The benefits of remote learning in higher education
Remote learning may not have been widely implementing across higher education organizations in the past but, it has become more and more prominent in recent years. This new development has a range of benefits to both higher education organizations and students. But why has remote learning become more prominent?
In this article, we will into this and examine the benefits of distance learning for both students and their organizations.
While in some higher education settings, remote learning has been part of the norm for a while, to most organizations, it’s something that’s new to them. Over the last 12 months, remote learning has become a more important part of higher education.
It may come as no surprise that this has largely been due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced many higher education settings to implement remote learning solutions so that students were still able to access the resources they need, even when circumstances have forced them to be off campus and they cannot access course resources on campus.
This has also led to students gaining a stronger voice when it comes to what would improve the quality and value of the education and the course they take. Students are increasingly demanding the opportunity to work away from campus, and higher education organizations have begun to find ways to make this work for everyone.
Remote learning has a wide range of benefits for students. While working in a physical classroom setting has its plus points, such as social interaction and in-person collaboration, there are a range of great reasons to implement a remote learning solution to benefit each individual student.
Continuity of education
Remote learning provides greater continuity of education for students who want to work both on and off campus. If a student has to transition from being in the classroom to working from home, remote learning strategies allow them to continue working in the same manner. They are able to study wherever and whenever they want, offering a greater degree of flexibility that can truly benefit every student and their needs, no matter how diverse.
Students work at their own pace
Students are able to work at both a time and pace that suits them, rather than having to condense their learning into an hour or two in a classroom environment, or worrying about not ‘keeping up’ with their peers. The other students on their course may be progressing faster, and this competitive element is removed with distance learning.
Levels the playing field
Along the same lines, online learning opens up barriers that have been put in place in higher education. This can level the playing field and allow students of all abilities, from a wide range of locations, to take part in and benefit from higher education. The opportunities provided by switching to an emphasis on remote learning improves access to education and existing students are given better access to resources.
Resources accessed remotely
When a remote learning solution is implemented, there is no need to access physical school libraries or attend lectures in person; all of the resources necessary to learn can be provided remotely and virtual classes can be accessed even if they’re off campus. This makes learning material available at all times for all students, so they can refer back or read forward, depending on their personal style of learning.
Real life skills
Given that the way the world is working currently, working from home in a full-time job is not beyond the realm of possibility for students. Not only will they receive their education in a way that suits their circumstances, but they are also receiving real-world preparation for jobs that could also feature remote working after they graduate.
The benefits of online learning are not felt by students alone. For both educators and the organizations themselves, there are a wide variety of benefits and plenty of value in having a flexible attitude towards lessons and studying.
Hybrid learning approach
The pandemic has been challenging in many ways, but it has also been a wonderful opportunity those within higher education to realise that there is more than one way for students to learn. While initially, it was difficult to see how organizations could continue to provide students with a top tier education when they were scattered across the country, it quickly become apparent that it was a viable option.
More prepared for remote learning
Higher education organizations have learned that, with the right tools, it is more than possible to provide students with an excellent quality distance education. It is imperative to use the correct technology in order for students to remain connected and engaged in learning.
After the initial scramble to change from classroom-based, in-person learning to an online setting, organizations are now better equipped to offer remote learning opportunities both now and in the future and provide students with a better learning experience. While to begin with, it was essential to provide these options for students and teachers, now organizations are looking to hang on to at least some of these new ways of teaching and learning.
Attract more students
For organizations, being able to offer remote learning, this means that they are able to attract students from all over the world and are more attractive to a more diverse array of potential students. This could lead to an increase in students for higher education organizations.
Save on costs and resources
There are also some opportunities to save on costs and resources. If students are learning remotely, or even utilizing a hybrid system, there will be a long-term reduction in the need to invest in on campus equipment. This could be something as simple as less furniture, or something as important as devices on campus and in campus labs.
As can be seen, while it has been something of an unexpected turn of events, the charge towards distance learning as a long-term option is unstoppable. Even if we go back to some in-person learning, it is likely that a hybrid style will be adopted going forward, reducing overheads and promoting flexibility.
Overall, the amount that higher education organizations need to invest in their physical buildings could reduce as online learning becomes more normalized and popular, attracting both students and staff from all walks of life, and giving them the edge over and above institutions which have been slower to adapt to our fast-changing world.
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