Distant Education: Science and Technology

Distance education has several advantages on the on the part of the individual learner. For one, students are able to access technology-based learning resources and hence are able to study on their own and within their convenient place and time. Distance education also makes it possible for the learning to be tailored to suit each student’s needs. However, this mode of learning can also pose some challenges on the part of the student. The higher education policies are still rigid and require all students to attain certain credit hours before completion of a given course. This leads to distance students taking unnecessarily longer time to complete their course even where they have added experience from the field. Some of the distance education methods require that the students be available at particular times and this may limit flexibility (Mendenhall, 2009).

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The fact that distance education employs the use of modern communication technology means that it is not accessible to all sections of the world in the same magnitude. Some countries, especially the least developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America still lag behind on application and use of modern information technology. According to a report by United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] (2002), the world still suffers from intolerable inequalities at the international levels and sometimes within nations. Many countries are struggling with limited access to education and training. While information and communication technologies (ICTs) create new opportunities for delivery of education, the growing level of digital divide is leading to greater inequalities in educational development. This has in turn led to situations where those with the greatest need of these opportunities i.e. the disadvantaged, rural communities, illiterate and poor nations end up not accessing this vital tool of knowledge (UNESCO, 2002).Even in developed countries such as the U.S, there are minority groups who cannot access the distance education due to lack of availability, limited technological factors and cost.

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