The most prominent benefit of distance education is the convenience it offers. The busy individual, as well as the one who prefers comfort, is well catered for here. Classes can be attended anywhere and at any time. This aspect effectively eliminates much of the stuff that makes education unsustainably costly.
Closely related to convenience is the flexibility that distance education offers. Conventional education has specific location and time demands. Distance learning eliminates these requirements and allows a student to set a pace that suits them. Slow learners and the linguistically challenged (for instance ESL speakers) can, therefore, move at their pace and grasp as much as they can.
The cost factor also comes in quite strongly as a benefit of distance education. Many students miss study abroad chances because they cannot afford travel and accommodation costs. Thanks to distance learning, such costs are no longer an impediment. It also cuts tuition costs by a sizeable margin, making it affordable.
On the cons side, the most prominent factor is the lack of direct contact with instructors and peers. Even with online forums, this problem remains unsolved. The lack of direct contact eliminates question and answer sessions, which are sometimes highly insightful. This aspect makes it suitable only for those who are self-driven.
Another con is that since students conduct their studies wherever they choose, they miss the ambiance provided by the campus atmosphere. Campuses are typically designed to maximize learning and as such, those who study off campus miss out on this benefit.
On top of these challenges, distance education still suffers stigmatization despite its growing popularity. Employers often question the integrity of distance learning. Consequently, those who go through these programs may find the job market quite hostile towards them.
In conclusion, a close look at both the pros and cons of distance education as discussed shows that they are genuine. As such, to draw the full benefits of this approach to education, adjustments need to be made to address the concerns that surround it.