What are the advantages of distance-learning?
Flexibility with time
Distance-learning has many advantages. One of the greatest is certainly that the student is flexible with his/her time, because he/she does not have to visit an educational institution at fixed times. This is a great advantage for professionally active people and single parents, who would otherwise have no opportunity to complete a course of study. Anyone who is working but would like to switch professions or develop further would otherwise only have the option of quitting their job and stopping work for a while in order to pursue a course of study. This is the only way that they could undertake a fixed course of education or further education. This route would mean a major loss of income and would also have the disadvantage that getting back into work after the course of study would be considerably more difficult.
Distance-learning allows the student to be free with his/her time. The student does not have to attend any fixed events, but rather can decide for him/herself when to study and when not to. It should be noted, however, that only an entirely distance-learning-based course can be completed entirely from home. Distance-learning courses with required attendance phases involve a few obligatory teaching events and on-site examinations. So the students should consider when choosing a programme exactly how free they will be with their time.
This flexibility with time also of course offers the advantage that students can determine their own pace of study. If there are problems with the learning materials or particular topics, the student can work on these issues intensively – including through close contact with the distance-learning teachers.
Flexibility of location
Another advantage of distance-learning is flexibility of location. Many people prefer to learn from home, at the office or while travelling (on the train, for example). Some people admit feeling uncomfortable in public places like universities. At home you can study in peace and quiet, without distractions or stress factors like noise or disruptive fellow students. Distance-learning offers the opportunity not only to work at home, but at your favourite places – in the library, at a café or on long train journeys. Students can always have their course materials with them and choose exactly where to spend their free time studying.
No loss of income
Anyone who studies alongside their career does not have to accept a loss of income, and can even push their career forward alongside studying. For many working people who have been in work for many years, it is simply not thinkable or possible to leave work and enrol in a college or university. That would mean completely losing their standard of living. And getting back into work afterwards would also be more difficult. Distance-learning also gets round the often difficult issue of adjusting to the transition from the daily routine of work to that of school.
You can try out distance-learning for free, before making the final decision whether or not to pursue the course of study. Distance-learning providers offer the opportunity to test out a course of study for two weeks. This enables you to decide whether a particular course of study is right for you and whether it was really a good idea to go for distance-learning. If the study doesn't suit you after the test period is finished, you can always change your mind.
A high level of self-determination
Studying offers the student a high level of self-determination, because he/she is free to decide when, where and how to study. Despite this, however, the student is not left on their own, as he/she can ask lecturers, tutors and distance-learning teachers about questions and problems at any time. They can be reached not only by post, but also by telephone, by email or in the online campus. So this kind of study is well suited to people who like to determine their own studies but who also place value in a certain degree of quality control.
Students can even decide exactly what they study. Even if not every course of study can be completed by means of distance-learning, the student still has a wide choice. A course in medicine, for example, cannot be completed via distance-learning because of its practical elements. However there are several other courses of study in the health sector which can be completed in this way. Sometimes there also exist numerous options to choose from in terms of part-courses within a particular course of study.
Employers often value candidates who have completed a distance-learning course, because it demonstrates a high level of discipline, hard work and self-organisation. The common fear that a distance-learning course will not be recognised as "a real one" by employers can therefore be set aside.
In job interviews in the future you can also make the point that your course has strengthened your own media competence, since you need to work above all with the internet but also to a significant degree with print media. Importantly, distance-learning also demands a high level of your own initiative – and soft skills are given almost the same importance as the qualification itself in the employment market.
A further advantage of distance-learning are the low costs involved. A course of study of this kind generally costs much less than attendance-based teaching. Individual week-long and weekend courses often cost more than a one- or two-year distance-learning course. You also have to take into consideration the travel and accommodation costs involved. If you are supporting yourself financially, then you also face a loss of income, because the courses often take place during working hours.