About Online and Distance Learning

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Online vs. Distance Learning

Years ago, the option to earn a degree online did not exist. Today, virtual learning is a reality, with children as young as five years old earning an education from their own homes via the Internet.

Distance learning is a type of online learning:

Online learning – Engaging in educational activities that result in a certificate or degree through the use of virtual materials and resources on the Internet.

Distance learning – Also known as distance education, distance learning is the use of the Internet to participate in classroom programs from institutions located in another geographical area. Distance learning is most commonly used in higher education.

The Benefits of Virtual Classrooms

We are becoming a more technologically savvy society. Children can operate a cell phone as young as two years old and robots can be engineered to care for the elderly.

With children becoming acclimated to technology and the Internet at such a young age, virtual schools are growing in popularity. Unlike a teacher, the Internet’s knowledge is endless and harnesses resources and tools that typical schools struggle to provide. Virtual classrooms offer:

  • Streaming Video – the ability to connect with someone across the world with calling services like Skype
  • Interactivity – maps can change color, shapes can move and morph, quizzes and tests can generate scores automatically
  • Webinars – allow students to instantly connect with the leaders in an industry
  • Live News – 24/7 updates from new sources around the world
  • Flexibility – access to class materials and records beyond typical school hours
  • Customization – custom learning plans to meet the needs of the individual student

Drawbacks of Virtual Classrooms

What virtual classrooms don’t offer is the human element of learning in a room with similar like-minded people. Watching pre-recorded lectures is not the same as attending a lecture. Learning alone in your home is not the same as learning with other children or adults. Are home-schooled children smarter?

Online Learning Resources

Among the most popular online learning resources is Coursera. This website provides universal access to some of the world’s top educators at fine institutions like Yale, University of Michigan, Columbia and University of Florida. All of the courses are free and, while you do not receive credit for the classes, and there is no punishment for bad grades or missed assignments, you will receive a certificate at the end of the program noting your successful completion of the course.

Below are other free online course resources:

Elementary Education Online Learning

Online early education programs are appealing to many parents because they are flexible. Institutions like k12 and Liberty University Online Academy allow parents to check on their child’s progress at any time. The material can be accessed at their convenience, day or night, and custom plans can be created to accommodate a child’s slow or advanced learning pace.

These programs offer curriculum from kindergarten (five and six-year-olds) through 12th grade (ages 17 and 18 years old).

Higher Education Distance Learning

Most colleges and universities offer online courses. Distance learning courses are offered to students who never need to come to the physical campus to earn a degree.

For example, the following schools allow students to apply, enroll and complete all or part of their degree requirements online (programs vary by school):

In today’s world virtual learning is a reality. The knowledge one can find online is endless. If this knowledge is something you are seeking, you can apply, enroll and start immediately earning a degree online.

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