There was a very interesting piece on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme on Monday on the rapid rise of distance learning.
They stated that there has been a marked rise in students aged 25 and under now studying online with 17% of the Open University student made up by online learners. One of the main reasons cited for studying online is the cost factor.
It is a lot cheaper to complete a distance learning course than to attend a physical college or university. A lady who began a physical university degree and then opted out to complete it online said she ended up saving £10,000 in fees! She also went on to talk about the flexibility of distance learning. The ability to complete assignments and classes in your own time, and fit things around work and other commitments is a big plus.
She said that the lack of face to face time was not a problem because you have set times for tutorials and you can also call your tutor at any time if you need help or even arrange to meet up if you feel it necessary.
An Open University tutor says that the distance learning industry has been growing steadily over the last 10 years and that students are realising that learning online is a high value alternative to University experience. He says that “Almost anything that can be taught to a high standard by conventional means can also be taught to a high standard via distance learning.”
A professor from the University of London says that distance learning in the UK has strong growth and is expected to grow even more rapidly in the future. He says that the cost factor is a great advantage but it’s the flexibility of study in distance learning that makes it such a great form of study.
Employers see distance learners and those who have completed distance learning courses as the more favourable employees because they will have shown great commitment, discipline and self-motivation to complete an online course along side their every day lives and jobs.
To listen to the podcast yourself go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015yt43#p00l66kr. The specific section on distance learning is from 8.14 minutes in and lasts for about seven minutes.