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What are the Objections to Distance Learning?

written by: Tania Faria•edited by: Noreen Gunnell•updated: 5/30/2010

The potential student is bombarded on the internet with offers of information for distance learning. At first glance these seem like the perfect answer. Flexible online learning has a number of advantages. It is said that there are also a number of objections to online learning as well.

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    Attitudes: The Great Objection

    The purpose of education is to increase knowledge. The purpose of a college degree is often to obtain a better job or even start a career. When potential employers or even graduate programs see that a degree was obtained online, the attitude toward the validity of the degree is brought into question. This is not without merit, as there are many degree programs available online that are not accredited and do not offer the same quality education as traditional colleges. Even if the programs are accredited, the attitude doesn’t change. It’s seen as a lack of dedication to have earned the degree online.

    The attitude of the instructor is also taken into consideration. If the instructor does not see distance learning as a valid form of education the quality of education they provide may be lessened. Students as well can have attitudes that distance education is easier and less time consuming than that of a traditional classroom. Negative attitudes in the classroom, traditional or online, can greatly affect the education of the entire room.

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    Accreditation Objection

    Some attitude issues are caused by real problems. As mentioned before there are online degree programs that are not accredited by any higher education board or institution. For that reason some online learners must be careful when choosing an online school. If the school indicates they are accredited, check with the agency that they are listed with. The last thing a student wants to find out after thousands of dollars in education is that the degree they worked hard to earn is not from an accredited university.

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    Technology Itself Causes Problems for Some

    Technology itself can become a disadvantage for many online students. If a computer isn’t fast enough or if power outages and network issues prevent students from attending class and submitting assignments on time, the student can find themselves at a loss while trying to catch up on work. Often online educators are sensitive to the needs of the student and technology issues that come up and will offer work extensions but the student still needs to present the entirety of the course work. This can be a severe disadvantage as the student plays “catch up” and may not be with the rest of the class.

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    Emotional Intelligence

    One of the final objections to distance learning is concerning a concept known as emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence “represents an ability to validly reason with emotions and to use emotions to enhance thought.” It is said that this is enhanced by the face to face interaction that a classroom provides. The idea of reading individuals and understanding the topics presented, in part, by the emotional and other non verbal reactions of the students can and would be lost in an online setting.

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    References

    More information on the definition of Emotional Intelligence: http://www.unh.edu/emotional_intelligence/ei%20What%20is%20EI/ei%20definition.htm

    Distance learning objections:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Disadvantages+of+Distance+Learning-a01074024279