Distance Learning Education – Convert Your Long Cherished Dreams Into A Reality

Distance learning education has made it possible to obtain a desired degree with the help of Internet without moving out of your home. To cater to the needs of such kind of people, various distance learning systems have already become operational. Many established universities have also adopted these systems and now offering a lot of distance learning online courses.

What Are The Benefits

So, this is a golden opportunity for you to convert your long cherished dream of getting higher education into a reality. Now, it will be only your fault, if you fail to capitalize on this wonderful chance. You have complete control over the choice of subjects, learning schedule and the speed at which you wish to learn. With all these benefits, why should you not make full use of this marvelous tool to achieve your much awaited goals.

Gone are the days when you were unable to do anything but to regret when your employers used to overlook you because of lack of proper education. With the help of distance learning education, you too can make yourself fit to be promoted in your organizations. You do not have to take time off work to join any such online course.

One more impressive feature of distance learning education is that there is no time limitation for obtaining a degree. You can take prolonged study breaks, if you need to do so to execute other commitments. You can also choose a course where there is no compulsion of appearing in the final exams. However, if you have enough time and firm determination, you can earn a online degree in the same amount of time as you need in case of a traditional degree.

Top 10 Distance Learning Universities in India

Distance education is catching up fast in India and the number of students opting for this mode of education is on the rise. Many students living in remote areas are not able to pursue regular courses for their higher education even if they desire to do so. They can fulfill their desire with this mode of education. Even working professionals can give a boost to their career with improved qualification and skills. With headway in open learning, many universities in India providing this education form have developed in the past few years. We will have a look at the top 10 distance learning universities in India.

Top 10 open universities

Below is a comprehensive list of the top 10 open universities which provide different courses to the candidates through distance education. They are not in any particular order.

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

Governed by the Distance Education Council (DEC), IGNOU is the most popular university among students seeking admission in correspondence or online courses. The courses are categorized under different schools of study.

Dr B R Ambedkar Open University

There are around 137 centers of this university all across the country. The motto of this University is ‘Education at Your Doorstep’. Several under graduate, post graduate and diploma courses are offered in this University.

Sikkim Manipal

This University is recognized by the United Grants Commission and there are around 725 authorized centers across India.

Annamalai

Annamali University is the first distance learning university in India offering post graduate course in subjects like Zoology, Applied Psychology, Bioinformatics, Botany, Law, etc. All the courses are approved by the Distance Education Council.

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning

This institute is situated in Pune and follows the concept of ‘Blended Learning’. Their programs have e-learning facility along with printed study materials and faculty interaction. The program structure is such that the students get the same knowledge as that of regular courses.

ICFAI

ICFAI University has many centers all across the world and is well known for its MBA courses through the open education mode. With an MBA degree from ICFAI, candidates can improve their job chances immensely.

Maulana Azad National Urdu University

With 9 regional centers, the university proffers 3 under graduate, 3 post graduate and 8 PG Diploma, Certificate and Diploma courses. B.Ed programs are also offered to the interested candidates.

Alagappa University

The Alagappa University provides job oriented and sector specific programs to its students in this education medium. Both Tamil and Hindi are the medium of instruction. Diploma holders are eligible for lateral entry in various degree programs.

University of Mumbai

University of Mumbai has a separate section for students who are interested to take up open learning courses. The Distance and Open Learning section offers different degrees under various faculties available.

IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute

Cyber security and management are the two areas of study in which students can enroll for correspondence or online learning. Post graduate programs and PhD programs are highly recommended.

It is however necessary to make a thorough check about every aspect of admission before enrolling in any of these top distance learning universities.

Scope of MBA in Distance Learning

A degree in business administration is one of the most popular courses being pursued today. There are a large number of colleges and institutions which offer MBA degrees or PGDM programs. The most coveted programs are the ones offered by top notch B-Schools like IIM, Symbiosis, etc. However not everyone qualifies for these courses and there are many who are unable to study full time for various reasons.

The regular courses are also very expensive and this might be a deterrent for students wishing to pursue an MBA but are unable to afford the expensive colleges. One need not lose hope as there are other ways to pursue an MBA from a good college/institution. We will focus on distance learning programs as one such method to pursue an MBA.

Top Institutes which offer MBA through Distance Learning:

The Distance MBA program, the name itself recommend is concentrated on by means of correspondence mode. The main reason you would pursue an MBA is to have an edge in the very competitive job market. In such a scenario if the degree has no relevance or value it is definitely valuable money and time lost. So the first criterion is to select a good institute.

Fortunately, there are lot of good institutes and colleges which offer excellent correspondence courses. Some of the top institutes are:

  • Indira Gandhi National Open University
  • Yashwantrao C Maharashtra Open University
  • Sikkim Manipal University
  • Amity University – Centre of Distance Learning
  • ICFAI University
  • MIT School of Distance Education
  • IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute
  • Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning
  • Dr B R Ambedkar Open University
  • Annamalai University

Accreditation:

In India there are six types of institutes offering Distance Learning (DE) today, the prominent ones being National level and state level open universities. To give them due recognition and to bring them under a common roof, the UGC-DEB accreditation was introduced. So any course recognised or accredited by UGC-DEB is treated at par with regular MBA courses in India.

Another important institute for accreditation of Distance learning MBA programs is AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). A thorough research is required and you should choose your college based on its accreditation and recognition especially if you are looking for an opportunity in career growth.

General Fees Structure:

Most of the MBA courses are structured for two years and the fees range from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1, 50,000 for the entire course. As you can see the cost of MBA through distance learning is significantly less. There are various payment options like EMI and part payments which lessen the financial burden on the student.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an MBA you must have completed 12 years of studies under 10+2 pattern followed by a three year graduate degree. Some universities like IGNOU also expect three years of work experience. Graduate equivalent diplomas are not accepted. Apart from this most institutes conduct an entrance test.

Entrance Exams for Distance MBA:

Most institutes’ conduct an entrance examination and the performance of the student in these tests are considered along with the basic educational qualifications as mentioned above for admission.

Some universities like NMIMS, Amity University and etc do not conduct an admission test and eligibility is based purely on the educational qualifications of the student. Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning and Sikkim Manipal University for Distance Education conduct entrance exams and students who have qualified any state or national level entrance test for MBA are exempt for taking the entrance test. IGNOU conducts OPENMAT management aptitude test.

IMT conducts an entrance exam but certain categories of students like working professional with two years’ work experience, students who have scored first class marks above 60%, technical or legal professionals, and holders of PG diploma of IMT CDL’s programme are exempted for the entrance tests.

General Course Structure and Duration for Distance MBA:

Students are provided study material by the institute/University. Contact classes are also conducted. Most of these classes are conducted on weekends so working professionals can also benefit from these classes. The Universities provide a list of places where contact classes are held in your city/town/village and you can choose the most convenient location to attend. Some Universities like Sikkim Manipal provide a dedicated student advisor who helps and guides the students during the entire course. Usually examinations are conducted twice a year and a certain weightage is given to the assignments.

Apart from undergraduates, correspondence courses are the most popular form of study for working individuals as it is usually taken up for enhancement in career and/or better prospects for future growth. In some cases the company itself sponsors the course to enhance knowledge and keep their employees updated with the latest in the industry. For working professionals the added boon of correspondence courses is the flexibility these courses offer in terms of completion of course, date of examination etc. For example an MBA from IGNOU can be completed any time from 2 to 8 years.

So to sum up the advantages of MBA in Distance Learning

  1. Eligibility criteria: Anyone with a graduate degree can apply. Admissions usually based on performance in an entrance test
  2. Credibility: A degree from an accredited college has same value in terms of knowledge and job opportunities as a regular degree
  3. Flexibility: Students can complete the course at their own pace and convenience which makes it feasible for busy professionals, housewives and other categories of students to study an MBA.
  4. Cost factor: Courses are less expensive and there is no compromise in terms of knowledge or job opportunities.

The only disadvantage is that the salary packet will not be on par with the ones offered to graduates from top notch B-schools; that is definitely incomparable but since the whole point of this article is to provide an alternative to the B-school and regular classes this comparison is actually not relevant here.

In conclusion we can say that a student aspiring for an MBA degree can definitely look at distance learning as one the options without compromising on knowledge, quality of education and a good opportunity for career enhancement and future growth in career path.

Advantages And Inconveniences Of Distance Learning – Choosing The Right School

The advantages of distance learning are clear, by becoming a distance learner, the candidate can continue his professional activity, take care of his or her child(en) or pursue multiple diplomas simultaneously. In fact, it is not uncommon for some students go to college and simultaneously work towards another diploma via distance learning.

Finally, the advantage for some is that you will be able to follow the curriculum that interests you without having to move to the other end of the Earth.

Words of caution though; consider the main constraint of this system: you are alone. No professor will be available to give you a written or oral demonstration. Of course, most of the schools proposing distance learning courses supply you with the telephone and email contacts with your professors, but it will never replace the face to face interaction. Often it is difficult to motivate yourself, looking at your homework after a long day at work. Motivation and discipline are therefore essential if you wish to succeed. Another element to take in consideration is of course the price! The private schools are often costly… And once the paid, impossible curriculum to go back!

Why choose distance learning?

Candidates going after a distance learning education may be:

  • Salaried persons
  • Imprisoned persons
  • Employees wishing to evolve
  • Job seekers
  • Handicapped persons
  • Persons living abroad

The main reasons to justify distance learning are to obtain additional skills, get a professional specialization or finish a diploma. Employees are more and more interested in distance learning that allows them to advance professionally, thanks to their newly learned skills. Students, employed or not, isolated or on a budget, who are unable to follow a standard curriculum, use the distance learning.

Qualities required

Seriousness, self-discipline and motivation are essentials! No one will be behind you to push you if you are not consistent or if you fail to follow through on your work. You must learn to manage everything alone. Choosing distance learning is to subscribe to a moral and financial agreement… In any case, distance learning can be a solution for those that are not able or do not wish to follow classical teaching.

What solutions are available?

Distance learning programs have huge variations. Public and charter schools are free but aren’t available everywhere. Programs are occasionally unreliable and accessible only to students living in certain cities. Some private programs offer better quality at a high price tag.

The public distance learning programs

Most states offer distance learning programs. They are often free or inexpensive. Nearly all public distance learning programs meet state and national school requirements and are regionally accredited. Charter schools are also free but you must investigate their track record and getting in may not be easy.

The private distance learning programs

A large number of private and public distance learning schools are available. You should trust word of mouth and look into their reputation. Take the time to be fully informed. If possible make an appointment, contact the educational director and the former students if possible. Private schools are more expensive but good ones can deliver excellent results.

How to choose the right school?

Because educational support is essential, regardless of curriculum, make sure you get the most information on the teachers with whom you will be in contact. How easy is it to contact them? By which means should you contact them?

At last, concerning the cost of your curriculum, review the options proposed by the chosen school. Are manuals part of the price? Multimedia courses that are often pricier: Are they worth really the cost?

Is your Internet connection fast enough to follow the online video courses? If you choose a class using mail, think about your postage stamp budget!

The content and the organization can vary from one university to another. Normally, it is not necessary to live nearby a school to be able to register. Nevertheless you may have to attend specific locations for some exams.

Thanks to distance learning, you can educate yourself, when you want and from where you want. Taken on seriously, this can be a great way to obtain the training and diplomas that will step up your professional future.

Homeschooling Vs Distance Learning – What’s the Difference?

Many people wonder if there is a difference between traditional homeschooling and homeschooling that involves the use of a distance learning program. Most times, both concepts are used to refer to the same thing, usually because the latter is often used to reinforce or supplement the former. The truth is that there are some very significant differences between the two, despite the fact that both approaches are able to provide individualized academic instruction. One is not necessarily better than the other, but they do present their own unique benefits and issues that must be considered.

The first, and probably most important difference between the two comes in the form of official recognition or accreditation. Unlike a traditional homeschooling curriculum that is developed entirely by a parent and is for the most part unregulated, a distance learning curriculum delivered from a distance learning private school has been evaluated by an official organization like WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) to determine if the curriculum is in line with local, state, and federal academic standards. Accredited schools never have to worry about colleges not recognizing the classes they offer or the degrees they confer to their students.

Second in importance is the idea that a distance learning private school can provide its students with an individualized instructional program based on the student’s appropriate learning style. Too often, students struggle to understand concepts in classes where there is a mismatch in teaching and learning styles. For a student who is homeschooled, this can pose tremendous problems if their teacher’s learning style does not fit in with hers. With the help of a distance learning private school, students can be effectively and professionally evaluated to determine how they learn best. By doing so, they can develop lessons and units that will maximize learning – something that a homeschooling parent might not have the time or experience to accomplish.

When it comes to Homeschooling the ability to provide a caring, comfortable, and positive environment, using a traditional homeschooling approach allows parents to control the information that is presented, and the fashion in which it is presented. Parents who feel as though they have a better grasp or understanding of their state’s academic standards prefer the idea of being able to provide instruction in the way they see will be best for their student.

Whichever direction a parent chooses to go, both traditional homeschooling methods and instruction through a distance learning program represent effective approaches to educating a child, and preparing her for the expectations associated with attending college. In the end, parents should consider using the approach that is best in line with the goals they have set for their student – no matter how large or small the goal might be.