The Internet For Distance Learning


This NZS.nz article contains information on using the internet to study and learn from home.

Want to learn how the internet helps thousands of people learn through distance? Read on to find out.

It seems like we can do pretty much anything through the internet these days, and distance learning is no exception. Distance learning has always been utilised by those who live far away from towns or cities, or who don’t have time to go to a school during the day, or who have difficulties participating in a normal school programme. It’s not always easy, but it’s a legitimate and valid way to gain an education, and using the internet makes it possible to gain higher qualifications through distance than ever before.

For those who aren’t too sure about it though, it can be a confusing thing to comprehend, so let’s break it down.

Some Ways That The Internet Assists The Learning Process

  • Online Lectures. Believe it or not, you can now often receive university-quality lectures and presentations from the comfort of your own home! It’s becoming increasingly common for professors and teachers to upload their class notes and content online for students to view in their own time, and Skype and Audio Conferencing make it possible for even interactive classes to take place over the internet.
  • Student Interaction. Online message boards have become more and more popular across all channels of the web, and now they’re being tapped to help students interact online. Students can share notes, have discussions and work on assignments all within a message board. This helps decrease the feeling of isolation for distance students.
  • Evaluation Tests. It may sound weird to have tests online- after all, can’t the students just use Google and cheat? However, all that’s required to make them work is an adjustment to the way tests are set. By testing student’s understanding of ideas and concepts rather than basic fact retention, teachers can accurately assess how well they’re doing in class.
  • Assignment Work. These days, even normal schools and universities often take advantage of an “online drop-box” system, allowing students to submit work from home (and often right up until the deadline). So it makes sense that distance learning institutions take advantage of this as well, making it easy for teachers to set assignments, and for students to hand them in regardless of their availability during the day.
  • A Customised Work Process. Not everybody learns the same way, or at the same rate. Online learning facilitates a range of learning styles, allowing students to go at their own pace. Some will grasp concepts easily and leap ahead to do more of their own reading. Others will enjoy being able to absorb lecture notes slowly, without the hurry to take everything down.
  • Feedback Through Email. Even for students who go to school, finding time to speak with the teacher about their work and receive feedback can be difficult. Teachers are often only available a few hours per week. But by exchanging feedback through email, it’s possible to use the time that each party is free to have a more in-depth discussion, and explain issues in more detail.
  • Online Learning Systems. Systems such as Blackboard and Moodle already in use at universities throughout the world, simply because they’re so useful for learning. Combining a forum, announcements, class notes and assignment submissions into one convenient place, these systems transfer seamlessly into a distance-learning environment.

The internet has amazing power to help our lives, and in particular when it’s applied to education it can do great things. By bringing the learning environment to people of all job types and dispositions, it can be effectively used at primary, intermediate, secondary or even tertiary level. For those who require learning to take place away from school, the internet is an essential tool.