Distance Education or Traditional Education, Essay Example

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Essay

Internet has not only changed other industries but has also created a whole new sector in the education industry. Until last century, traditional education system was the only choice available to most but thanks to advancements in internet technologies, distance education system has been emerging as a viable alternative. Both education formats have their advantages and shortcomings, depending upon the needs and the circumstances of the individual students.

Traditional education system allows the instructors to personally monitor the progress of the students. It also enables professors to observe students and encourage them to participate. Traditional education system creates a distraction-free environment where students can engage in learning as well as personally interact with each other. Traditional education system also enriches the education experience because it allows for face-to-face discussions. Distance education system also allows for real-time discussions but it doesn’t create as engaging environment as traditional education system. Distance education system also makes it difficult for the professors to observe the behavior of the students in real-time and mostly leaves it up to the students to take their studies seriously. Distance education also allows lot more students because it is not restricted by the limitations of a physical classroom structure. While the possibility of educating more students than a traditional classroom format does make distance education more efficient, the downside is the lack of personal attention to individual students.

Distance education does have advantages over traditional education which also accounts for its growing popularity. First of all, distance education is cheaper because the marginal cost of educating each additional student is much lower than the traditional education system. Another benefit of distance education is that it is not limited by geographical constraints. It doesn’t only allow students to save time by preventing the need to commute but also makes it possible for those to get education who do not live close to any institution of higher learning. Even when there may be a nearby institution of higher learning, it may not offer the major being sought by some students. Distance education costs little which is why institutions are able to pass some of the savings to the students in the form of lower tuition and fees. Distance education is also a great fit to the needs of working professionals who may not be able to attend traditional education system otherwise due to time and location constraints. Distance education also makes it possible to quickly expand course capacity because new facilities do not need to be built to accommodate larger class sizes.

Distance education may result in higher education quality because smaller class sizes mean the instructors can create more challenging and engaging course material, engage with students on one-to-one basis, and can also develop better tests. In distance education, the interaction between the instructor and the average student will be lower and the tests will be developed in such a manner that they can be quickly graded. It is not usual to often see MCQs and close-ended exams in distance education because they can be quickly graded while grading open-ended exams will be quite a time consuming task when hundreds of students may be enrolled.

Thus, distance education results in higher interaction between the instructors and the students, result in higher quality learning experience in most cases, and allows real-time monitoring of students’ behavior. On the other hand, distance education is cheaper, better suited to those with time and location constraints, and requires low capital investments.

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