What is a Distance Learning System and Why is it Important?

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Opinion piece by Veronika Sinitsa

The complexity and interconnectedness of the modern world led to the necessity for anyone to learn constantly just to be at pace with progress.

Whether for work, school, university, or personal purposes, distance learning systems streamline all learning processes and automatize all information exchange processes, so you can learn everything you want and need conveniently.

Here we focus mostly on corporate education: platforms dedicated to it, such as CleverLMS, have many project and people management features such as task/event planners and rich learning analytics.

However, the main principles and benefits of distance learning are similar in various contexts: personal, corporate, and academic.

What is a distance learning system?

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Let us remember a typical classroom. It shouldn’t be a large university learning hall, but it should be a space where we can learn together. In addition, there are schedules showing students when and where to go for their lessons and homework that they must complete, with actual deadlines if relevant.

Such a method of education worked for centuries, but now, digital technologies open opportunities for exchanging information remotely, using the Internet. The outbreak of COVID-19 enhanced their usage heavily, as people should be learning and working from home to avoid infection.

More than 1.5 billion students across the world were forced to stay home. So, a classroom needs to go online.

Managing the digital classroom

Did you catch that?

The learning management system combines this all together online. It serves as a digital classroom where you organize your learning activities. Learners attend their courses in virtual spaces like meetings in Skype or Zoom but specifically organized for education.

It should have interactive features for communication, screen, and task sharing on the whiteboard. In addition, it should have data analysis features for learning management and feedback opportunities for all participants.

LMS importance today

The growing relevance of digital education follows from its convenience and large opportunities for schools, businesses, and personal use. Despite that, the true growth of their popularity began in 2020 due to the already mentioned COVID-19 pandemic stroke.

Today, more than 30% of students in the U.S. learn exclusively from home and more than 40% of people worldwide work from home at least partially. Those trends are growing due to the convenience of distance education for all sides.

Let’s see the LMS cost-benefit analysis: that’s the key to their best usage.

Distance Learning System Costs

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All of this requires money to organize, like everything else.

The distance learning systems cost depends highly on which exact system you use and several other factors are relevant, too.

  1. The LMS cost is what you need to pay for the learning management system setting and organization, so you can deploy your digital classroom. Expect to spend from $4 to $15 per employee per month for that, depending on the tool you need.
  2. The materials cost includes all books, videos, infographics, subscriptions, and other stuff dedicated to learning subjects. It depends on the cost and accessibility of the required materials.
  3. The teacher cost includes all salaries and other benefits for those who’ll teach you required competencies to learners. Teacher salaries vary greatly but expect to spend at least $15 per hour of teaching, while the more experienced mentors will be much more expensive.
  4. The management cost combines all operational, bureaucratic, and similar expenses that are inevitable when organizing anything and follows from the cost of your project management.

All these expenses depend on factors such as the organization size, learning industry/area, required competence level, and learning curves of subjects to learn. The more material you need to teach, the more complex it is, and the more students you have – the larger your expenses.

The average annual cost of corporate education per employee fluctuates and is around $1250 – $1300 for now according to Statista. It depends on the factors above heavily so that it can be much larger or smaller.

Therefore, you can expect to spend from $200 to more than $2000 per year, depending on your purpose. Most of this spending will be for learning materials, teachers’ and mentors’ salaries, and the learning process organization.

Distance Learning System Benefits

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While you need to invest in education to obtain results, that’s true for any activity, while education gives you large advantages, no matter where you apply it. However, it would be best if you learned exactly what you need for a specific situation.

Let’s become familiar with the advantages of distance learning system usage if everything is organized well.

💪 They are flexible and convenient, as learners can use them from anywhere utilizing the schedule which is the best for them.

🛠️ They are accessible and efficient, enabling high-quality and well-organized learning everywhere in the world where there is an Internet connection

💸 They are cost-efficient, as no expenses on physical classroom, physical materials, and transportation are necessary.

🚻 They enable high personalization so all learners can utilize the most efficient learning path for them.

You’ll be the most successful if you know and understand how such systems are used today, so let’s see the key trends of distance LMS usage.

Distance Learning System Key Trends

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How such digital tools are used now? To wrap everything up, let’s list several actual trends, based on the research of organizations such as Study.com.

🎮 Gamification includes typical mobile or desktop game elements, such as badges, points, quests, visual plots, and high interactivity that facilitate information digestion.

🚻 Personalization is the approach of creating a unique learning journey for each student according to their preferences, needs, and competencies.

💬 Collaboration includes deploying virtual communication and management platforms where learners exchange information and discuss learning subjects in real-time.

📲 Mobile learning enables 24/7 education from any part of the world, and it’s especially relevant for corporate education, as it enables learning right during work. For example, CleverLMS features are almost exclusively based on mobile learning.

💡 Microlearning is an approach to teaching anything using small portions of information that are easy to digest, such as 5-10 minute videos utterly dedicated to a specific action/concept element that should be learned.

🖥️ Hi-tech usage such as AI for learning data analysis and content creation and VR/AR for learning optimization and simulations requires time and money to invest but gives the early adopters large competitive advantages.

Conclusion

To utilize all these benefits, choose the best LMS for you based on your needs and distance learning systems reviews you can find on the Internet. Do you need an LMS for personal, corporate, or academic usage and should it include advanced features, mobile learning, and project management options? Consider that, and don’t forget to contact the support centres of all LMSs you’ll face! It’ll guarantee that you’ll be all set when using them.

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