6 distance learning mistakes and how to cope with them

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Over the past decade, distance learning has grown in popularity and is touted as a flexible way for students to conveniently access quality instruction. More and more learners are choosing online education, with data showing enrollment to be at six million in the United States. That means that almost a quarter of all college students in the United States take online classes. Due to the growth in demand, colleges have had to increase the online classes and topics offered, increasing the access to quality digital learning.

However, there is often a lot to dissect when it comes to distance learning, including making sure that you choose the right course. Since data shows that about 68 percent of those engaged in distance learning are experienced professionals, it is important to make sure that the classes fit in your schedule.

Although the number of students embracing online education has been growing, the rate of retention remains low at about 10 to 20 percent below that of face-to-face instruction. Some mistakes students make when choosing distance learning programs can be blamed for the low retention rates. In this article, we highlight how you can make this type of education work for you by avoiding the most common mistakes.

Choosing the wrong programs

When it comes to selecting programs on the internet, you have to understand that the simplest and most affordable courses are not always the most ideal. In most cases, learners find that there are major pitfalls. With the average online student being about 32 years old, there are many factors to consider when choosing a program that works for you.

Look beyond the pricing when choosing the right distance learning program. For instance, we suggest avoiding those degree mills that promise ridiculously cheap and ‘hassle-free’ diplomas. Take your time to conduct some research before choosing a distance learning program. Make sure the option you select is reliable, and the degree is legitimate. Also, the program should be in line with your career preference.

Ignoring accreditation

The main goal of enrolling or a distance learning course to get access to quality education at an affordable rate without having to travel for face-to-face learning. The education should help you get a good job or to aid in your career progression. However, in the course of choosing a distance learning program, a student may ignore the accreditation of the learning institution. That can undermine the purpose of benefiting from your degree.

If you want to improve your chances of getting a job after graduation, you need to choose a regionally accredited institution. It means that, before you enroll for that desired course, you have to confirm whether the course is accredited with the federal government and the council of higher education.

Not managing their time properly

When it comes to distance learning, time management is a critical skill. It is most likely that you will have domestic responsibilities demanding your attention, unlike those students who live on-campus. Don’t take online courses for granted, as it is critical to study for at least ten hours every week.

There is also a likelihood that, if you have work responsibilities, you may forget your assignment deadlines. Plan properly, and consider getting writing assistance from an essay proofreader or professional academic writer if you need help. Most importantly, you have to learn to prioritize.

Not understanding their learning styles

Research shows that all students learn in their own unique styles, and what works for others may not necessarily work for you. Try to determine how you learn best, whether it is alone or in a more socialized environment. You should also consider the type of instruction delivery that you prefer, whether audio, text or visual. When it comes to distance learning, you may not access the social classroom environment that traditional college offers. So before you decide whether distance education is the right fit for you, ensure that you are fine with the style in which the instruction will be delivered.

Also, do not choose a degree course that is offered online without the technology required for learning. Many students enroll for distance education without fully understanding the technology they should have. Ascertain that you can access the following to make the most of online education:

  • A fast internet connection;
  • Unlimited access to computers;
  • Headphones or microphones, if needed.

Not taking the classes seriously

Most people assume that online classes should be easier to handle and do not require much effort. In most cases, students find that online classes can be even harder than traditional face-to-face lessons. The platform demands more writing and reading, with no one to offer direct guidance and demand accountability. To get the best out of distance learning, you have to take your classes seriously and work on all your assignments within the indicated time.

Not making use of additional resources

When you take on distance learning for your degree, you will need all the help you can get. The good news is that most online courses offer free access to various research resources and databases. Most students miss out on these offers because they are often not highlighted when enrolling for a course. Some of the resources may be critical in complementing your abilities and facilitating learning. Make the best use of the various available resources.

Other tips for distance learning include:

  • Work on your research skills;
  • Feel free to ask questions and seek clarifications;
  • Invest in the right technology.

Distance learning offers affordable and flexible access to quality education. The platforms are practical as students are not required to be present in a physical classroom. However, you need to avoid the mistakes presented in this article to make the most of online instruction. Good luck!


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