Difference Between Distance Education & Correspondence Education

“Distance learning” and “correspondence learning” are the terms that are frequently used analogously to relate a kind of education that is done mainly at student’s place with the help of study material provided by post, email or via any other means of the Internet. However, there are some differences between the two and get you aware of the differences between distance & correspondence education is the main purpose of this post. Read on to know more.

Historical Background

Correspondence education is considered as the earliest form of distance education, in which the study material was supplied primarily by post. Correspondence education was developed in the mid 1800s in European countries like the United Kingdom, Germany & France. As in the mid-1840s, Sir Issac Pitman, an English educator, founded Sir Isaac Pitman’s Correspondence Colleges in England. In the United States, correspondence education began in 1873, as Anna Ticknow established a society to provide correspondence education for women. In fact, correspondence education was raised due to the need to study at home. And today, the more technical form of correspondence education is called as distance education. Let us make it more clear by going through the next pointer.

Delivery Methods

Correspondence education employs older methods to supply study material, such as by post or via emails and hence the communication flow is slow, top-down, one-way and not student-centered. On the other hand, today’s distance education takes advantage of the latest technologies and the information is delivered in no time through audio & video recordings and live chats in the virtual classrooms. And hence the communication flow is faster, both-ways and student-centered.

Interaction Factor

Today’s distance education is far more interactive than that of correspondence education. Instructor and student can have a direct face-to-face interaction using new technologies such as live chats in virtual classrooms. Also, today’s online education involves lots of interactive technologies like discussion boards, smartphone applications, instant messaging, video conferences and regular assignments etc. which provide student-student & instructor-student interactions. While on the other hand, the interaction level is quite limited in correspondence education as the only means are posts or electronic mails.

Flexibility Factor

Both distance & correspondence learning, offer a good extent of flexibility & convenience to the students as they do not need to rush to schools and attend physical classes. However, of the two, correspondence education allows more flexibility due to its self-paced learning system. But students, in this case, need to be more self-motivated and self-disciplined as there are hard and fast deadlines in correspondence education. Furthermore, in the case of distance learning, there are deadlines for assignments, attending real-time live chats and participating in discussion boards. And hence, distance education is not as flexible as correspondence education.

Various Names

As there are many definitions for these both terms, there are a lot of names too. The older correspondence is sometimes referred to as Correspondence Courses, Extension Courses, Extended Studies, Home Study, External Studies, Self-paced studies, Independent studies, Distance Learning, etc. Similarly, today’s distance education is also called as Cyber Education, Online Education, Virtual Education, Technology-supported Education, Hybrid Education, E-learning, Web-based Education, etc.

Hope this post will clear your dilemma between correspondence education and distance education. And will help you choose the right choice according to your needs.

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