There is no doubt about it… distance learning in South Africa and abroad has become one of the most popular choices for prospective students. Compared to traditional learning institutes, which require students to take classes in a physical campus rather, this learning option offers plenty of flexibility. Students have the benefit of a wide range of interactive study tools that are used remotely from almost any location in the country. For those living in rural areas as well as those needing to study part-time, the advantages of distance education are numerous.
Is this learning method a trend that is more about hype than anything else, or is there a reason that distance business schools are on the rise?
The Rise of Distance Learning
Distance learning is by no means a new concept. In fact, major universities all over the world have been offering classes on a remote basis. Correspondence collages relied on postal systems to send students assignments in the mail, but thanks to constant improvements in technology and internet, these days students have far more tools available to them when studying remotely.
What makes this style of learning popular is that it benefits both student and university. Some of the ways that both parties benefit include the following:
- Student benefits
Benefits for students range from practical (no need to travel far distances to get to classes, easier to balance studies, work and family) to financial (courses are often more affordable as there are less resources required by university) and personal (improves skills such as time management). For these reasons, it opens up a variety of opportunities for learning to students who may not otherwise have had the ability to study. It also helps those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living in rural areas, those with disabilities and those with limited financial resources.
- University benefits
Universities benefit meanwhile in other ways. As there are reduced restrictions where capacity limits is concerned, institutions can expand their offer significantly. They are also able to reach a far greater pool of potential students than a traditional on-campus university, which further expands their offering. Many students at business schools are mature undergrads and postgrads who are already in the working environment and are committed to their studies. Some may be based in areas that may not otherwise have been accessible for studies, and some may even be based outside of the country entirely. With fewer obstacles to studying, this can only help universities grow their database of students.
- Growing demand
This win-win scenario is one of the main reasons for the growing demand in distance campuses. Thanks to a varied learning solution that incorporates degrees, higher certificates, diplomas and short courses, trusted universities are attracting large numbers of students who are seeking a more flexible way of learning compared to traditional campuses. As education becomes more affordable and accessible for all, it continues to create a demand for flexible campuses.