HomeWriting Task 2Argumentative/Opinion/Agree or Disagree EssaysWriting Task 2: Distance-learning programmes cannot bring benefit as attending colleges does

Writing Task 2: Distance-learning programmes cannot bring benefit as attending colleges does

Write about the following topic:

Many people join distance-learning programmes (study material, post, TV, Internet) and study at home, but some people think that it cannot bring the same benefit as attending colleges or universities does.

How far do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words. 

Sample Answer 1: [Agreement]

Distance learning, a modern phenomenon, has become widely popular, especially after the invention of the internet. In the pre-internet era, it was confined to posts and TV and could attract a nominal number of learners. Despite a boom in home-based learning trends due to technological advancements, it is not as beneficial as attending a formal educational institute, as far as I am concerned.

To begin with, university education is not restricted to some textbook lessons as it also focuses on creating an enlightened generation through a favourable environment where students learn to interact with each other, discover the diversity of cultures, and learn to face real-life challenges. Some video scripts and printed documents cannot teach them how to use those in the practical world. For instance, someone who learns a skill online finds it difficult to implement it in the real world. Thus their poor performance in professional life is imminent.

Moreover, instructors have extensive experience in dealing with students from different backgrounds and modify their lessons according to the capacity of the students. This is completely missing in the distance learning method and thus the single-package-fits-all model is less productive. Taking an online course to learn to play the guitar could be a classic example. A recent study by the University of Sussex reveals that nine out of ten online guitar learners fail to master it due to the lack of motivation and this is where formal education comes in – motivating students. Taking distance learning courses for learning a programming language, or how to cook a cuisine can be useful for many but this can never be an alternative to the education we receive from colleges and universities.

To conclude, we attend educational institutes to learn and become enlightened citizens, not to memorise lessons and pass exams. While distance learning can be a bonus to our already enlightened minds, it can never be the same as studying at a college or university.

Sample Answer 2: [Disgreement]

Distance learning programmes and online courses have gained huge momentum after the invention of the internet and it has become a major tool for education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite some people’s claim that it can never be as beneficial as the classroom-based education system, I beg to differ with the notion.

The classroom-based teaching system has some distinct advantages which some people fail to achieve when they enrol in a course offered on a TV, or even on the internet. In such distance-learning courses, teachers do not directly interact with the learners and cannot assess the individual progress of participants. Assessment of learners’ exam papers is also not always accurate as there is a possibility of cheating in the exam. This is why some people never consider online or distance learning as fruitful as the traditional face-to-face learning method.

However, the global coronavirus pandemic, and restrictions due to this, forced us to adopt an online-based learning system to such an extent that people never imagined would happen. It has not only made learners get used to online learning but has also made teachers more adept at conducting online classes and exams. People now realise that online learning is a highly advantageous and less expensive way of learning and gaining skills. New tools like better LMS (Learning Management System), communication tools, exam tools, and assessment tools have revolutionised the whole concept of distance learning. It has also opened our eyes that technology has much to offer than just conducting online classes. For instance, during the corona pandemic, my younger sister’s college adopted an online education and exam portal which they still use as the main method of assignment submission and conducting exams.

Finally, online learning platforms enable people from any age group and any region to enrol in courses and develop their skills at a very affordable price. For instance, a housewife from India can take a graphic design course offered by a teacher or a group of skilled graphic designers from the USA. This proves how online learning is going to replace many traditional learning methods due to its immense possibility and global accessibility.

In conclusion, the aspects that we have always believed online and distance learning methods can not offer have been achieved by technology and adopted by teachers and learners alike. Online learning is now mainstream and going to be as beneficial, and in some cases even more beneficial, as the traditional education system.

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