What are the Benefits of Distance Education?

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By Mel Griffith, Curriculum Coordinator at Faith

1. Why Distance Education?

Distance Education, though on the surface appears to be quite contemporary, with all the technological platforms and online learning, is in fact not a modern concept at all. From the humble beginnings of the ‘School of the Air’ to the more sophisticated online learning systems, Distance Education has evolved a lot over 50 years, but one thing has remained the same, Distance Education offers students an excellent alternative to regular schooling. 

The first ‘School of the Air’ was founded in Alice Springs in 1951 as an extension of the Royal Flying Doctors Service created by John Flynn. Originally designed to offer education by correspondence to children living in remote communities, students often accessed their learning through teachers broadcasting curriculum via the radio. With the advent of information communication technologies in the 2000s, Distance Education moved to online forms like email, webcasting, live chats, and video recording. The ability to allow students to learn at their own pace drew students from more rural and metropolitan areas to their student-centered model of learning. Parents have a more active role as facilitators while Distance Education schools like Faith Christian School offer rigorous, engaging and dynamic curricula to their students while maintaining a high level of pastoral care.

“Distance Education allows parents to speed up or slow down any element of their child’s education in order to develop the whole child.”

2. Benefits of Distance Education

Though not the same as home schooling, Distance Education offers the unique ability for parents to play a more active role in their child’s learning. After all, who knows a child best if not their parent? Parents become a partner in their child’s learning and can modify and adapt lessons to engage their child’s interests and preferences. In education circles, this is called variability. Learner variability is the recognition that an individual student is different from day to day, from minute to minute. Individual students might need different support throughout the day. If you think about it,  no one person is able to work to their highest capacity every moment of every day. Understanding the learner’s variability means you are able to create conditions that will allow them to be successful and those conditions are always changing. One day your child may be able to speed through two or three Maths concepts in one lesson yet on another they may want to discuss deeper elements of their spiritual life. Distance Education allows the parent facilitator to listen to the needs of the learner and respond accordingly. Where mainstream education is structured around timetables and bells, Distance Education allows parents to speed up or slow down any element of their child’s education in order to develop the whole child.

Being able to tailor the learning experience of your child is just one of the benefits of Distance Education along with flexibility, and affordability in a safe, family-centred environment. Distance Education allows students’ well-being to be considered as highly as the academic outcome of their time at school. Remember, education is not just for the ages 4-17; at Faith Christian School, we educate for eternity.

And finally, a reminder from Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Melanie Griffith

About the Author

As a 3-6 Curriculum Coordinator and P-6 HASS Curriculum Writer, Mel oversees and writes curriculum with a Biblical worldview using the ACARA national curriculum standards for a Distance Education context. Prior to working at Faith, Mel worked at an International Baccalaureate school and was also the Science and Humanities Curriculum Leader at Emmanuel College on the Gold Coast. Her passion is for high-quality education that is student-centered, relevant and God honoring. Mel loves to travel and is always trying to take her two young children on adventures abroad and at home.

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