Open Distance Learning Universities have become a more popular mode of learning than Highschools. By definition,Online learning is a form of distance learning or distance education which has long been part of theAmerican education system and it has become the largest sector of distance learning in recent years.
(Bartley and Golek, 2004; Evans and Haase,2001).Through my personal learning experiences, I have realized the pros and cons of both modes oflearning. Open Distance Learning Universities(ODL) present more academic challenges and costs,are technologically advanced, more accommodative and flexible than high schools.Although both ODL and High school requires payment of tuition, ODL are more expensive thanhigh schools. Some of the high schools are government funded and free for students whereaswith ODL, tuition is a must and at times fees are hefty.
In addition to tuition, ODL students mustworry about other extra expenses they will incur during the course. These include travelling andaccommodation fares as some students have examinations and practicals in different countries.In contrast to that, high school students have no travelling and examination expenses as mostlearning is local.ODL has a higher demand for study material than high school especially prescribed books whichare necessary. Also high school students can borrow from colleagues and most of the resourcesare provided by government. They can also get direct information from their teachers face toface unlike ODL which is mostly over the internet. Not only does tuition and study materialsmatter, workload also contributes.
In terms of the workload, ODL is more challenging than high school. College students are facedwith the task of completing an average of three to five assignments per week, whereas highschool student have an average of one and at most three assignments weekly. College studentsexperience high levels of pressure because their final grades are based on each assignment. Inhigh school, however, an assignment is worth 5% to 20% of a student’s final mark.
In ODL, anassignment is worth 25% or as much as 50% of the student’s final grade.ODL has greater exposure to digital technology and is more flexible than high school becausemost of the learning is done online. This can broaden ones use of modern technology as students need to communicate with other students and lecturers. Examinations and assignments are doneand sent online for grading. In contrast, high school use of internet technology is not mandatoryand learning is timetabled.It is interesting to note that there are a number of similarities on both modes. Both modes havelearning at the center of their activities.
There is a certain workload to be dealt with, tuitionpayment and involvement of experienced personnel in both. There is a community of learners inboth as indicated by Brown et al. (1994) whereby he cited that,” The term community of learnersrefers to a community where the main purpose is advancement of learning…….”In conclusion, I have appreciated that ODL on the basis of financial, academic and technologicalaspects of learning is more costly and challenging than high school but what is needed isdetermination to pull through.