When I graduated from my engineering college, I had a strong desire to pursue further studies like a management degree. But immediately after my college got over, I got a job offer from a leading IT company. I was in a dilemma since both the paths were alluring. I discussed my situation with some friends and they suggested that I should do a distance learning course from a renowned institution.
According to them, this would not hinder my job prospects and at the same time allow me to fulfill my aspiration of MBA. The idea was very appealing and I applied to Symbiosis school of management. Unfortunately, I could not complete my course and had to drop out of it mid-way. The mounting pressure of a new job (that too of a software engineer) and the heaps of weekly assignments was taking toll both on my performance at work and my health. So personally distance learning didn’t prove fruitful for me. But this does not mean that it is not a good option for working people. As every coin has two sides, even distance learning has its pros and cons.
It does not require commuting: You can save on a lot of time, money and energy by cutting down on travel. The time saved can be judiciously used for personal and professional life.
You can work at your own convenience: Since all the classes are asynchronous, you have the liberty to review your assignments or do your homework during off-hours or at home.
You have the freedom of living anywhere you like: All you might require is an internet connection or a computer, and you can do your correspondence course from anywhere in the world. This provides a lot of flexibility to professionals, especially if they have a travelling job.
It’s a self paced learning: Not everyone is born a genius. Some of us might take longer to grasp some concepts as compared to others. In case of distance learning you have the advantage of learning and understanding at your own pace. This reduces unnecessary stress and increases satisfaction.
It’s easily accessible to all: Online classes address physical accessibility issues that some people with limited mobility encounter when taking traditional classes. You don’t have to worry about gaining access to a classroom or sitting on uncomfortable desks. Instead, you can use your comfortable furniture in your home while enjoying free movement and a chance to further your education.
You have to juggle between job and studies: Distance learning is only fruitful if you can manage both your job and studies with equal sincerity. You have to put in a lot of efforts at both fronts. If you falter at ant one front, it is bound to have negative repercussions.
It does not offer immediate feedback: In a traditional classroom setting, your performance can be immediately assessed through questions and informal testing. With distance learning, you have to wait for feedback until the instructor has reviewed their work and responded to it.
It may not be acknowledged by all employers: Till now, all leading companies show preference for candidates who have done a regular course. The job prospects might not be as bright with a correspondence course as otherwise. You might even have to compromise on the pay-package in some situations.
It doesn’t help in building oral communication skills: You do not get the opportunity to interact with teachers and other students on a personal basis. This inhibits the building of verbal skills which is an essential trait when you go for interviews.
It leads to social isolation: Most often you’ll be studying alone. Distance learners may feel isolated or miss that social physical interaction that comes with attending a traditional classroom. However this impersonality has been lessening with advances and use of communication technologies such as bulletin boards, threaded discussions, chats, email and conferencing.
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