Distance Learning Programs: Have Employers' Perception Changed?

Distance Learning Programs: Has Employers’ Perception Changed? 

The Internet has made information democratic and education more accessible with the extensive range of online learning portals and professional courses. The pandemic has only strengthened the market for distance learning programs. What was formerly considered a backup option for people unable to enrol in prestigious colleges or accredited institutes is now the rule rather than the exception. Many professionals and students choose distance education due to its various possibilities. But is it sufficient to launch your career on the right track?

For a recruiter, a candidate’s aptitude, skills and talent are as important a consideration as their qualifications and the institute behind them. While some colleges and universities use hybrid learning, a mix of traditional classroom and online learning, others offer fully online programs where students and teachers interact virtually.

Distance Learning Degrees: Shifting Attitudes & Perspectives 

Earlier, recruiters would not give enough ‘credit’ to distance education degree, as it was gained via a non-conventional medium of education. But this perception changed significantly as recruiters realised that students who learn online or in ODL mode have a solid motivation to further their skills while working full-time and juggling jobs and personal commitments.

What Fuels This Perception?

Distance Learning Programs Have Employers' Perception Changed

Employers are now seeing the promise distance programs offer compared to what they did in the past. 

  • Enrolment in a distance learning program demonstrates that you have the dedication to complete your studies, regardless of where you are and what you’re up to. This exhibits the qualities required in today’s workforce.
  • Earning a professional qualification via a distant learning mode is convenient, as you can earn your qualifications while working full-time. You don’t have to quit your job to return to school and can continue financially supporting yourself and your family.
  • When you earn your degree from a reputable university, it does not matter whether you completed your higher studies in ODL mode or a traditional manner.  
  • Employers see value in hiring employees with distance degrees who have proven they can work independently, multi-task, adjust to shifting work environments and are self-motivated. 

What Are Employers Looking For? 

Modern businesses look for many of the abilities in their teams taught in an ODL program. Among these skills are critical thinking, self-motivation, independence, communication, and networking. 

A certification earned through a distance learning program also certifies your experience and proficiency in working on digital platforms, which many businesses are adopting today. When working on your resume, mark out the program’s top two or three outcomes that you believe are most significant for the industry you wish to enter. Remember to include information about practical, hands-on experiences like co-ops or Capstone projects. 

According to the co-founder of Board Infinity (a job search platform), Sumesh Nair, head hunters consider professionals with distance education certification more hardworking, motivated and proficient. He emphasises that such candidates are unlikely to need further training soon. Future employers see them as people who can think critically, keep themselves updated, and overcome difficulties through their self-paced and self-motivated learning styles.  

In a recent circular, the UGC re-iterated the equivalence of the degree obtained through distant learning modes with conventional learning modes. Today, more and more students and professionals are looking towards distance education programs to improve their employability. 

Job-ready individuals are the need of the hour, and creating a high-quality curriculum for distance learning programs is critical. Expressing his observation on the industries’ expectations from job aspirants, Bhushan Patwardhan, vice chairman of the University Grants Commission, said, “Industries are no longer interested in vanilla degrees, as they want professionals with relevant skills and knowledge. The online curriculum will have to be of high quality to make the students job-ready.”

In conclusion, distance learning programs are just as valuable as traditional degrees and, in some situations, may even be more so. If you are considering studying further or wondering how to get out of a professional rut, NMIMS Global’s professional programs could be the one you are looking for.

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