Is Distance Learning Harder Than Contact Learning?

Distance learning can be fun when done in the right way. On its own, distance learning has a lot of benefits that include cutting costs and flexibility among others.

No, distance learning is not hard at all. The following skills  make distance learning a lot easier for you:

  • Time management skills
  • Technical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork

Managing Time

If you are studying through distance learning, managing your time is a very important aspect of your learning journey. Most of the activities that you will do will be time-sensitive. If you miss deadlines you can get discouraged, that is why you must be able to keep time. 

Here are activities that will need you to manage your time very well:

  • Studying – Make sure that you stick to your study timetable religiously
  • Handing in assignments – Assignments must be handed in on time if you are to succeed as a distance learner
  • Group discussions – If you are a part of an online group and there is a timed presentation, you must make sure that you are part of it so that you do fall behind on academic issues being discussed
  • Exam preparation – You will also need to start preparing for your exams in time. Failing to prepare well is preparing for failure.
  • Exam – last but not least, you should be at the examination centre in time. Be at the venue of the exam at least an hour prior. If you are writing your exam online, make sure your computer is working well a day before the exam. Prepare in time on the day of the exam.

Computer Skills

Remember, distance learning is a form of online learning. This is so because online tools are used to deliver study material to students. It is In this regard you must be familiar with the following aspects of the computer:

  • Computer hardware 
  • Computer software

Computer Hardware

For you to study successfully by distance learning, you must be computer-literate. You must know the basics of how a computer works. If you know the basics of how the computer works, it will be also easier for you to operate it. 

Here are the three important things that you should know about the computer

  • How data is input (Keyboard and other peripherals)
  • How data is processed (Central Processing Unit – CPU)
  • How data is output (Visual Display Unit – VDU)

Computer Software

Computer software enables users to process or use certain functions. You must therefore be familiar with the software or applications that are widely used in distance learning for you to be successful. 

As technology changes every day, you must be able to adapt to the new changes quickly. Here are some of the online tools in distance learning: 

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Whatsapp
  • Telephone
  • VoIP
  • Email

Communication Skills

As you travel through your journey in distance learning, you must have good communication skills both written and oral in order to be successful as a distance learner. The following is important in your communication

  • Speak audibly and clearly
  • Netiquette

Speak Audibly And Clearly

When speaking, you must speak in such a way that the receiver receives your message clearly. This does not mean that you have to shout. Speaking clearly and concisely will put the message across. If action is to be taken, it will be actioned based on how it was received. 

Besides speaking clearly, you must also be a good listener. When you listen carefully, you will be able to follow the instructions given.


Netiquette was so-called because it was derived from the word etiquette. Netiquette refers to good behaviour on the net or online. Here are the best practices when you communicate online: 

  • Be respectful
  • Check your facts before responding or posting
  • Respect other people’s opinions, though you might not agree with them
  • Communicate clearly
  • No slang
  • Use informal words sparingly
  • Spell your word correctly
  • Do not make assumptions

Leadership Skills

There might come a time when you may be asked to make an online presentation on a topic that you may be well familiar with. In this case, you will be the one leading the discussion and answering questions. It is in situations like these that you will grow your leadership. If you succeed the first time, your confidence as a leader will also grow. 

Do not worry if you do not get it right the first time. As you progress you will improve and your confidence levels will also grow.


Are you able to work as a member of a team? Being able to be a member of a team is important in distance learning. You may be asked to be a member of a group in which you may be asked to discuss and present a topic. 

Be active in group activities. Make your contribution. Show your colleagues that you are a valuable member of the group. If you are able to do that, it will be easy for you in a work environment.

Why Is Distance Learning Good For Me?

Here are 5 reasons  why distance learning is good for you:

  1. It is flexible
  2. You can work at the same time as you study
  3. Cut costs
  4. COVID-19 free
  5. You grow your skills

It Is Flexible

Distance learning is flexible. This is because you are able to do the following:

  • Set up your own study timetable
  • Study anywhere that you may want, be it at home, office or the library
  • Study in a space that suits you

You Can Work At The Same Time As You Study

With distance learning, there is no need to quit your work because of your studies. If you are not working and a work opportunity presents itself, you can gladly take it up. All you will need to do is to adjust your study timetable to suit your current situation. 

If you happen to find employment that is along the lines of what you are studying, that will be a big plus for you.

Cut Costs

Here are the costs that you can cut when you study through distance learning:

  • Tuition fees are affordable
  • No transport costs as there are no classes
  • No costs of teas and lunches
  • No textbooks to buy as the college will supply

Covid-19 Free

You can be free from contracting COVID-19 because of the following reasons:

  • If you commute, there will be no mingling with other commuters as you will not be attending any classes
  • There will be no mingling with fellow students and tutors as there are no classes that you will be attending

You Grow Your Skills

As you go through your journey in studying through distance learning, here are some of the skills that you will grow:

  • Time management skills
  • Technical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork

How Do You Pass Distance Learning?

Here are a few tips that can make you pass distance learning:

  • Make sure that you have a study timetable
  • Stick to your timetable religiously
  • Find other sources of information
  • Hand in your assignment in time every time
  • Make sure you get feedback on your assignments
  • Interact with your tutor regularly
  • Ask questions
  • Revise for your exams
  • Get exam tips
  • Writ your exams
  • Pass your exams

What Is Contact Learning?

Contact learning is the direct opposite of distance learning. Here are the characteristics of contact learning:

  • Face to face classes
  • Have to be at the campus
  • Be part of the campus community
  • Have to attend classes
  • Have to commute if there are no boarding facilities
  • Personal communication among students and learners

What Makes A Good Online Teacher?

Here is what makes a  good online teacher:

  • Must have the expertise to teach by distance learning
  • An effective distance learning teacher must have the technical expertise
  • Must have creativity – Delivery lessons using different methods so that do not become boring
  • A distance learning teacher must have a welcoming attitude to his students – This is important as students will not feel intimidated when he/she is approached
  • A distance learning tutor must be there when needed
  • Must be able to provide feedback on time every time a distance learning teacher should be encouraging
  • Last but not least, a distance learning tutors should be passionate about their work

Author: Collin Wilbesi
Editor: Amy Venter
Date Published: May 27, 2022