Long gone are the days when distance and online education was only starting to become more visible and easier to access, spiking students’ curiosity. Nowadays, online learning is probably as popular as on-campus learning, numerous students opting for this more flexible and cost-effective option.
But as distance learning has become a more established pathway to a degree, a variety of terms connected to it have also evolved, describing the different ways in which you can pursue a degree remotely: distance learning, e-learning, online learning, blended learning.
When you are considering applying for a study programme that’s off-campus, deciding on a course will come easier if you understand what each type of learning offers.
What is online learning?
In online learning, the key element is the use of internet. Online learning refers to the idea of using online tools for learning. Basically, an online course implies a distance between you and your teachers. Lectures, assignments, tests are all enabled by virtual platforms. A fully online university degree means you will not have to travel at all for your studies. Some examples of universities that provide exclusive online programmes are:
- Arden University
- The Open University UK
- Nottingham Trent University Online
- University of Birmingham Online
- University of Glasgow
- The University of Law
- University of Bath Online
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a combination of learning at a distance and the traditional on-campus learning (in a classroom). Basically, you will have a (more or less) fixed schedule where you will have to attend a part of the classes on campus. However, most courses will still be online, allowing you do coursework and assignments online. Some universities offering blended-learning are:
- Walden University
- Kettering University Online
- RMIT University
- Valparaiso University
- University of Tasmania
This type of degrees is ideal if you want to also get to travel a bit and create relationships with colleagues and teachers through face to face interactions and networking.
What is e-learning?
E-learning typically refers to the online interaction between you as a student and the teacher. Basically, you receive the training through an online medium, even though your teacher may be in the same building. E-learning can be used in a classroom or an online setting. Additionally, it can be used to simulate and intensify work-based learning situations.
What is distance learning?
Distance learning is understood and is often used as a synonym with online learning. Why the different wording? It’s because it was initially introduced to attract students from all over the world. This is how it became possible for students from Europe for instance, to easily attend an American college and become an international student without needing to travel.
Choosing the learning style that really suits you
The success of your online studies depends a lot on the teaching environment. That’s why the teaching methods developed or used by universities play a key role in your development. Both online or blended learning programmes are designed to make better use of the real potential of digital technology and enhance your learning experiences through innovative approaches.
The decision between one type or the other depends on your learning style, availability for travelling and overall professional interests and commitments.