pursue higher education if that is a goal.

Capella University also caters to working adults pursuing higher education. Capella works with many employers to ensure the degree programs remain relevant and valuable for people in many working environments. This university and others offer extensive academic, financial, and career advice for all students and potential students. Both Capella and the University of Phoenix are accredited universities.

If individuals are particularly keen on a local university or family Alma mater, check with that university to determine if an online education program is available. Many universities recognize the importance of flexible scheduling and the benefits of online classes. Universities such as Alabama State University, George Mason University, University of Maryland, Southeastern University, and many, many more.

What to Expect with Distance Learning

Distance learning offers the opportunity to attend classes around busy work and family schedules and still get the benefit of an academic environment. Each student is assigned an advisor to ease the transition into academic life and help the students through their entire program. Depending on the degree program, online classes range in length of time. Classes online are content-rich and attended by other working adults pursuing the same academic endeavors.

With distance learning, students are graded on attendance, participation, answers to discussion questions, individual assignments, and often team assignments. Participation for online classes will be based on substantive responses or posts to questions and other learner’s responses. Participation will also be based on the instructor’s requirements.

Each online course is structured so that students can carry out academic discourse and learn from each other as well as the instructor. Students benefit from being in classes with other working adults as discussions will often offer suggestions that can be carried out in current business environments. Typically there are more opportunities for discussion and questions in an online environment than in a traditional brick-and-mortar-based class.

Benefits of Online Learning

Attending an accredited university is important. Accredited universities will be recognized by employers and professional associates. Many online programs offer rolling admissions. This means students enrolling at any time of the year will find classes starting soon after enrollment. Online resources like e-books, computer simulations, an online library, and writing and mathematics resources will be offered to students and will be available 24-hours a day. Online classes and resources can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the world from an internet-based computer.

By no means is an online education easier than a traditional brick-and-mortar education. Maintaining a rigorous schedule is as much a part of an online degree program as it is a traditional degree program. However, online education offers flexibility and accessibility that could not otherwise be attained by physically attending a university. With the right amount of dedication and fortitude, higher education and coveted degree are within reach.

Distance Education’s Frequently Asked Questions

The important question most adults need to ask themselves is “why I should not complete a distance education program?” The increased advantages of financial and employment stability are well worth the investment in time and resources. Regardless of the state of the economy, completion of a distance education program will only improve an adult’s chances for long-term stability.

The advantages of distance education include personal flexibility for improving professional and personal knowledge in a chosen career field or a new career field. This is why adults should consider distance education as a possible approach to earning a college degree, advanced college degree, completing a certificate program, or earning continuing education credits they have many questions.

Frequently Asked Questions in Distance Education

Most adult questions are similar to questions asked by other adults who are also considering distance education. These distance education frequently asked questions have been compiled, along with answers that consider most situations.

What is distance education?

Often called distance learning, eLearning, or online education, distance education refers to any education that is completed outside a traditional brick and mortar school. Students complete their education requirements through courses offered online, with all course materials received or turned in to course instructors via the Internet.

What technology tools do I need?

Students typically need a basic computer or laptop with access to the Internet and an e-mail account. Broadband access through cable, telephone, and satellite companies provides the speed and access necessary to handle online courses. Distance education courses use course management systems such as Blackboard and eCollege. Courses typically use streaming video, audio, and podcasts to deliver information. Many courses include links to online textbooks and literature for students to read during a course. This is why dial-up Internet access is typically too slow to handle distance education.

How do I interact with course instructors?

Distance education courses are taught using either or both of the following methods:

  • Asynchronous Learning-interaction is not real-time, which allows students to participate according to their schedule and be geographically separate from the instructor. Interaction typically takes place via e-mail, course management systems, message boards, or threaded discussions.
  • Synchronous Learning-interaction is real-time. Students attend class at their scheduled time using video conferencing, conference calls, or chat rooms.

What is the quality of distance education?

The most important indicator of the quality of distance education is the fact that most top-tier universities and colleges offer distance education programs today. Schools such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale, University of Southern California, University of Alabama, and most major schools offer programs.

How do I ensure that distance education is an accredited program?

Most programs are properly accredited and certified to offer diplomas or certificates for their programs; however, there are a few fake schools called – diploma mills. Avoiding diploma mills in online education guides in avoiding these fake schools.

How can I pay for distance education?

All schools have financial aid offices that provide students with assistance in completing proper forms for determining eligibility for student loans, scholarships, grants, and other forms of aid. One source many distance education students overlook is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). This form should be completed before contacting a school’s financial aid office. Another source of aid is from employers, they often provide employee assistance for completing continuing education or completing continuing education credits.

Making Connections

Adults who have completed continuing education programs are employed in careers which they tend to enjoy and have more employment stability. People with education beyond high school are less likely to be unemployed when compared with those with a high school degree or no high school degree. This is where distance education helps adults, especially those who need the flexibility online education provides.


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Erin Lane is a creative writer and lifestyle blogger from Canberra, Australia. She is a hard-working, organized, dedicated professional interested in learning new things. With over six years of experience in writing, Erin has covered numerous topics, including health, tech, fashion, fitness, makeup, home improvement, decoration, business, and finances. Erin is an active person who enjoys nature and traveling. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram

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