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Discussion on which is better between distance learning and classroom learning has been going on since the distance learning concept was first conceived. It is from this discussion on the merit and demerit of this mode of study that subsequent changes and developments that have ensued have been informed by. One of the greatest factors that have contributed greatly to the acceptance of distance learning is internet which has brought forth the virtual high school and online universities, among other virtual institutions. The greatest question that as refused to disappear from this argument is whether distance learning has the potential of delivering what classroom learning has been delivering. In this regard online programs have come under serious scrutiny in a bid to assess whether they measure up, or are better, than the tradition classroom learning. In this paper I will provide enough evidence that will prove that distance learning is better than classroom learning.    

Merits of distance learning

Flexibility

Distance learning has mostly been preferred over the traditional classroom learning because of its scheduling flexibility. This flexibility has accorded working people and those involved in raising families the required convenience to access college education, something that has been missing in the traditional classroom learning. Looking carefully at distance learning one realizes that it is the best option for people who are in fulltime employment and those who are raising families, simply because of the convenience that emanates from its flexibility in scheduling.  

Cost-effectiveness

Virtual colleges and other online schools are normally cost effective than the traditional classroom school. A recent research conducted by Sloan Publication showed that a major part of the cost-effectiveness of distance learning emanates from the reduced instructional expenses. For instance, majority of the virtual colleges have incorporated efficiency course management systems that essentially permits instructors and other administrative staff to reduce as much as possible the time that is spent on the likes of assessment, online tutorials, quizzes, syllabus listing,  exams, grade calculation, recording and any other arduous task in distance learning. One of the reason which makes classroom learning to be comparably dearer is the passing of the cost of constructing the buildings and other structure that are normally needed for the smooth classroom learning experience to the consumer, this therefore means that by lacking such constriction and therefore costs of the same, distance learning avoid some of the major costs in an ordinary classroom learning experience.  

Accessibility

Distance learning addresses the issues of physical accessibility that stands in the way of majority of the people with limited mobility. With online classes you do not have to worry about the accessibility of a classroom. Rather, you might as well use you comfortable seat in you bedroom to 'attend' online classes while still enjoying free movement. Another aspect of accessibility in distance learning comes from the fact that a person can access college education from a college that he/she might never have visited physically in the past. This therefore means that one can access a wide range of courses that might not be available in ones locality or country, something that shows the endless opportunities that can be found in distance learning.   

Discussion  

Some critics of distance learning have castigated it saying that it has hidden cost and therefore not cost effective as its proponents have been arguing. To me this is an argument that has no basis, simply because like I have said in course of this paper, distance learning might have several costs that might not be clearly seen at face value, however over and above it is comparably cheaper especially if you factor in what one saves from the reduced instructional expenses. If anything there is now a lot of financing sources that should take care of that. There are others who would argue that the detachment from other students in distance learning that a person get creates a kind of social isolation that might affect him/her psychologically, however the fact that distance learning has started using latest communication technology such as chats, email, conferencing, bulletin board, and threaded discussion to create some kind of a physical classroom experience, makes it sounds obnoxious and unconvincing.

Conclusion

Distance learning can be said to have far reaching benefits that if quantified far outweigh those of the classroom learning. In fact the benefits touch all sides of learning. For instance, just as we have seen, overall distance learning is comparably cheaper than the traditional classroom learning. Flexibility which is its greatest asset of distance learning addresses one of the greatest bottlenecks that obstruct people who are working or raising families from accessing education. The convenience emanating from this flexibility is another thing that endears it to many people who for one reason or another might be disadvantaged by a rigid structure like the one found in classroom learning. From the above it is no doubt that distance learning is far much better than the tradition classroom learning.

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