Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Distance learning enables students to gain education and qualifications online. It is gaining popularity across the world, but while it is a godsend for some, it is not suited to everyone.

Here s a breakdown of the major advantages and disadvantages which will give you a good idea of what to expect

Pros of distance learning
  • It doesn t require you to be on a campus or in a classroom. If you have suits family responsibilities, or are far from a city, online learning may suit you better.
  • You can study in the comfort of your own home; saving time on commuting.
  • You can get new qualifications without leaving your job.
  • You may be studying at home, but you’re not studying alone. Distance learning makes use of digital technology with virtual classrooms and online interaction.
  • Most courses will provide you with a personal tutor for advice and support.
  • You can learn at your own pace. This is beneficial for both slow and fast learners.
  • Distance learning is accessible for people with limited mobility. This opens education to a greater number of people.
  • Course are generally modern and updated regularly.
  • It offers education and upskilling to small companies where there is not an emphasis on training.
  • Distance learning can assist people re-entering the workforce.
  • You can live anywhere to study any distance learning course.
  • It is a good choice for anyone inhibited by talking in a classroom.


Cons of distance learning
  • There are no classroom discussions, or question and answer sessions with other students.
  • Lose interaction with students and tutors.
  • Students need to be computer literate.
  • Students must own a computer and have internet access.
  • This tutor may not always be immediately available. This restricts your chances to ask questions when they arise.
  • Students must be motivated and willing to study on their own.
  • Some courses are not accredited. It and it is possible that some employers will refuse to accept distance learning qualifications.
  • Students used to classroom interaction may find it difficult to adjust to this format.
  • Stress is placed on achieving the award, rather than gaining knowledge.
  • May be certain hidden costs such as postage.
  • There s little opportunity to improve oral communication skills. You may become well educated without being able to articulate your knowledge.
  • Unforeseen technological difficulties.

Distance learning depends on your circumstances. Agree or disagree with it; choose it, or choose to ignore it; it is certainly helping a growing number of adults return to education who in its absence may not have had the opportunity to do so; and that must certainly be the greatest advantage of all.

Searching for a distance learning programme Simply select ‘Distance Learning’ from the ‘Which Course Type ‘ drop down menu on the Course Search page.

Search for distance learning courses in Ireland in the largest database of distance education courses –

Frank Bolger

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