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Does It Matter How Long It Takes A Student To Learn?

The option to gain your qualifications via e-learning is transforming the educational environment and raises the question, does it really matter how long a student takes to learn or should deadlines still be imposed as in more traditional educational facilities?


As individuals we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and this applies just as much to our ability to learn as anything else. The traditional method of learning is not suited to everyone and the option of acquiring your knowledge via e-learning certainly gives the student more options and flexibility. Some students have perfected the art of cramming their revision into a few intensive days or even hours before the actual exam in an attempt to keep as much information fresh in their mind as possible.

Other students prefer a more methodical approach with regular revision and hopefully a less stressful exam experience as a result. E-Learning offers a potential advantage in this respect as the student has the option to study within the timeframe that is most suited to them.

Getting the balance right

What is important is that there is a system in place to identify if a student is struggling with the course work for any number of reasons such as a lack of comprehension or even a lack of application to the tasks that have been set. In a traditional learning environment these students can be quickly identified and taken to task if necessary but more likely, be offered some guidance and assistance.

With e-learning you are often working without the disciplines that a classroom environment can help achieve, but this  setting will help some people and hinder others so distance learning is equally acceptable as a learning method provided you get the balance right and have a system in place to identify any potential problems or lapses.

What really matters

It is fair to say that there are pros and cons relating to both learning methods. What really matters is not the time spent on the task as much, but the eventual level of comprehension and retention of the course work which will lead to exam success. Our own personal circumstances can vary enormously and for example, a mature student who is holding down a job during the daytime, will welcome the flexibility of e-learning to enable them to get the education they want in the timeframe that is most suitable to them.

Traditionalists will always have their concerns that the time honoured method of classroom teaching is being compromised in some way. What really matters at the end of the day is that the student achieves what they set out to do and if that means that they gain a qualification that they would have struggled to obtain under a so called normal teaching environment, then in turn leads them into a better job and improves their financial standing. It even makes them feel better about their prospects for the future as a result, then the length of time they have taken to get them where they want to be is surely of little relevance overall.

Sarah Rawson is studying an online Masters of Education program. She is also a freelance writer and her articles mainly appear on higher education blogs.
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