United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

Here is a little backgrounder on the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

As women evolve from being housewives to working moms, even materials, media source, publications and most conventional things have also evolved from simplicity to high technology. People seem to prefer the liberated form or approach.

For instance, we hardly see anyone reading a book now because most people prefer e-books and just love hanging around at a café with their laptops or tablets.Who said you need to wake up early to go to the office and spend 9 boring hours to finish your deliverable for a salary that doesn’t cover all your expenses? There are online jobs that pay more than an average employee could earn per day and you get to work from the comfort of your home with even a flexible schedule! Or why do you need to go to the movies and get in the line with a bunch of people and pay to watch the movie you’ve been waiting for if you can easily download that through the internet?

The point is we now have enhanced technology to experience life differently and more conveniently. If you can watch movies online, work online, shop online, transfer funds online, pay bills online and so on and so forth…you can definitely learn online and even get a diploma!

There are e-learning sites that offer education by using advanced technology and approach but the first non-profit association that promotes the development and application of distance learning is the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Its mission is, “To serve the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity”. USDLA President, Rob Robinson quoted, “USDLA represents the breadth of the distance learning activities and constituencies from K-12 to higher education, government, military, corporate, or “telehealth”.

Since 1987 when USDLA was formed and based in Boston, Massachusetts, there has been a swift evolution of distance learning and its applications. It covers all technologies and encourages the quest of life learning for everyone, from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, higher education, home school, continuing education, training (corporate training, military and government training) and even telemedicine. The technology that USDLA offers has many options in terms of receiving and delivering education over a distance. Although it is a fact that there is no personal-engagement between a teacher and a student as opposed to conventional teaching, strategies based on computer applications have been observed to be more effective.

It sounds good to be true that one can earn a diploma or undergo training from the comfort of one’s own home! But before deciding to apply for USDLA, there are a lot of things to consider. There are more pros to it and just a few drawbacks. Considering the fact that I was a nobody at school, an average-student who didn’t have much confidence to step up and be noticed due to physical insecurities, I would’ve enrolled to USDLA or any e-learning school rather than attend a conventional education where kids are prone to different types of criticism. In any traditional school you’ll encounter different groups of people like the popular ones, the geeks, the rockers, the rebels, the bullies and the average ones. For most, appearances matter so the fat ones normally get an automatic ridicule. Bad memories brought up by a not-so-happy schooling experience in a traditional school would never be an issue with USDLA. I could cite a lot of advantages here and this article would be never-ending. Learning and working in your own comfort zone, no transportation issues, pacing would depend on you and you can make your own schedule.

I would love to research more on its physical side of learning and social involvement because these are the only 2 things I’m worried about.  Lack of physical activities may cause obesity and lack of interaction with the teacher/instructor and other learners isn’t a good factor.  Other than these two, I would’ve enrolled in this program years back and learned more than I should’ve learned.

For more information regarding USDLA, the official website is www.usdla.org. You can also become a member, join an email list group, be a sponsor and check the Timeline & Evolution of Distance Learning in the U.S. A few of the current USDLA sponsors include AT&T, Verizon, Polycom, Adobe, Brainshark, IntroNetworks, Cisco and a lot more renowned companies.