Distance or full-time course: which is better?
If traditional education is still seen by many as the first choice when choosing a professional qualification or learning a language, it is also true that enrolling in a distance learning course is becoming more and more important not only as an alternative to face-to-face , but as a first choice in the choice between the two modalities.
After all, many myths that deprecated distance learning fell apart and people began to see the true potential and advantages in ODL, which has made the competition for scholarships offered in these courses, in selective processes, such as Prouni.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the number of enrolled in distance courses in Brazil is so close to reaching the mark of two million students, following a trend that is worldwide, with more than 5.8 million enrolled only in the States United.
But what about knowing better what differentiates one modality from the other, with all its advantages and disadvantages? Check out more details below and find out which one is the best option!
Easy access and democratization of education
When it comes to democratization of teaching and access to knowledge, there is no doubt that distance learning courses have come to change the reality of those who did not have the financial means to pay the high prices of face-to-face teaching, or to pass a university entrance exam higher.
If you think that this is related to the quality of learning, know that this fact is due to several other reasons. Are they:
If the number of places in classroom courses is restricted in public institutions, or the values to have access to them in the private sector bordering on the sacrifice of a budget, this is due to the availability of physical space, capable of serving a limited number of students, without compromising the quality of teaching.
In other words, democratizing access to teaching in face-to-face contexts involves the construction of new buildings and the expansion of an institution’s physical capacity – which requires large investments and time.
Meanwhile, distance learning courses do not have this limitation and are able to serve a much larger number of people, and still make better use of their physical spaces for face-to-face activities, whenever necessary.
Operational and infrastructure costs
With a better use of physical space – used only for occasional meetings and practical activities – operating costs and infrastructure, such as electricity, maintenance and hiring of employees, are lower.
As a consequence, this allows distance learning institutions to transfer much more affordable values to students.
On the other hand, a face-to-face teaching institution has to add all the expenses, with the maintenance of its buildings, hiring of personnel and security services, to the value of a course, making it substantially more expensive, compared to one offered in the modality the distance.
If there is no need to go to a place to attend classes, the geographical barriers are non-existent, which is especially advantageous for those who live in places where there are no courses available.
People with physical disabilities, of course, benefit from this, since it is not uncommon for the structure of traditional institutions not to be prepared to receive them, with all the accessibility recommendations necessary to meet them.
In addition, courses offered by universities, technology companies and other international institutions are equally accessible to students, simply having the knowledge of the language in which they are offered, without the need to travel abroad and, often, free.
Access to teaching materials
Finally, the investment in didactic materials, such as books and handouts (or even the old xerox of chapters indicated by teachers), is always an additional expense for which the student of face-to-face teaching should be prepared, sometimes be included in the monthly fee.
In distance learning, these materials are available free of charge, as in the case of previous master’s degree exams, for those who take an instrumental English course.
Interaction with colleagues and teachers in a distance
Certainly, there is a majority that opts for in-person courses because they attach great importance to the factor of personal contact with colleagues and teachers, which can make even more difference in courses that focus on areas that form entrepreneurial professionals, where networking is decisive for making connections with other professionals.
These can become partners in a business or important contacts to leverage a career.
Added to this, the teacher’s centralization of knowledge makes the student take a much more passive stance, absorbing that content and paying attention to the lesson.
But this does not mean that there is no interaction, or that it produces worse results for learning, in distance learning. The mediation for the use of technologies also contemplates the constant contact with teachers and colleagues, in the construction of knowledge and in the solution of doubts.
One of the great differentials in this context is that the student has a much more active and independent role and can use the available tools whenever he needs to. In this way, it is not restricted to the space of time that comprises a traditional class or the possible shyness to interact, if it has a more introspective profile.
Quality of teaching offered and professional appreciation
If, for many, the symbolism of having the diploma with the logo of a renowned and traditional institution is what guides the choice of one course, for many others, what makes the difference is the knowledge acquired and the ability to do so work for career growth.
After all, the offered content is the same and may be even more complete in the EAD context, since the face-to-face teaching does not always cover the whole subject with the time available in a class schedule. So the difference is in the way content is delivered. Want an example?
Imagine that you are studying for a master’s degree and need to prove knowledge in English, either through an English proficiency test or a certification.
By evaluating the available options, you are faced with courses in traditional language schools and an online instrumental English course, with the difference that the first alternative requires more time – which can delay your plans – and investment, and the other one represents greater economy and learning through innovative and efficient methodologies for its purpose.
Looking from this perspective, the second option seems much more advantageous, does not it?
If you still question the validity of a certificate obtained in an online course, know that they have the same weight as the one acquired at the end of a face-to-face course, without differentiation as to the course taken. It is worth mentioning that this is established by the Ministry of Education itself.
What’s more, in the labor market, trained and certified professionals in EAD are highly valued and go ahead in selective processes, because they have greater commitment, autonomy and proactivity – indispensable factors for a solid and successful career.