What is the importance of Distance Education Today?

The distance education modality has existed since the 19th century, at the time with correspondence courses for language teaching. Since then, a lot has changed. Radio and TV have become allies of this type of teaching and more recently the internet has become one of the most important resources used in this methodology.

With the coronavirus pandemic, they became necessary and mandatory, so that studies do not stop and, at the same time, teachers and students can take care of themselves by avoiding agglomerations.

Today’s post explains the importance of distance education today, showing ways and possibilities for this model and the advantages for the whole society, thinking about the most diverse factors.

What is Distance Education?

Distance Education

EAD is the acronym for Distance Learning. It is a modality of education currently supported by technology, where students and teachers are physically separated and teaching takes place with the help of digital tools.

Among the main benefits of this virtual learning environment are time flexibility, the use of new digital media, constant updating and cost reduction for both the student and the course manager.

The requirements for the student to enter an EAD course are not many: it is enough to have a computer with internet access and basic computer skills.

EAD legislation

Distance learning has specific legislation that is regulated through article 80 of Law 9,394 , of December 20, 1996. It clarifies the following:

” Article 1. For the purposes of this Decree, distance education is considered to be the educational modality that seeks to overcome space and time limitations with the pedagogical application of information and communication means and technologies and that, without excluding classroom activities, organizes according to peculiar methodology, management and evaluation. ”

According to the MEC,  Decree No. 9.057/2017, updates the legislation on the subject and regulates Distance Education in the country. It also defines that the distance education postgraduate offer is authorized for higher education institutions that obtain distance learning accreditation, without the need for specific accreditation, such as the face-to-face modality. The new rule also establishes that the exclusive accreditation for postgraduate courses lato sensu EAD is restricted to government schools.

Public policies and regulations like this one come to reduce bureaucracy processes and reduce analysis time, facilitating the implementation of distance learning courses. The objective is  to expand the offer and access to education , in addition to guaranteeing the quality of education .

Adult education and qualification

Face-to-face education is unfortunately still very much associated with the image of university-age children, adolescents and young people. Adult life responsibilities such as children, housework and work can be obstacles for those who want to study at a more mature age. Adults generally have less time available to devote to education.

These people, in most cases, would find it more difficult to opt for face-to-face courses and a study routine that does not provide the flexibility that only the distance modality allows. Students can better adapt learning to their needs and reality, being able to access materials from anywhere.

This is another factor that shows the importance of distance education today: facilitating access to quality education and professional training in different ways for all people who are interested, but especially for adults. Whether minimizing transportation expenses, or saving time with locomotion, this type of teaching proves to be the most practical.

Decentralization of teaching

Educational institutions tend to be concentrated in medium or large cities. They are found in large numbers mainly in the southern and southeastern regions of US

With the internet increasingly present and disseminated throughout the country, distance learning is facilitated. Indigenous and quilombola communities, for example, which are generally further away, have more opportunities to access the most diverse types of courses.

EAD is capable of decentralizing education centers through technology, dissolving barriers imposed by geographic distances and the difficulty of moving. The modality makes it easier for people from remote locations to have access to courses that they would normally only be able to take if they were willing to move, which is not in line with the reality of a large part of the  population.

Innovation and multimedia

In distance learning, knowledge can be disseminated through the most diverse media. Visual presentations, power points, graphics, photos, video lessons, games , movies, ebooks, podcasts… The possibilities are endless! More dynamism in classes and possibilities for the teacher, who can abuse creativity when preparing content.

Even with the distance, students and tutors are able to interact with each other. Positive discussions about topics covered in class and other materials can be monitored and encouraged in forums or video calls, for example.

The varied and always innovative methodology combined with educational technologies allows students to study and absorb knowledge in the way they feel most comfortable and that best suits their profile.

Economy

Even with the crisis that the country has been facing with the pandemic, the EAD segment continues to show considerable growth. It is the fastest growing market in the world!

The numbers record that the increase in enrollments for distance learning courses was 70% between March 21 and April 6, 2020, while interest in remote courses increased by 45%.

Distance education has great weight in the movement and heating of the economy in US and in the world.

Business Opportunity

The numbers presented above show that distance learning continues to grow and can be a lucrative opportunity. Whether graduation, training, free or technical course, this education model has drawn the attention of investors.

The reduced costs compared to the face-to-face model, the great possibility of innovation, the lower dropout rate added to the market growth trend, made distance education an attractive business.

The interesting thing is that if well managed, practically any skill can be taught through an EAD Platform.

Alignment with new technologies

Today, distance education is done almost entirely through the internet, an ideal environment for the development of new technologies, tools and functionalities.

Due to competition, managers of online courses and training always seek to update themselves by bringing new technologies and methods to the market. The student is the biggest beneficiary, as he has constant contact with what is new and modern.

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