Is Remote Learning a Good Option for College?

Distance learning is expected to grow. Discover why this can be a good choice for students, with insight from Walsh College.

Remote learning is a popular choice among today’s college students. Researchers tracking trends in distance education found online student enrollment has increased for 14 straight years, with more than 31% of all college students in 2017 taking at least one distance-education class. Those numbers are expected to grow exponentially over the next decade.

Popularity notwithstanding, is the explosive growth of distance learning a good thing?

For many college students, especially those looking for a personalized educational experience that also saves them time and money, the answer is yes. Here are some ways remote learning can be a great choice for many college students.

Flexible schedules

One of the most valuable life lessons students learn in college is how to balance their coursework with the rest of their lives. Institutions offering asynchronous and hybrid classes (combining online and on-ground components) give students the flexibility to listen to lectures and complete coursework when their schedules allow. It’s much easier for college students to focus on school when they’re able to schedule their classes efficiently around their work and personal lives.

Less distraction

Distractions are easy to come by when you’re a student at a residential college. From social friends to up-all-night neighbors, it can be difficult to find a quiet place to study. Remote students often have an easier time finding a quiet place to work. Whether that’s at home or at their favorite coffee shop, it’s a lot easier to concentrate on schoolwork when you can focus interrupted for an extended period of time.

Tailored learning

Some students learn best when they attend lectures in person. Others find in-person classes stressful and distracting. Others still enjoy a blend of both in-person and online lectures. Whether you like to sit in a lecture hall or attend class from your couch, remote learning allows students to tailor their learning environment to their strengths and weaknesses. Institutions that offer a blend of remote and in-person classes provide the ultimate in flexibility for learners of every persuasion.


College can be expensive, especially for students paying room and board on top of tuition. The College Board estimates that students attending residential colleges spend more than $40,000 over four years just to live on campus.

Distance learning allows college students to live at home and save thousands of dollars a year. Remote students who can’t (or won’t) live at home can still save money on housing. Rather than pay top dollar for rentals near campus, they have the flexibility to choose areas with more affordable rents.

Prepared for the workplace

Not long ago, working from home was a relative rarity. Fast forward to 2021 and employees across many industries work full or part time from home. As employers discover the cost savings of a decentralized workforce and employees demand more flexible, home-based work options, more and more people will begin working remotely. College students who are accustomed to distance learning know how to be productive and communicate effectively with a remote team and have experience with the technology and tools used in today’s remote workforce. Being ahead of the curve when it comes to remote work prepares students for the future of business.

Online does not mean alone

Attending college online does not have to be a solitary experience. Look for a school using technology to help students interact with their faculty and classmates in small, connected class settings and offering a full suite of personal services for online and remote students like academic advising, free tutoring, student life and lifetime career services.

The bottom line: remote learning can be a great option for college students, especially when they attend an institution that understands the needs of remote learners and is committed to meeting them.

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