Long Distance Education: Pros and Cons

As brick and mortar schools become more expensive, many students are turning to long distance education for a number of reasons that will benefit you like it has for so many others. But I've mentioned in other posts that not all fast online degrees are created equal. If you want to know more about how to choose those courses then read that post for the moment. I want to focus on three cons and three pros of a long distance education.


1. They are convenient because of the online format. Most courses that you take online can be taken incrementally and at your own pace although some schools do have a course schedule that you will have to abide by. If you're a busy parent, this will give you some leeway.

It's a good way to schedule your classes on your own schedule rather than rushing to get everything done in one moment. Online classes offered at colleges can be taken from your bedroom or your sofa, it's your choice where you want to complete it.

2. They are more cost effective. In addition to convenience, you won't have to pay for room and board, a cost which is increasing every year. Although you might get charged the same for a credit hour, this is made up by the savings in other areas such as the one I already mentioned.

Source:Flickr/Sean MacEntee

3. The last benefit is the interactivity that is possible through video, audio, and other applications that help boost understanding of the topic without having to sit in an actual classroom.


1. You will have little structure. Most students in America are used to attending a physical classroom setting that in one way or another helps them focus on the task or assignment at hand but it's drastically different with an online course. The environment is your home (or another area of preference) and if you have a hard time focusing because of the lack of a physical classroom, then long distance education is not for you.

2. You could fall behind if you don't have self-discipline to do your class work. Students, especially teenagers and young adults, have a bigger problem with this aspect than older groups of people because of a lack of self-discipline. It's important to honestly assess your ability to stay on top of course work and thus make a decision that will be in your best interest. That's what it's going to require in order to get through all of your long distance courses successfully.

3. Not all online classes offered have the same quality. It's important to do a thorough investigation of courses you want to take. Find reviews online to get a glimpse of what you should expect from the instructors. Some online classes may be stricter in time limits than others. What I mean by this is that some professors may only be concerned about giving you the lecture and not answering questions on a one by one basis. Because of this, you need to conduct a quality assurance test on any class you're thinking about, especially long distance education courses.

What do you say?

With this being said, please share your experience about long distance courses in the comments section of this page so that other students can do better comparative research or create another article by simply submitting it in the box below.

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Hi Luis,

I am a strong advocate of "Blended" learning - which means "Blending the best teaching and learning from f2f and online environments. Our company ...

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I completed a Masters degree online

Two More Cons:

Lack of real time interaction with classmates. All face-face social/cultural experience is ...

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