Whenever we come across the term “Education”, we always have a picture of a classroom in our mind- picture of a teacher or a lecturer in front of a bunch of students in a classroom. Or if this picture is black and white, there would be a slight transition. The characters would remain the same, except for the classroom- the classic old classroom under the tree, in a healthy natural environment where students are grasping every bit of knowledge with a cold breeze. Of late, the characters as well as the classrooms have been advanced. Be it their mannerisms, their behavior, their style etc. The interaction between the students and teachers is probably one the most interesting chemistries we come across. But what if they are separated? What if the source of education and the learner is separated? Quite difficult to digest…the set picture in our minds gets distorted, gets misshaped. But what if the idea of education is still retained putting the learner and the source of education apart? at a distance?
This is the concept of Distance Education that emerges out as a breakthrough to overcome the problem of distance. So what if the student is in India, and needs to acquire education from Australia, or say Russia? Be it any field of education, any area, it covers all of that. It is an advanced form of education which is in practice since 17th Century.
Types of Distance Education:
This advanced form of education is divided into two categories-
Synchronous- As the word suggests, this category needs synchronization between the students and the education provider. Both of them need to be present at the same time, so as to provide smooth and convenient operating of the synchronous form of Distance Education. Examples of this technology are video conferencing and web conferencing.
There need not be synchronization between the students and the education provider. This system has no time constraints whatsoever and thus facilitates easy and smooth functioning for individuals. Message board forums, email, video, print material, audio-recordings and voice mails are examples of asynchronous distance education.
Though this technology might sound difficult on implementation grounds, it has established a new benchmark for educational standards. People located far away from various institutions, universities can avail the best of knowledge and be associated with them. It has left no boundaries for education. If one wishes to learn from any corner of the world, he surely can.
This entire system of Distance Education not only serves a convenience for the learners round the globe, but also combats lots of difficulties for the education providers. For e.g., any institution or a university requires a huge area and technically sound infrastructure to facilitate a healthy studying environment. This technology being completely off-site has no such requirements and hence reduces the investment for the education providers. Moreover, it provides a new way of making money for the existing institutions and a new horizon for learners and education providers.