Factors that determine a successful distance education program

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3 Factors affecting the success of remote learning program and course
3.3 Factors to consider when choosing a distance learning program
A male student taking part actively in a distance education program. Factors affecting successful Distance Learning Program are personal factors; technology and financial factors and social, educational, and environmental factors. Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

 

Distance & Information Education

Factors affecting the success of remote learning program and course

 

Is a Distance Learning program right for you?

Distance education can satisfy a wide array of needs for many students and learners in diverse circumstances, but it is actually not for everybody. One of the FAQs is, ‘’Is it right for you?’’

Ask yourself what your own individual goals, personality, circumstances, skills, social life, and comfort with the use of technology are? Finding the answers to the questions will determine if a distance learning program is right for you?

Again, find out if the distance learning program will disrupt your work and family lifestyle when you consider taking a course or enrolling in a degree program. Is flexibility of time and place a critical factor for you?  If flexibility is one of your top needs, distance learning may be the right choice for you.

 

How to know if you can succeed in a distance learning program and factors to consider when choosing a distance learning program

How to know if distance learning is right for you

You are not expected to undertake a distance learning program when you are poorly self-disciplined and motivated. Again, taking up a distance learning program when you lack study skills will be a waste of time, effort, and resources.

A student or learner whose prospective program of study is not offered in distance learning should opt for traditional in-person classroom learning. Every student needs to do a self-assessment to determine distance learning is the right education choice for him.

 

Factors to consider when choosing a distance learning program

Online distance learning continues to grow globally

As online education has continued to grow over the years globally. The global online education total market size is projected to increase by US$131.29 billion in the next five years. In the US, about 36% of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate levels undertake online course study in degree-awarding higher education institutions as of September 2018 in a statistical distribution of the country’s postsecondary students.

For children, pupils, all categories of students, and other forms of learners, especially working professionals and other lifelong learners, more options are becoming available. It is essential to evaluate and assess the factors carefully to ensure you make the right choice in order to have a successful program outing. We have in this blog post identified 3 key factors and their sub-divisions for choosing a remote learning course: personal factors; technology and financial factors and social, educational, and environmental factors.

 

In our other Information & Distance Learning posts, you will find:

 

How distance learning works

Distance Education System: Meaning, Features, Technology Application and Resources

Distance Education vs Distance Learning: Meanings, types, and forms

Distance Education Resources: 10 free educational technology apps

Personal factors of individual students

Personal schedule

Prospective distance learning students should consider flexibility and convenience to do coursework as a factor considering their busy schedule and commitments to work, family, and community. Will their personal schedule be a hindrance despite the flexibility offered by the remote form of education? Do they have sufficient time-management skills to rearrange home, work, school, and community responsibilities and schedules favourably and still do the online distance education?

So every student should ask himself if he has enough time to take a distance learning course or program considering the fact that an online distance learning course or program takes as much time as if not more than a traditional in-person one.

Learners’ preparedness to do more work

Running an online distance learning program is more than internet surfing but requires a satisfactory amount of participation and more work than the amount done in a traditional in-person classroom against the thought of many that it requires less work and an easier or faster way to earn a degree. In reality online distance learning courses and degree programs offered by reputable schools and higher education institutions.

Personal, educational, career & professional goals of students and learners

You should ask yourself if your personal goals align with having distance education and what your educational, career and professional goals are considering what you are doing now and what you would like to be doing in the next three, five, seven, or ten years.

Attitudes and qualities of students and learners
Discipline and self-(intrinsic) motivation

A student’s personal attitude and qualities come into play as a considered factor in distance education and it makes a successful remote learner. Students who are disciplined and self-motivated enough to work regularly and harder in case they don’t show up for a virtual classroom session at a given place and time can engage in distance learning study without struggles.

Having knowledge of such skills and abilities will be a source of intrinsic motivation for the student to have a successful because discipline is needed to complete course work studies and assignments on time and independently without the in-person reminders from your program instructors and learning facilitators.

Initiative, confidence, and firmness

Initiative, confidence, and firmness are part of the qualities needed to succeed in distance learning. Students need to take the initiative to ask questions and resolve problems that the instructor may not be able to perceive. Students who have these skills are more likely to have a good learning experience than one who does speak up or make any contribution even in traditional classroom learning settings.

Students in remote learning courses need to be confident and firm in order to establish themselves as an indomitable force to reckon with among teachers and peers in the study program. For example, a student who contacts his course instructor regularly has much presence in the instructor’s mind.

 

Technology & financial factors

Students’ access to personal computer (PC) devices and internet

A student cannot have a successful online or ‘offsite’ distance learning course without sufficient access to computer devices (desktop computer, personal computers (PC) or laptop or tablet and smartphones) and internet be it at home or in school.

Schools, colleges, or higher education institutions providing Distance Learning Management System (DLMS) must ensure enough bandwidth to support their registered students during the course of their coursework.

The Distance Learning Management System of the online school must offer online webinars, provide videos, and other supportive resources for professional development.

Effective application and use of distance learning system technology

The distance learning system can be applied as an educational technology tool in remote education and the success of a remote learning program depends, to a great degree, on the system technology used to deliver it. How effectively can a distance learning system technology be applied to deliver the program it is designed for?

To have a successful program, students should find out about the learning systems used to deliver the instructional content and the learning enhancement tools the system supports.

Any DLMS technology solution used must enable the application of concepts learned, collaboration, and engagement with students, institutions, and the instructional content is essential for a good e-learning experience.

Program cost and course duration

Cost and course duration are telling factors when it comes to determining your chances of embarking and succeeding in an online program. How much is the tuition and how does the tuition of the online course compare to other similar degrees and institutions?

Be sure to compare costs to determine the best return on your investment because not all highly-priced online degree programs guarantee the sought-after learning and employment outcomes and not all low-cost degrees offer low-quality programs.

The cost or affordability of a distance learning program appears not to be critical factors as it is significantly cheaper than traditional classroom education.

 

Social, educational, and environmental factors

Proximity (Nearness to the school, college, or institution)

Many students enroll in distance education courses and programs because they live too far from the accredited institutions of higher learning that offer the education they need such that they find it inconvenient to attend in-person classroom sessions.

Workplace and family support

A student needs to keep his energy and focus on support from home and workplace. A local support network is a prized asset in assisting to overcome the decline in motivation that occurs from time to time.

Accreditation, credibility, and reputation of the schools and distance education institutions

Many distance education institutions and schools find it difficult to meet numerous state requirements and fail to be accredited as a result. In most advanced countries of the world, only programs accredited by the Department of Education are eligible for state funds. You need to be in an accredited program if you intend to apply for financial aid and grant.

Any global top-ranked higher education institution will typically bring with it a high-quality degree producing a high caliber of students. It is vital to compare in-country and global rankings as well as reviews and achievements of the school considered.

Moreover, you need to ask yourself if the higher education institution is accredited, credible, and reputable, and if the degree you need to acquire from the university or college is well-established and will be recognized.

Content and Curriculum quality

Students are importantly urged to explore and compare program content – descriptions, course listings, curriculum, and attributes of the degrees they are considering to study. The program content offered by the distance learning providers must be active, encompassing, and dynamic enough to generate new knowledge.

The study content modules should primarily feature areas that align the personal development, job roles, work-based projects, and career and professional goals of the student.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities of students to see it through
Possession of good study skills

Good study skills are is an essential skill for distance learning.

Taking up a course at the college first is a way a student can build good study skills before undertaking a distance education bachelor’s degree program.

Good study skills include reading, making presentations, carrying out researches, writing papers, and even taking examinations. Students who take courses via video in a virtual classroom still need written communication skills because most distance learning assignments and exams are in writing.

Good communication skills

Despite the fact that different types and forms of distance learning technology solutions underscore different communication skills, for a student to have a successful distance learning program, he should have good communication skills including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Good social interaction skills

Good social interaction skill is a prerequisite personal skill and ability needed to have a successful remote education. Each distance learning management system offers a different type of social interaction. Factors that influence social interaction of distance learning courses are instructional technology used distance learning management system which includes two-way real-time interactive video, online classroom, e-mailing, offsite mailing of class videotapes; the personality of the individual learner and social life situations.

Good basic technical, computer or technology skills

Do you have good basic technical, computer, or technology skills to engage in two-way interactive video courses like activation of the microphone to watch the video monitors; popping the pre-recorded videos in the videocassettes into the videocassette recorder (VCR) and turning on the TV, connecting your computer to the internet (website) to go online and use e-mail?

Academic background & professional qualification

Do you have the academic background and professional qualifications for an online study? Do you have the required certificates and attained a particular level in education to enroll in a distance learning program?

Many graduate-level professional programs require that students who have work experience in a particular profession or field of learning or expertise. For example, some Masters’  and bachelors’ degree programs (such as education, nursing, social work) awarding institutions prefer offering admission to students who have demonstrated their professional capabilities through work experience. Students should ensure that they have the required professional background and certifications for the programs you are considering.

Access to available quality remote learning resources

Another thing that is worth considering is the range of resources that are available online and how much access students have to the course’s remote learning resources provided digitally.

A good online degree will have the same level of access to higher education resource materials and services as their traditional classroom counterparts in learning centers, schools, and institutions. This would include career advice, student experience teams, library resources, and communication with module leaders.

A credible and reputable distance learning system must offer at least good if not excellent student services.  An average satisfied online student should feel that the availability of the quality of resources they have access to is benefitting their learning needs to the same standard as if they were studying in a traditional classroom on campus.

Existence of an online network community

A student studying online should feel like they are part of a network community by making contacts, meeting like-minded people, and sharing similar industry and/or professional interests in synchronous sessions, discussion forum, group work so that he can enjoy the same social element inherent in a campus course study.

A typical distance learning program where student-to-student interaction in a network community is central to the course focus could prove valuable to students’ professional development.

For example, discussion forums and collaborative projects enable learners to connect, share, and build on their knowledge, which enhances the quality of the learning experience. Virtual laboratories offer students an opportunity to apply and test their knowledge as they learn. Applied practicum is a curriculum aspect that enables candidates to apply their skills to solve real-world problems and sets them apart from job-seeking competitors

The quality of the distance learning content and curriculum should not be lower than that of the traditional school classroom.

 

 

This blog post on ‘Factors affecting the success of remote learning program and course’ is categorized under Distance and Information Education

Our Distance and Information Education system is about creating and delivering impacting and empowering information to our amiable readers on the use of educational technology tools and solutions to achieve achieving better learning towards a sustainable future – Eduonwheels 

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