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Different Types of Learning

Learning is truly a lifelong experience that offers many benefits. It can work to enrich your work life and social life, and can offer you great personal enjoyment and a sense of purpose. If you have been considering heading back to the classroom for some more education, you might first want to take into consideration the different types of learning experiences that are now available. Education isn’t just about traditional classroom learning anymore. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of classroom settings available to students of all ages.

Traditional Learning
Traditional learning is what we are all most familiar with. It is how most of learned in elementary and secondary school, and this type of learning is still used by most colleges and universities. Traditional learning usually awards credits based on student performance, which is measured through assignments, tests, and exams. These credits can then be put towards a certificate, diploma, or degree, which is to be completed later on. Traditional schools offer a number of different courses, which can satisfy any learner’s needs.

Traditional learning typically takes place in an identifiable classroom space, usually in a school or in an institution dedicated to learning. A traditional classroom usually has a number of specific features, including:


  • an instructor who delivers information to students
  • a number of students who are all physically present in the classroom and regularly meet at a specific time
  • student participation in lectures and discussions


Many learners favor traditional learning while others find that it is more restrictive and lacks flexibility. If you enjoy learning directly from an instructor and surrounded by classmates, you may enjoy continuing your education through traditional learning.

Distance Learning
Distance learning is also a very popular choice for students who want to complete or continue their education. Distance learning involves an exchange of information over a distinct physical space. If you choose to engage in distance learning, you will learn from someone who is not located in a classroom with you. Instead, this person could be located miles away, or even in another country. Distance learning courses are becoming more and more popular and are quite varied. You can choose to complete single courses, or entire degree programs through distance learning.

There are a number of different ways to complete distance learning programs. The most popular are:


  • online learning, in which you learn over the internet
  • print learning, in which materials are sent to you through the mail or by fax
  • video conferencing, in which you communicate with instructors and students through video presentations


Distance education is very beneficial for those students who are unable to attend regular classroom courses. If you have a very busy schedule, if you are taking care of a family, or if you are ill or disabled, distance learning may be a great option for you.

Online Learning
Online learning is quickly becoming one of the most popular options when it comes to continuing your education. Also known as e-learning, online learning involves learning materials over the computer, with the help of the internet. In an online course, there is no physical classroom. Instead, all assignments, tests, and exams are completed over the computer. Many secondary schools as well as colleges and universities, now offer online degrees.

Online learning courses include:


  • online tutorials and online class notes
  • chat rooms in which you can discuss class materials with fellow classmates
  • online audio and visual materials
  • online testing


Many learners enjoy the opportunities that online learning provides. It offers you the ability to learn at your own pace and according to your schedule. It also enables you to learn in the comfort of you own home.

Night School
Night school has long been an option for those seeking to continue with their education. Night school is a form of traditional learning because it takes place in a physical classroom with an instructor that delivers all course materials. But unlike most traditional education, night school only takes place in the evenings on designated days of the week. Night school is often offered by secondary schools to help students complete their high school diplomas. It is also a feature of many college and university schedules.

Night school can be very beneficial for those who want to complete courses at a relatively fast pace. Night school semesters are typically shorter than those held by traditional day schools as classes may be held more frequently and for longer durations each session. Night school also offers students the chance for more personal instruction because enrolment tends to be lower than for traditional day learning programs.

General Interest Learning
General interest learning is very popular with students of all ages. General interest learning allows you to complete a course or program just for your own personal satisfaction. General interest courses are not usually credit courses, which means that they cannot be applied to a current or future certificate or degree. General interest courses can take place almost anywhere, from a traditional classroom to a community center or recreation center.

Popular general interest courses include:


  • foreign languages
  • pilates, yoga, meditation or some other type of fitness
  • computer programming and software applications
  • art classes, including drawing, painting and pottery


If you are interested in learning simply in order to obtain new knowledge or make use of some spare time, general interest courses may be perfect for you. They can provide you with some fundamental skills, which are often very helpful if you choose to learn for credit at some point in the future.


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