Continuing Education vs Distance Education
When it comes to educational terms, knowing the difference between Continuing Education and Distance Education can be of use. The term Continuing Education stands for education that gives further knowledge, skills, or practice in more practical subject matters related to working environments for adults. Distance Education, on the other hand, stands for education that does not require physical presence in a particular classroom setting and this too is primarily intended for adult students. There are continuing education courses that use distance education as a mode of delivering certain sections of the course content. Even though, the majority of continuing education courses cover skills and knowledge for professional development of the participants they are not conducted fully as distant learning courses.
What is Continuing Education?
The term Continuing Education is widely used in the USA and Canada. In the UK and Ireland, this is known as Further Education. The target group of this mode of learning is adults with some educational qualification as mentioned above. The continuing education courses are not necessarily degree courses or are always offered by a university. They can even be skills development courses/workshops/seminars that help to be more effective in a certain work line, for example, technological skills needed in an office environment. These courses can often include soft skills development, leadership training or can even aim at a specific set of skills like secretarial skills. Thus, one of the key features of this type is, learning that is set in an acute context, which is most of the time related to professional development. Most of the continuing education courses require physical presence in a particular setting at least necessarily for some course units.
What is Distance Education?
This was first introduced by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s. Distance Education does not require the physical presence of the learner in a particular setting. This too is intended for adults since they are self-directed and are responsible for their own learning compared to young learners. Most of the courses of this category use posting and more widely mailing of materials to its participants. With the increasing involvement of technology in education the use of webinars, Skype sessions, and recorded video presentations have also become channels in delivering the course content. Some distance learning courses require presence of the participant in the original setting for evaluation, exams. Distance learning courses are, usually, comprised of theoretical knowledge of a certain discipline, e.g.English Literature rather than skills development that is more activity oriented.
What is the difference between Continuing Education and Distance Education?
• Overall, both these modes of learning are intended for adult learners.
• The term Continuing Education stands for education that gives further knowledge, skills or practice in more practical subject matters related to working environments for adults.
• Distance Education, on the other hand, stands for education that does not require physical presence in a particular classroom setting and this too is primarily intended for adult students.
• Even though, some continuing education courses use distance learning methods for certain units of the course/program they are not conducted completely in the distance learning format. It is because majority of continuing education are skills-oriented and, as a result, can be activity based.
• Distance learning courses, on the contrary, are more to do with theory than practical skills. With the increasing involvement of the technology, distance learning has become more effective than it was before.
In conclusion, learning contexts that are oriented according to different professions and skills are what demarcate continuing education from distance education largely.