It is obvious the traditional face to face classroom learning can no longer meet the growing demand of education. Therefore, there is need for open and distance learning and because some people can’t afford the cost of education, they remain deprived of higher education. Some drop out due to commitments to family and inability to combine schooling with family responsibilities. Early marriage, childhood, adulthood, tradition, religion and beliefs of some people also deny them access to education coupled with factor like disability.
Due to the realization of the fact that ‘all round national development of a country, requires quality education to be made available at all levels and for all ages” , government, private and other bodies now look for cost effective and quality ways to promote national development in education which will be cost effective and made dependent on individual time, space and pace, to be used at all levels of education be it primary, secondary and tertiary to enhance and improve learning through distance learning.
What Is Distance Learning?
Distance learning is the use of technology for improved education and learning without being face to face with the lecturer. However, some distance learning programme may involve real time conversation with the lecturer or sometimes require you to go to the centre or college the distance learning programme is offered. With distance learning, you can learn and work and as a distance educator, you can also deliver lectures with jackets and shorts from the comfort of your home. Distance learning is open to both young and old. AN example of the distance learning programme is the National Open University in Nigeria (NOUN); the first learning medium introduced through distance learning mode. It has helped to promote distance learning in Nigeria, it provides accessible and enhanced quality education that is cost effective and provides flexible learning that adds lifelong value to learners.
Benefits of Distance Learning
Because some people learn faster and better when they learn at their own pace they may consider distance learning programme and if you are considering distance learning, here are some of its benefit you should know.
- It is an opportunity for students with disability or other forms of disorder who are unable to attend formal school education programme to get quality education.
- Adults who are ashamed of classroom learning can also learn through distance learning
- There is opportunity to be taught by great professionals in your field of study
- It helps you to set your own time and space for learning because of its flexibility.
- You don’t have to pay as much tuition fee as full-time programmes and you gain same quality knowledge if not more.
- You get your lectures or certificates from anywhere in the world irrespective of where you are, it saves you travelling time.
- There are courses/ subjects that are not available in indigenous / local school that are available in distance learning.
Open/Distance Learning Courses
Both undergraduates, postgraduate and professional/skilled courses are offered in distance education programme and the materials are produced by institutions offering the courses, sent to learners through mails or accessed through the internet. Videos, tasks, quizzes, games are also available to help improve academic success.
Admission Requirements for Open/ Distance Learning.
Distance learning programme differ from institutions to institutions and requirements also differ but can be accessed through the institutions online websites for instance, admission into the school of Law in the National Open University of Nigeria, requires candidate to have a minimum of second class lower degree from any accredited university with at least five credits in English and Literature and a credit pass in Mathematics at not more than 2 sittings in NECO/ WAEC/ GCE level.
For some institutions requirement is just to sign up and take the courses while some don’t require signing up, because their courses are free and open.
Are Certificates Offered?
Only accredited and nationally recognized distance learning programmes offer an academic degree certificate. However, there are some distance courses without certificate, some offer badges upon completion of the course/subject.
Do you wish to start an Open/ Distance Learning Programme?
Here’s a guideline that can help you
- Decide what to learn
- Make research and then choose a university or training centre that offers your preferred course
- Register for the course or sign up as the case maybe
- Lastly, work hard, take your courses when due and try to avoid all forms of distractions while learning.
Written by Busayo Tomoh