Distance Makes the Brain Grow Smarter…
Decisions used to be simple, didn’t they? Wide ruled or college ruled paper. Peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rollerblading or biking.
As adults, we have to make seemingly monumental decisions that feel as if they could crush our entire world or elevate our lives from a meaningless abyss. One of these larger-than-life decisions you may face is whether pursuing higher education in a distance learning setting is the best fit for your lifestyle and career goals.
Distance learning can help some people thrive, and cause others to tear at the seams. So, how do you determine whether distance learning is the best fit for you? How do you determine whether you would sink or swim? Does distance really make the brain grow smarter?
What is Distance Learning?
Back up! Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is “distance learning”?
Distance learning is an educational format in which all coursework is completed in a virtual setting rather than a traditional, in-person classroom setting. Distance learning can be entirely conducted on learning management systems (LMS) like MindTap, or it can incorporate teleconferencing, YouTube video tutorials, or chat rooms.
Did you know that various forms of remote learning and distance education have actually existed for more than 100 years? If you like quick snippets of historical information, our brief History of Distance Education is an interesting read.
The Types of Distance Learning
There are two types of distance learning styles: synchronous learning and asynchronous learning. The best distance learning style for you largely depends on your educational preference and personal characteristics.
Synchronous learning is a type of distance learning that incorporates virtual teaching in real-time through teleconferencing. This type of distance learning closely resembles an in-person classroom setting requiring specified login times, class participation, and interaction with educators.
Asynchronous learning relies on virtual resources and independent learning but does not require real-time classroom participation. Asynchronous learning provides more scheduling flexibility than synchronous learning, and may greatly benefit students with families, full-time jobs, or various responsibilities.
Distance Learning May Be Right for You If…
You Need Scheduling Flexibility
Life is exhausting, but ignoring your passions is equally exhausting.
Distance learning allows you to fulfill your obligations while pursuing the passions of your heart. If a traditional classroom setting is not conducive to your hectic schedule, distance learning may offer the flexibility you need to coordinate both schoolwork and personal responsibilities.
You Thrive with Independent Work
You are a go-getter, an “overachiever”of sorts. You diligently set forth to achieve your tasks in a timely manner, with room to spare. If life had an option for extra credit, you would already have it done and submitted for grading.
Distance learning requires immense initiative and a preference for independent study as opposed to group responsibilities.
If you thrive as a Lone Ranger, then distance learning may be conducive to your lifestyle.
You Have a Solid Foundation in Technology
Due to the nature of distance learning, this style of education requires a solid foundation in technology to flourish. Distance learning is a good option for you if you know your way around a computer, including but not limited to the following skills:
- How to operate your device
- How to troubleshoot WiFi
- How to navigate the Internet
Distance Learning May Not Be Right for You If…
You Struggle with Time Management
Do you find yourself regularly forgetting appointments without a gentle reminder from your partner, friend, or family member? We appreciate your easy-breezy attitude. We would, however, advise against enrolling in a fully distance learning program.
Most distance learning programs establish assignment deadlines and participation requirements that expect students to effectively manage their personal and scholastic schedules. If you fall behind or miss submission deadlines despite full topic comprehension, your grades will suffer.
You Need In-Person Interaction to Thrive
Did you frequently attend office hours in high school or spend (what feels like) days in the library cramming for exams with study groups? Does the thought of virtually connecting with your professor and classmates make you cringe?
Distance learning is not for everyone, friends. Some personalities require physical presence in a classroom setting to connect with professors, classmates, and subsequently, their coursework. If you have an inkling that the in-person aspect of education might have an impact on your ultimate success, you may better benefit from a traditional classroom setting or a hybrid learning program.
You Find Focusing a Difficult Task
A new email. A poppin’ group text thread. A seemingly endless fit of barking from your furry pal. An interesting Netflix special your partner is streaming on the TV in the next room… These are a few of the potential distractions you may face in a distance learning setting.
If slight or mild distractions tend to derail you from the task at hand, distance learning can be a difficult feat. Hey, we all fall prey to occasional distractions, especially in this digital age; but, if distraction is a regular occurrence or if distractions interfere with your overall productivity, you may want to reconsider a distance learning program.
But Wait! There’s a Third Option
We wouldn’t put distance learning on the chopping block just yet.
If you find yourself straddling the preference line between distance learning and traditional learning methods, or you have an inexplicable timidity towards a fully distant learning program, there is another option. *Gasp!*
Hybrid learning is a beautiful, fruitful marriage between distance learning and traditional, in-person learning styles. In a hybrid learning program, educators offer both online coursework and traditional, classroom settings for their students. While the structure of hybrid learning programs vary from program to program, this style of learning is the perfect solution for individuals who want both the convenience of an online program and the camaraderie of an in-person classroom.
At Avenue Five Institute in Austin, Texas, we created a unique hybrid distance learning model for our cosmetology, esthetics, massage therapy, and barbering programs.
In-person training is necessary and invaluable for hands-on trades (not to mention totally fun), which is why our programs emphasize the important work accomplished in our student salons and spas. But, not all important work is conducted in simulation; we offer online classwork for our students to encourage independent study and allow for flexible scheduling.
If you feel a subtle burning in your belly at the thought of pursuing a career in cosmetology, esthetics, massage therapy, or barbering, the time is now. Let passion guide you to a life beyond your wildest dreams…
Enroll in one of our programs, now.