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More people are asking, “What is distance learning?” Key drivers behind the question include a growing awareness of the benefits associated with a virtual education, program accreditations, advancing technology, and demanding at-home schedules.

Busy adults working full-time jobs aren’t alone when it comes to pursuing online learning. Graduating high school seniors yet to enter the workforce are also turning to online learning to gain a postsecondary education. So, just what is distance learning?

Exploring What is Distance Learning

At its core, distance learning occurs when instructors use the Internet to teach coursework. Examples of this include training programs, such as those at Point University, that require students to participate in Internet based discussion forums with classmates and professors to meet degree program course objectives.

Diving deeper into, “What is distance learning?” calls for an exploration of the different types of online learning. The Online Learning Consortium shares that there are three course level distance education definitions. These course levels are fully web based classes, multi-formatted courses, and blended classes.

With blended distance education, instructors and students meet in web based and traditional classroom settings. A combination of video recordings, audio tapes, the Internet, and classroom attendance might be built into a multi-formatted program. Distance learning universities that are fully online offer the greatest flexibility, allowing students to determine when they work on assignments and review lectures.

Tapping into Distance Learning

To access distance learning, students log into web based portals. Catalogs, registration forms, class schedules, and assignments are downloaded onto your computer. Degrees can generally be completed from anywhere in the country or world.

The range of online degrees is expansive. For example, distance learning programs at Point University are offered in specialties like organizational leadership, Christian ministries, criminal justice, and human relations. Each of these degree programs is taught at the university’s Birmingham location. View the full list of online programs at Point University.

Five distance education facts that give a greater understanding about what is distance learning include:

  • Focus on or advance self-paced learning
  • Independent learning
  • State education objectives
  • Practical skills
  • Digital technology

The U.S. Department of Education shares that digital technologies can empower adult learners.

Benefits of Online Learning

Among the top benefits of online learning are greater work life balance, improved synchronicity between students and instructors, particularly students located in remote areas, opportunities to earn a degree from anywhere in the world, the chance to strengthen technological skills, and enhanced project and time management skills.

Some benefits of online education apply to classroom settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment rates and income levels are better for adults with college degrees. In 2014, adults with professional degrees had a 1.9% unemployment rate compared to the 5% unemployment rate for all workers. Adults with professional degrees earned a weekly median income of $1,639 compared to the $668 a week that adults with a high school diploma earned.

To be truly beneficial, distance learning universities like Point University have to offer degree programs that align with the needs of growing job fields. These programs should be robust, challenging adult learners to stretch and grasp new concepts. After all, when considering what is distance learning, complexity, interactivity, and degree specific knowledge and skills are paramount.

In short, degree programs at the distance learning universities have to provide students with the skills to step into rewarding professions and advance their careers. Leadership, people management, education, and general liberal arts degree programs that are accredited by respected organizations are among these degree types. Learn more about the curriculums and benefits gained through online degree programs at Point University.