Distance Learning vs. Classroom Learning

Continuous professional development is an important part of people’s lives and the best way to self-develop is through education. Education is split into two categories; Distance and Classroom. Distance learning is when a course or qualification is presented online on a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and can be completed in your own time, at your own pace and in an environment that suits you. Generally in distance learning, there is less support from a tutor and more self-study. Classroom learning is when a course or qualification is presented in a physical classroom at a set location and you are required to attend the course certain days and times during the week. You are supported by a tutor throughout. Many people speculate whether distance learning is just as effective as a classroom course and in my opinion, it is. There are many benefits to distance learning as there is with a classroom course and I am here to split down the pros and cons on both methods of learning.



1. Flexible: distance learning allows you to study at a time and place suitable for you.
2. Convenience: you can fit studying into your daily routine and schedule.
3. Self-study: distance learning gives you some independence allowing you to study with rules that work best for you.
4. Cost: the overall cost is cheaper as you don’t have to spend money on travel arrangements.
5. Time: Less time is spent travelling to and from a classroom location.
6. Review: It is easier to review the content as the materials will be exactly the same when you revisit as they were first time.


1. No teacher: there isn’t a teacher to guide you throughout your studies.
2. Motivation: depending on the sort of person you are, motivation to study at home can be impacted as you have more distractions.
3. Social Interaction: there can be less social interaction with a distance learning course.
4. Time: the time to complete a distance learning qualification may be more as you are doing it alongside your current commitments.



1. Support: there is a teacher present in a classroom course providing you with face to face support.
2. Group study: you can interact with other students, swap tips and ask them for help.
3. Time: generally, because a classroom course has a set schedule, you may find that you finish it quicker than a distance learning course.
4. Understanding: your understanding of the subject may be stronger as you have someone to sit down and go over it with you.


1. Independence: depending on the type of person you are, you may find it patronising having a teacher telling you what to do and may prefer to do independent studies.
2. Travel: you have to travel to the classroom and it may not always be within a suitable distance.
3. Convenience: the set days of study may not be convenient for you due to other commitments.
4. Cost: due to travel and other arrangements, it may cost you quite a bit more money to attend a physical classroom location.

Distance learning would be more advantageous for me as there aren’t many schools or colleges close to my home. I would have to pay for travel arrangements on top of my tuition. I like the independency and convenience also as I work full time.

The type of study you chose should depend on how you work and learn best, convenience and cost.

To conclude, both distance and classroom learning have their pros and cons which should be taken into account before you chose to study a course, whether it is a qualification or a short training course for your CPD.

Blog Credit: This blog is brought to you by Tess Wilkinson of ISL.

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