From mailing letters to a correspondence school to attending classes online distance learning sure has come a long way over the years! But no matter how far distance learning has come, the reasons for why remain relatively the same.
- Where you want to learn is too far away? Distance learning closes that gap.
- Schedule too packed to attend traditional classes? Distance learning makes the clock your friend.
- Can’t always leave the house? Distance learning can make the world come to you.
- Have incredibly good eyesight and long arms? Distance learning may… (not really sure what this has to do with distance learning actually…)
Whatever the reason a person gravitates to distance learning nowadays the method has become immensely more accessible. With this whole internet thing being as popular as it has gotten, the world has become a smaller place and opportunity abounds. We basically have the collective knowledge of the entire human race at the tips of our fingers whenever we want it (and we can turn that knowledge into a meme if we so choose.) Now learning can occur wherever and whenever so long as you can access the internet. As a matter of fact, credit and noncredit courses have been offered on the internet since the mid-’80s (Simonson, Smaldino, Zvacek, 2015.)
There are so many amazing things that can be learned on the internet today, we truly live in a magical age. If you want to learn a how to play the guitar, you can find all the theory in the world on a few hundred websites. Want to see the correct way to change brake pads, YouTube can show you how. Learn a new language? Easy Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, and more have you covered. Wonder what that funny colored rash is? Go to a doctor! (Web MD will only stress you out.)
If we have evolved from mailing letters to correspondence schools to using the internet for almost any type of learning in such a relatively short amount of time what is next? In twenty years will we be able to download information to our brains???? Probably not, but online universities, job skill training, and online learning will most likely become the standard. Why wouldn’t it? We don’t use chalkboards in school because we found a better way. Distance learning is the future… the future is now. You can go to college, learn new skills, or just satisfy your curiosity.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education