Limitations Of Distance Learning
Academics, teachers, and educators are all united in one voice
on distance learning. It is an effective and efficient way for
students of all ages and at all levels to learn. It has a number
of advantages that allow it to be cheap and universally
accessible to almost everyone who can access the Internet. But
they also recognize that in comparison to the traditional
classroom, distance learning does have its limitations, and in
order to overcome them they are first working to identify them.
Here are a few that they have identified to date:
Limited connection between course material and its explanation.
This is in contrast to the traditional classroom where students
follow the written material and are guided by the human
interaction of the teacher and their peers.
Limited human teacher expression and interaction. Instead of
following the human teacher's body expressions and language
patterns to learn, distance learners following an inanimate
computer screen. Students then miss the teacher's gestures and
the full impact of the oral interaction with the teacher.
Lack of human connection. Most of us have become accustomed to
receiving direction and instruction from a human, our parents
are our very first teachers, and that is how we learn. In
distance learning some students find it difficult to relate to
an online tutor and they miss and need that human touch.
Limited peer support. Although you can and will develop
friendships amongst your co-learners in a distance learning
program, we do learn in the interaction with our peers. Think
about your first smoke or your first drink, the messages from
your peers were pretty crucial to convincing you to experiment.
In learning we support one another and that is a little more
difficult in distance learning.
Lack of contextual understanding. In the traditional classroom
all of our learning is done by using examples to help us
understand the context of what we are learning. In distance
learning there are fewer examples or explanations past the
initial concept or theory and we have to find that contextual
understanding by ourselves. For some students who are accustomed
to learning through contextual discussion it may be difficult to
grasp or understand some basic and important ideas.
None of these limitations are insurmountable by a student who is
anxious and eager to learn, but they do slow some people down in
their distance learning program. The good news is as the experts
have identified these limitations they are already at work to
find ways to improve distance learning to remove them. Like
education itself there are no limits on distance learning, only
limits on ourselves.