How Do Video Meetings Make Distance Learning a Reality?

The case for distance learning is being made in big and small ways all across the world. Whether it’s an Internet charter experience for a primary school student or getting your degree around a full-time job as an adult, every day, there are more reasons why distance learning may be the future of education. There’s absolutely never been a better time to make this a reality, considering the state of communications technology that’s available on the market today. More companies relying on digital communication methods to cut costs and increase productivity conveniently have put leaned hard on all the advancements that communication has recently seen, perhaps none more so than video conference and meeting possibilities.

Now, companies and locations that offer distance learning are beginning to utilize this cutting edge communication technology for a new and exciting purpose in the distance learning field. Through the use of software packages and hosting like those offered by Blue Jeans, institutions are putting students of all ages right into virtual classrooms via video meeting packages. The technology that makes this possible, hosted over Blue Jeans Network, means students and their instructors can see one another, speak and interact from anywhere in the world.

Diversify the Classroom

It’s an exciting time to be a student whether you’re doing it for the first time or coming back for some higher education. Distance learning has opened the door to creating a truly Global Classroom, putting students from all over the world into one virtual experience to share, communicate and compare notes.

The future is uncertain, but what we do know, is that technology has made possible things that were previously unfathomable. This technology could potentially create opportunities at prestigious universities for those who are unable to travel to attend classes on-site, serving as a double-edged sword. While this is partially a matter of profit for schools and universities, there is also the fact that it becomes an investment into the future. Educators will be able to reach those previously unreachable, and regions with limited education opportunities will suddenly become more well connected. Students who have the skills but lack opportunity will find themselves capable of anything as technology and education move forward.

Through the use of video meeting software, students and instructors no longer need to find common ground to stand on, rather finding shared interests and understanding in cutting edge classrooms that encompass the fullness of the world wide web and include features like file sharing, note taking and recording capabilities, all in the comfort of your own desk and chair.

The Art of Bridging Technology and Learning

One of the greatest innovations in learning as of late has been the introduction of apps, which we now see constantly in distance learning environments, and with good reason. Applications are still being introduced into the physical classroom, but when it comes to distance learning, they are absolutely essential. Not only do they drive the motivation of students, but they also provide a much more efficient learning process as outlined by educator Koen Timmers from Belgium:

“Apps have created new pedagogical approaches. They can replace paper and make learning interactive. They can facilitate learning, promote creativity and motivate students.
For instance: 14 years ago I studied Biology. We needed to use extensive books to identify leaves…people determined the name of a tree and leafs by using huge books. The description of a leaf would take you from 3 to 90 pages.”

These benefits are certainly not to be overlooked and as we move forward into a brand new generation of technology and new learning potential, those who do not embrace distance learning and educational apps are certain to be left behind. That being said, this is a lot to take in, and it is something that we need to move on.

Broaden Horizons

Another aspect of why video meeting technology is so important to the distance learning movement is cost. Up front and long term, maintaining a physical location complete with all the required technology and updated often enough to stay connected to current technological initiatives costs a fortune every year. Technology might be getting more affordable for the individual, but the budget to maintain enough to fill the classes in certain subjects may not be able to keep feasibly up with the demand.

Video communication software and the hardware that runs isn’t exceptionally expensive. In fact, video meetings can be held on most mobile devices today. Approximately 6 billion people worldwide have access to cell phones, and many of those are capable of taking advantage of video calls and conferencing.

Bridging the Gap

Video meetings and, indeed, any kind of digital communication have helped to make distance learning a reality because they’ve bridged the gap between information and the people that need it, eliminating such stumbling blocks as cost, travel and even lack of portability. The first “cyber schools” began taking advantage of this method of disseminating information over a decade ago and through use, problems have been found, addressed and moved on from and the needs of consumers and teachers alike have begun to play a role in where people can learn and when and how they can do it.

In the same way that video meetings and conference software invigorates and refines an office environment to be more efficient and functional, so too does it carry those benefits into the digital classroom. Video meeting technology brings a classroom together through communication, both verbal and physical and builds it from the needs of the students that are part of the experience. Paired with feature-rich packages that allow file sharing, multipoint connections, and the option to multitask and interact naturally, distance learning has become a commonplace reality rather than a wishful fantasy.

Distance learning is also a great help in the area of learning disabilities and catering to the disabled who might otherwise not have a chance to take advantage of learning opportunities. Dale Brown, Senior Manager of, had this to say regarding individuals living with learning disabilities:

“Many people with learning disabilities have processing challenges that affect their ability to hear or see accurately. One of the biggest advantages of online learning, for students with learning disabilities at least, is that they can go over material on a website as many times as they want to get it straight in their minds.”

It is now understood and widely accepted that we do not have to leave anyone behind when it comes to education both higher and lower. Technology has finally made it possible for educators to manifest themselves in multiple places at once, and improve infrastructure has made the technology more widely available whereas it was once prohibitively expensive or simply unfeasible to provide it to every student everywhere.

In Conclusion

Video meeting software promotes collaboration and improves communication of users over great distances. For those reasons alone, this technology is helping to make distance learning a reality rather than wishful thinking. But those aren’t the only things that this technology is bringing to the table in terms of promoting education from afar. Hosted packages from companies like Blue Jeans offer valuable features, controls and easy setup, hardly requiring any knowledge of the technology itself to use and participate in meetings no matter where you are. This powerhouse of technology is paving the way to a world where distance is no longer a barrier, no matter what you need to do.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.