Online Distance Learning: Making Your Education Cheaper
Back in the 80s, it was possible to head off to university with just your government grant in your pocket and live for four years on a diet of student meals, intense study sessions and even more intense party nights (hey, everyone has to relax sometimes).
Jobs were reserved for post-university life, allowing you to focus on gaining the best classification and land a top position when you leave.
But those halcyon days are well and truly over. Tuition fees have trebled in the past four years, bursaries and student loans aren’t large enough to subsidize students and, for those from a poorer background, the world of university education is becoming little more than a pipedream.
Yet, there are much easier ways than packing off to campus and racking up an estimated £30,000 worth of debt on living costs, course materials, utilities and travel. Thanks to the rise of the internet, online distance learning has advanced to become just as effective as its brick-and-mortar counterpart.
The major advances of distance learning
Way back when universities were actually affordable, distance learning was like the wonky, accident-prone brother of “normal” uni.
You had to send off your application to learning providers, wait for what seemed to be aeons for course confirmation, then scour for materials in your local library or stay up until 2am to watch Open University learning programs and hope your essay topic arose.
Put simply, convenience was not key.
How landscapes shift. With the inception of broadband, distance learning has become arguably more convenient than having to rock up to a lecture at 9am or attend a two-hour seminar in the middle of the day.
Now, you simply have to access the web or ping off an email to access your course materials or chat to your tutor.
Learn when you want, where you want
More than this, the ethos of distance learning is flexibility, meaning that students can fit their learning around their work or family life. When you think about it, the traditional student lifestyle only suits one type of person – preferably young, without real ties to certain towns and able to study on a full-time basis, university molds around them like putty.
But if you’re holding down a family or working for 40 hours a week, regular visits to campus simply aren’t viable – and that’s where distance learning comes into its own.
Even the social aspect of online education is remedied via instant messengers, email and free video messaging services like Skype.
Indeed, better equipped courses kit their Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) out with tailor-made chatrooms to bring together everyone on one specific course for discussion and debates that will sharpen your learning on a course.
While you’ll still have to fork out for tuition, distance learning undoubtedly cuts down on the cost of course materials and allows for a flexibility that traditional universities couldn’t cater to.
So, if you want to live like it’s the 80s again, give a new type of learning a go.