Advantages of Open Distance Learning
Open distance learning is an idea of education system where separation between teachers and learners by space and/or time according to (Prospectus, 2011). The flexible aspect of open distance learning sense that there are no time and location constraints for learners. This means, learners can easily access for learning environment. The objective for open distance learning is to provide opportunities for those who could not commit as a full time student or study in traditional manner.
Learners especially working adult do not need to give up their current job but to be able to improve their education or skill without having to relocate and give up their work. In a globalized world, there are always no secure for our employment and no one can guarantee that the job we are having now can work till we retired. Thus, we should always need to enhance our skills and knowledge to fit the requirement for organisation and enhance our career prospect. Though distance learning, the work performance for learner can directly beneficial what they have learned.
Unlike traditional learning, learners need to attend classes with follow the time table scheduled by school. Teacher as a mentor, student will depend on the teacher to instruct them and usually teacher control the student’s learning. Open distance learning is a separation between teacher and institution. Learners need to be independent and manage their learning progress. Learners do not need to worry about missing class as there is not necessary for class attendance. This is meant that learner as the tailor for their own to customize their time table and learning to fit with their own life styles.
They can decide the skill that best suits on their way of learning and have freedom to choose what, where, when and how to learn. Keeping this point of view, indirectly it also helps to solve the problem for shortage of lecturer and reduced poverty among teachers. Open distance learning typically involve flexible learning, learners always have liberty to choose subject as they like. For example: In Wawasan Open Universities, learner can decide on the qualifications that they wish to graduate with and how long they wish to finish the course.
According to Professor Dr. Wong (2011), student can even take break from studies for one or more semester as they like, and then continue their studies when they are ready. Distance learning can be categorized in 2 modes, it is synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous sense that the instructor and students to be present at the same time. They can meet in the same place like class room or either different place through connection of technology such as conference call, internet chat, web conferencing etc.
The benefit of synchronous instruction is that the interaction can be done immediately. However, it can be quite difficult for some working adult as everyone will not be free at the same time. In the other hand, asynchronous instruction doesn’t require students and instructors meet at the same time. This is more flexible compare to synchronous. Email is one of the examples of asynchronous communications. Learners need to manage their progress of study and self learning materials will be provided to learners like printed materials or CD-ROMs according to (Professor Dr. Wong, 2011).
Of course there are difference methods of distance learning style but one of the effective and efficient learning styles is Learning Management System (LMS). Learning Management System according to (Tutorial Support, 2010) is a software package that enables management to deliver content and resource to students. Learners can access LMS systems at anytime and anywhere as most of the LMS system are web based. There are no hassles and travelling required for learners seeking for advice or guidance from lecturers.
Learners are allowed to consult tutor under group forum or having group discussion with course mate. Finally, learners who are successfully graduated from open distance learning are not only earned a university degree. In fact, they also become more organised, independent, systematic and responsible person. As a successful leader or decision maker, we always need to depend on our own to plan, to executive and to delegate for our works. Therefore, a successful OPL leaner also reflected that they are such a great planner and excellent in time management. This could actually benefit in the working place too.