Distance Learning: Open Education

Advantages of Distance Learning

The advantages of virtual education are numerous for both schools and for students. Among them are:

  • Removing geographic barriers
  • Flexible school hours
  • Reduced costs (housing, transportation and materials costs)
  • Developing a sense of responsibility, discipline and commitment from the student – they manage their own learning
  • Incorporating technology into the learning process

Technological Evolution

Of course, none of this would be possible without the evolution in educational technologies that we have experienced in recent years. It may seem strange but it was not too long ago that the idea of having a personal computer at home was inconceivable. In a short space of time we have transitioned from hand-cranked machines to extremely advanced electronic devices connected to the internet day and night.

This infographic created by Anglia Ruskin University provides a clear outline of the history and evolution of Distance Learning. Click the image to view it in full:

The Future of Distance Learning

Distance learning is a logical step in the evolution of education. As we have seen throughout this post, its advantages are irrefutable and much of the technology is already freely available. However, the last step needed for distance learning is for it to expand and become the norm rather than the exception. distance learning

Education is a very traditional industry that has hardly changed in the last century when compared to other sectors. However, we may be seeing the beginning of the end.

With a new generation of teachers, these “technology natives” will take command. For them, incorporating technology is the default and that’s why we can expect even more explosive growth in distance learning in the coming years.

A powerful example of this new generation of educators who demand change, set the trends and inform others about new learning technology is Kristen Swanson, author of the highly popular blog “Teachers as Technology Trailblazers“.

Kristen is one of the educational bloggers leading the way by helping people learn better using technology. The methods, advice and learning tools Kristen discusses in her blog are becoming more and more widespread but will hopefully transform conventional teaching and learning worldwide in the future.

What Do You Think?

Our bet is that within 10 years most universities won’t have any physical classes as we now know them, any on-campus classroom will be incorporated with technology.

So welcome, distance learning! We have been waiting!

We’ll finish with a couple of questions: What do you think of the distance learning? Do you think it will surpass classroom education in the coming years?