Online training was a growing trend before the pandemic hit. That just accelerated the industry even further. Distance learning is now considered as the ‘new normal’ in education. The change is due to two main reasons; the increased business of people’s lives, and the added need for more flexible ways to study.
One thing to bear in mind when considering either in-person classroom studying or distance learning, is that although they follow the same method, it doesn’t make them the same. It all comes down to the individual teacher. Specifically, their ability to transition from a traditional way of thinking to a more digital one. The best measure of the quality of education is the success rate of students. This gives us an indication of how much learning has been absorbed by each student.
What Makes Distance Learning Different?
Here at Brooks and Kirk, we have always preferred a more blended approach to learning. This is where online classes are combined with classroom-based methods. It allows learners to study remotely at a time and pace that suits them. Rather than being confined to a strict, rigid timetable. Businesses who are looking to train their staff see a quicker return on investment as they don’t have to factor in additional expenses such as travel costs or room hire.
There are several different types of distance learning worth knowing about:
- Video conferencing – think Zoom. Teachers can interact with students during live lessons, to give more of a classroom experience.
- Synchronous learning – this is when all students are together at the same time (and often the same place), but the teacher is elsewhere. Again, this is often carried out via video communication.
- Asynchronous learning – rather than students attending live online lessons, they are given tasks to complete which have deadlines. This is a form of self-study.
- Open-schedule – this is similar to asynchronous learning, except without the deadlines. A more flexible option, suited for professionals.
- Fixed-time – this requires all learners to visit a specific virtual location at a set time and place (think webinar).
- Computer-based – this is a fixed, synchronous lesson carried out on computers, usually in a computer lab.
- Hybrid learning – this is a type of blended learning where students attend the same lesson, but some are physically present whilst some are remotely present.
Key Benefits of Distance Learning
The face-to-face aspect is not lost with distance learning, particularly with the advancement of video conferencing tools. Let’s have a look at the key benefits of distance learning:
This is probably the first word that springs to mind when talking about distance learning. You can study at your own pace and there are no specific deadlines to work towards. If your commitments change, that doesn’t matter; you can just pick up from where you left off. Most distance learning courses like the ones we provide here at Brooks and Kirk come with unlimited tutor support so you aren’t completely on your own with it.
Start learning straight away
With no deadlines and no term times, once you have made the decision to undertake extra learning you can start whenever you like (we do advise striking while the iron is still hot though!). Rather than signing up and then having to wait months before you can start, you can jump straight in with distance learning. You can even be away on holiday when you begin!
If you are lucky enough to have financial support from your employer then this won’t be as big a deal for you. However, it is worth knowing that distance learning is driving down the cost of education, particularly as digital learning is so easy to scale up. Online degrees are becoming the norm (thanks to the Open University), and with distance learning increasing in popularity the market is becoming more and more saturated – helping drive costs down.
If you would like to find out more about the distance learning courses we provide here at Brooks and Kirk please get in touch – 01205 805155.