Cons Of Distance Learning

There are a number of pros and cons associated with distance learning that individuals interested in pursuing a program should be aware of before beginning a degree or certification program.

Criticisms against distance learning include the lack of physical presence which makes it difficult for students to develop interpersonal skills, diminished motivation for some students who may already have trouble studying, lower educational standards, and the absence of direct teaching by instructors which make it difficult for some students to learn. Many colleges are currently working on ways to solve these concerns with success, however.

Critics also suggest that distance learning makes it easier for individuals to gain degrees fraudulently or pursue personal interests at the expense of their studies. With less oversight, students may focus more on surfing the web than attending to their studies.

The pros of distance learning include the ability to study at one’s own pace and convenience since courses are available around-the-clock, an opportunity for adults with family or work responsibilities to earn a degree that previously was not possible, greater access to educational resources (including large university libraries), and convenience to students who live in isolated areas where there are no traditional campuses.

The pros may outweigh the cons for many individuals, but those who are interested in pursuing a distance learning program should weigh both sets of benefits and detriments before enrolling.

By understanding some of the disadvantages, students can make more informed decisions about their education and avoid some common pitfalls associated with distance learning.

52 Cons of Distance Learning:

1. There’s no personal contact.

2. There’s no direct teaching by instructors.

3. You can’t ask questions or clarify points immediately (during the lecture).

4. The video/audio quality might be poor; you can’t always see well or hear everything.

5. It can be hard for students with no study background, who are older adults, immigrants etc. to self-study since they’re used to more of a teacher/student setting. Self-studying may not work as well for these groups of students.

6. There’s a lack of socialization and sense of community with distance learning.

7. In some cases, you have to put in more time/effort to take exams since you can’t go to the exam hall, or won’t know if other people are cheating since there isn’t supervision during exams.

8. Not all students have the money to study from home, so distance learning might not be an equitable way to gain a degree.

9. Distance learning may lead to lower educational standards since it’s too easy for some people to avoid doing work or cheating with no one watching them.

10. Some online courses are self-paced, so students may have to work too fast or too slow.

11. Distance learning can be difficult for shy or introverted students who feel uncomfortable speaking in public, asking questions etc.

12. Although distance learning provides more access to educational resources, since you’re not physically present on campus it’s harder to use the facilities such as the library and labs.

13. Some students prefer the more traditional style of learning with teacher/student contact rather than self-study, so distance learning may not suit them.

14. There are fewer restrictions on what you can access in a distance learning course compared to a traditional course at college since you’re free to do your own research etc., but this may be negative since you can’t monitor the students’ progress.

15. There’s less motivation for some students who already have trouble studying, since they’re used to more direct supervision by teachers.

16. You don’t get to know other students or meet new people in a distance learning course, which is bad if you’re shy, reclusive etc.

17. A lack of student/teacher interaction and motivation can lead to a dropout rate that’s higher than for on-campus courses. With fewer students, some online courses may not be as interesting or motivating as those with more participants present.

18. Distance learning doesn’t mix well with all types of people (students and teachers).

19. Distance learning can take longer than on-campus education, since you might have to go online at different times – it’s harder to coordinate studying with other students/classmates.

20. It’s not always clear what the instructor wants or expects, which is problematic if you don’t ask questions or clarify points in the course material.

21. A lack of personal contact and direct teaching can lead to misunderstandings and negative views about the course, instructor etc., especially if you miss some lectures or feel like you’re not getting all the information you need for your assignments.

22. A lack of direct supervision by instructors can mean that students don’t really see the big picture of what they’re supposed to be learning.

23. Instructors can’t provide meaningful feedback or support for students who are struggling, since it’s impossible to know which students need help.

24. Distance learning can take longer than traditional education, since there aren’t any set class times, and you have to always make time to do the course work.

25. Distance learning courses may cover too much material, since the instructor has to provide more information or course content to make up for not being there in person.

26. Not all types of students are suited to distance learning, since it takes more effort and motivation than studying at a traditional college where you can easily socialize with your classmates etc.

27. Some students’ work habits aren’t as good as those of other students, so distance learning can lead to lower academic standards since they’re not held accountable for their work.

28. It wouldn’t be fair if some people could afford to study from home and others couldn’t – distance learning would create a divide between rich and poor students.

29. It’s hard to know what other students are feeling or thinking about the course material if you don’t have direct contact with them (in class etc.), which can make the learning process less effective.

30. The quality of distance learning courses may decrease because there aren’t enough people taking the course, since it costs more to provide more course material.

31. Distance learning is less social than on-campus education, so students may not develop as good friendships with other classmates etc.

32. Some teaching methods are inappropriate for distance learning – it could be difficult to teach without being able to see the students.

33. Distance learning is less challenging than traditional education, because there’s less motivation/pressure etc., until you finish the course.

34. Distance learning courses are more expensive, since they have to compensate for lack of supervision through support services and extra course materials.

35. Distance learning has a lower retention rate, since some students drop out of courses that they don’t like or find boring (if they can’t talk to their classmates etc.).

36. Distance learning courses wouldn’t be as fun for students, since it’s different from on-campus education and lacks the social aspect.

37. Distance learning courses don’t meet the same standards/academic standards etc., as on-campus education.

38. Distance learning courses aren’t as socially valuable etc., since people you meet are usually just other students in the same course, not the whole population of your school or city.

39. You wouldn’t have any social contact with teachers if there was no on-campus education available – they’re not present in person to give feedback, answer questions etc.

40. Distance learning can’t provide active, in-person teaching for some courses that need hands on experience (like art etc.).

41. Distance learning doesn’t allow teachers to see students in person, which means less motivation/pressure from them and a lower quality of teaching since they can’t read the facial expressions of students.

42. Distance learning courses are less efficient – they take longer, since there isn’t an opportunity for exchange of ideas etc.

43. Traditional education is more effective at teaching people how to socialize, since you have to interact with many other people in person while distance learning is done only with the few classmates taking the same course.

44. The quality of courses may decrease because distance learning courses are taught by people without much experience (teachers with less experience since they don’t have to be on campus to teach, or other students who aren’t good at teaching etc.).

45. Distance learning doesn’t create the same connections/relationships between students and teachers.

46. Some students just aren’t capable of studying without the motivation that comes with on-campus education – it’s harder to learn if you’re not motivated enough to study yourself, or if nobody is watching you.

47. Some people are capable of studying by themselves, but need the guidance that comes with being part of a class – without on-campus education, some students would be more likely to fail since they wouldn’t have anyone to guide them through their studies or encourage them to do better.

48. Distance learning courses can’t provide the same learning atmosphere as on-campus courses due to the lack of face-to-face communication, which helps students to learn more.

49. Distance learning courses can’t provide the same availability of services as on-campus courses – for example, they don’t have the opportunity to provide tutoring and extra course materials.

50. There’s less motivation/pressure without on-campus education since students would be studying by themselves and wouldn’t have deadlines etc. to meet due to lectures etc.

51. Distance learning courses are less efficient, since there isn’t any opportunity for discussion/debate etc.

52. Some people just don’t have the time to study by themselves – if you have a job and other activities, it’s harder to find time for studying on your own or taking long distance courses.

If you like this article, please share it with your friends via Twitter or Facebook. In the our upcoming article we’ll discuss all the positive points of distance learning. Thank you!

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