Distance learning has a relationship with the emerging computing technologies. Together both of them have made promises to contribute to the field of education. However, in practice, this very combination often fails to accomplish what it attempts to in reality. Some of the problems arise due to issues associated with technology, administration, methods of instructions and even the learners. Let us explore some of the most common problems or difficulties faced by long distance learners.
Despite the promises made by distance learners, there are some problems faced by the learners that are required to be solved. These problems include the instruction quality, the hidden costs, the misuse of technology and also attitudes of the students, instructors and the administrators. Each one of these problems makes an impact on the overall quality of distance learning.
Quality of Instruction: The quality of instruction is never considered to be better than the direct classroom teaching. At time the professors agree that the quality of instruction might be at per but in most cases it is of lower standard than the classroom lectures. It has been found that teachers do not specially invest their expertise to plan syllabus based on the technology associated with the distance learning. As a result of which distance learners are often offered with quality of instruction which is far less than that of direct real life classroom lectures. Also, along with the instructors the administration also lack in commitment to the extent required leading to further lowering standard of distance learning.
Cost Effectiveness: The second major issue faced by distance learners is the cost effectiveness of programs offered in distance learning. The costs associated with the instructors and the training technicians should be considered while planning for the cost to be charged for the distance learning courses. Also, the students find it to be difficult to realize whether the distance program that they are taking up is worth for the fee charged. This is because, distance learning might not be considered of equal to standard of those regular programs. It has been often found that in order to keep the distance learning programs price competitive the staff members recruited are often untrained.
Technology Misuse: Apart from costs, the learners also might find the difficulty of utilizing technology to full potential. Most of the technology related problems arise due to lack of training, the attitude of the instructor about using technology and some of the hardware problems. Majority of the instructors are not trained on distance learning technology.
Distance Learning Attitude: The attitudes of distance learning are though changing as more number of students; especially busy professionals are taking up distance learning courses, it is still not preferred as much as the direct regular courses. Even in job sector recruiters tend to prefer candidates who have completed regular courses rather than distance courses.
Distance learners are therefore required to overcome several problems. One of the major hudles they face is with respect to the quality of instruction they receive and consequent attitudes towards distance learning compared to regular classes.
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