Distance Learning Myths There are many myths about distance learning courses. Some say they’re only for busy people while others believe they promote plagiarism and cheating.

But as with most myths, there’s very little truth in any of them.

The truth is that distance learning is merely a change in the way education is pursued, and change scares many people. So they gossip and spread rumors. But don’t let fear keep you from exploring the unknown.

Explore these 10 myths of distance courses and decide for yourselves whether or not distance learning is right for you.

Myth 1: Distance Courses are HARDER than Traditional Courses

Distance courses are typically no more difficult than traditional courses. It’s the same information just presented from a different location rather than in a classroom.

If you feel a course to be abnormally difficult, it could mean that you have not quite adjusted to the way the information is being presented. As with most things, the more you engage, the better you will become.

Myth 2: Distance Courses are EASIER than Traditional Courses

Just because distance courses may not be harder than traditional courses, this does not make them necessarily easier. The difficulty of a course is measured by three factors:

  1. How well you understand the material
  2. Your learning styles
  3. The course itself

It’s all about you and how you learn. What is easy for you is hard for another while what is hard for you may be easy for another. We all have our unique skills and strengths.

Myth 3: Distance Courses Promote Cheating and Plagiarism

There is a certain level of invisibility in distance courses. No one can really know who’s using your student credentials to log-on. Some people believe this makes distance courses ripe for cheating and plagiarism.

But there is already plenty of that in the traditional classroom. There are even paper mills that sell essays to students.

If someone wants to cheat, they will find a way. But we really shouldn’t question the morals of everyone taking distance learning courses. Ultimately only you can decide if you will cheat or not. Quick tip: spend your time learning the material rather than finding ways to cheat, and you will likely pass all your courses with flying colors.

Myth 4: The Quality of Distance Learning is Lower than Traditional Learning

In an distance learning course, you study the same material that you would in a traditional classroom. Most often, the instructor has the same credentials, skills, and expertise. And your peers are generally accessible via virtual forums, emails, and other social networking tools.

Much of this creates a higher quality and more versatile learning experience than a traditional classroom. There are many that argue that the quality of learning is actually increased with distance courses rather than decreased.

Myth 5: It’s Alright to Procrastinate in an Distance Course

Distance courses do not change the way our brains work. We still learn best by studying information in small chunks over long periods.

Procrastinating may be desirable but it is never a good option. Whether in a classroom or online, it is important to study daily and complete assignments on time and with a steady pace.

Myth 6: There are no Due Dates in Distance Courses

Though you don’t have to take breaks during holidays or go to a classroom during the week, there can still be due dates for assignments. Essays will need to be written, quizzes taken, and responses posted to forums.

Of course, you can work at your own pace but will still need to pay attention to the pace at which you hand in assignments and take exams.

Myth 7: Distance Courses are Only for Busy People

Many articles suggest that distance learning is the best option for those with a busy schedule. And in many cases, it is. But even if you have a little extra leisure time, distance courses can still be a great fit for you.

Myth 8: Professors Do Not Pay Attention to Students in Distance Courses

In many distance courses, professors pay more attention to the students. By its very nature, a distance course is more interactive than a classroom. During the traditional lecture, the professor speaks and students listen. Questions may be asked but true conversations are rare.

Forums, email, chat groups, and other tools used in online and distance learning courses can allow instructors to interact with you personally and far more frequently. They often reply to your forum responses, give you detailed advice on completing course assignments, and respond more in depth to your questions through individual and group emails.

Myth 9: Distance Classes are for Lonely People

A lecture hall can be the loneliest place in the world. Yes, there may be hundreds of students in the room but most of them come and go as anonymous faces. You don’t get to know anyone personally unless you make an effort outside of class. This holds true while you are enrolled in a distance learning program.

In fact, in distance learning courses you are pushed to communicate with peers. Not only do you write forum responses but you reply to those of your peers as well. Chat sessions can allow for more personalized and meaningful conversation.

In short, distance learning is not for only a specific subset of people. It can be for everyone.


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