Asia-Pacific Distance Education

Distance learning stands out as an excellent method of reaching adult learners. This because adults desire high level of flexibility while advancing their education so as to contain competing priorities of work, home and school. This medium of learning has been in place for over a century and has gone through tremendous transformation from pencil and paper correspondence courses to real time internet courses. This system of learning is characterized by many benefit and merits especially for the adult and working population like me with the desire to further education. One of the factors that motivated me to opt for this mode of learning is its flexibility. High flexibility in this system allows me to take my coursework in information technology and systems from just anywhere provided there is a computer and internet connection. I do not need to travel to the University of Monash to get coursework materials because I can access them locally. This allows those who are already working and with families like myself to study when and where it is more convenient without having to squeeze in scheduled classes to an already busy life. For people like me who are living under a tight budget, this system is far cheaper when compared with the on-campus system. This is because it cuts travelling costs and there is also no meal plan or housing to worry about because it allows me to operate from home. This mode of study gives numerous choices of learning institution and courses. This is of great significance in situations where one lives in a community with few or no learning institution specializing in his or her area of choice. You may find online schools specializing in a particular field or one that can provide a great general education thus allowing one to expand his opportunities for education because in distance learning program.

Opportunities are not limited by geographical location. For instance locally I could not find myself a well reputed institution that could offer the course of my choice and distance learning mode of Monish University opened a window for me to further my studies.  Distance learning creates an opportunity for one to work while learning and at the same time meet his or her family responsibilities. This system allows me to fit learning into my own schedule without compromising my job or my family obligations thus making it easier and convenient to complete my course while am working something I could not have achieved through on-campus learning.

Despite having many benefits, distance learning is associated with a number of challenges. One of the challenges that I have experienced is social isolation while studying. I usually feel isolated and often miss that social physical interaction with instructor and fellow students that is often associated with on-campus mode of learning. But this challenge is lessening with time, thanks to improvements in communication technology that has facilitated threaded discussion, chats e-mail and conferencing. Another challenge that I have experienced is lack of immediate feedback. In on-campus mode students’ performance can be immediately accessed through questions and informal testing but for us who are taking distance learning we will have to wait until the instructor has reviewed our work and responded to it. Having a family, working and at the same time learning is often challenging as it calls for planning in advance for both students and instructor and also to make sacrifices at times to get things done correctly and on time. Another challenge that is associated with distance learning is little support from the instructors. At times I am expected to find my own resources for completing assignments and exams thus

Calling for me to sacrifices and to take more time to look for relevant resources. At time I find myself lacking motivation to read my course work or complete my assignment. This requires me to come up with ways to motivate myself something for instance getting motivation from family members and workmates.

This mode of learning is of great benefit to me because it has instilled sense of dependency in me and the benefits of making sacrifices and planning my time effectively to meet my objectives. These are important virtues that am looking forward to employ in the field of information technology once I complete my studies and to make break-through in this field in order to make life in the society better. This system is characterized by more merits than demerits. Being aware of the challenges and planning effectively will ensure success on part of the students and instructors and the success of the system in general. Also more need to be done to make the structures of this system strong and effective for instance making this system more interactive by providing real-time online instructors will break social isolation.

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