As the technology changes and life experiences advance in the world the same thing happened to the classroom. Today, it is common to find that learning institutions are adjusting to the new trend of incorporating the online system of delivering learning resources to the students. However, there has been a contradiction with some naysayers claiming that the position of the classroom and traditional learning does not deserve to follow suit with the advancing technologies. Many people argue on the basis that it denies student’s opportunity to interact with the tutor and that assessment is difficult when the teacher is far away from the learner. Despite the counterarguments, it is clear that distance learning is the better solution to learning in the twenty-first century because it not only offers a wider student audience but also saves money and enables the application of modern learning pedagogy (Tucker, 2001).
Tucker (2001) asserts that one great advantage of distance learning over the natural education setup is that it offers a platform to reach a wider network of learners. The validity of this argument stems from the realization that in a traditional setting, the tutor can only interact with those who would have attended the lesson. The weakness in this scenario is that when the learner has no capacity to travel to the institution physically, they are unable to access the facilities. For example, in the United States, many programs are offered online enabling students from far backgrounds to access learning when they cannot physically travel to the U.S. This way, the gap between the institution and the rest of the world is reduced.
Moreover, online learning enables the student to save on peripheral costs that the traditional learner incurs (Tucker, 2001). In the natural setting, it is required that the student travels to the educational institution to be able to access the resources. While it might seem more convenient, it comes with the disadvantage to the student because it costs both financial and time outlays. On the other hand, the online facilities do not require the learner to travel, and thus there is no extra transport cost. Additionally, it is easier to access the computer and contact the teacher with a click of a button as it is more time saving for them. Distance learning is thus seen to protect from unnecessary travel expenses and save on time wastage for the learner.
Finally, Tucker (2001) notes that to appreciate the facilities that come with the technology in the twenty-first century, the world needs to embrace distance learning. Today, advances in equipment have enabled learners to interact through the internet using video conferencing or other internet-enabled platforms (Shachar & Neumann, 2003). Because of this, the students can now learn to be independent and more creative in trying to study by themselves using the technology at their disposal. In the natural setting, however, the learner is encouraged to use conventional techniques where it is advocated that they should seek consultation in the classroom in case of difficulty. This style of learning is not only time consuming, but it also denies the student the ability to appreciate the resources at their disposal and tends to make them less creative.
In summary, distance learning is turning into a crucial facet of the education system in the twenty-first century. Among the advantages are that it enables the institution to reach a broader geographical boundary of learning, reduces on extra learning costs, and allows the appreciation of technology in education. Shachar & Neumann (2003) note that despite its existence for over a century, it is yet to be recognized and appreciated worldwide. It has, however, to be stressed that the role of the traditional system should not be scrapped wholly as it still forms the backbone of learning in many countries.