Distance Learning in the Philippines: Is It the Best Method for Your Child?

Published: September 2, 2021 | Updated: September 8, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Lifestyle


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Together with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Venezuela, the Philippines is one of the five countries in the world that haven’t resumed in-person classes due to the pandemic.[1] This is why UNICEF is advocating for the reopening of schools for the sake of the 27 million Filipino students affected by classroom closures.

The demand for a more flexible learning opportunity has increased, and distance learning in the Philippines has been the top option for the country’s education system to continue. Schools have shifted to a remote learning method where students don’t need to attend lectures and can study at their own pace. 

Learn more about distance learning in the Philippines, its pros and cons, and the available resources so that your child can maximize its benefits.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning is a learning method where the teacher and student are separated geographically.[2] There’s no interaction between students and little face-to-face interaction between students and their teachers.

In a distance learning setup, students may get their learning materials via snail mail, e-mail, or the internet. Learning assessments can be in the form of written exams or assignments, performance tasks, or portfolios. Students can also ask for support through the telephone, snail mail, e-mail, or instant messaging applications used by their teachers.

Also known as correspondence education, distance learning originally targeted non-traditional learners such as full-time employees or those who couldn’t physically attend a classroom lecture. But because of the growing demand for alternative learning arrangements, distance education now caters to almost every type of student.

Distance Learning vs Online Learning vs Homeschooling

distance learning in the Philippines - distance learning vs online learning vs homeschooling

Most people may think that distance learning and online learning are the same. While it’s an understandable confusion, there’s a difference.

Distance learning is the “traditional” self-study course.[4] Teachers mail learning resources or students may get them online. Students also have to complete the learning tasks based on the schedules assigned. While students and teachers can use the internet as a medium to receive and submit assignments, they don’t interact via online lectures or online forums to discuss the learning materials.

On the other hand, online learning heavily uses the internet as a tool for education. There’s a physical distance between students and teachers, but they can interact during virtual lectures and other online assessments. Classes are often scheduled at a specific time, with students needing to be online to attend the virtual lecture. In this setup, students can also discuss the lecture or ask questions to their teachers in real-time. Additionally, they can interact with fellow students via online platforms. 

Homeschooling may sound almost the same as distance and online learning, but it’s actually a lot different. In other countries, homeschooling provides parents the opportunity to take full responsibility for their child’s learning journey. Although guided by an accredited school, parents can take part in developing the curriculum that suits their child’s needs. 

Main Differences of Distance Learning, Online Learning, and Homeschooling

You may have read a lot of ​​articles about online classes in the Philippines, but you’re still confused about what makes them different from distance learning and homeschooling. So here are three main differences to take note of. 

1. Location

Distance learning and online learning mainly differ in terms of location. In distance learning, the teacher and the learner are physically apart from each other due to location. 

On the other hand, both the learner and the educator can be physically near each other with online learning. For example, there can be online learning even when the teacher and the student are inside the classroom at the same time. 

Homeschooling is like distance learning. The only difference is that parents are involved in the assessment and development of lessons, which gives them the responsibility to interact with teachers once in a while. 

2. Interaction

Online learning is part of a blended learning technique[3] that uses both digital and traditional modes of classroom interaction. 

On the other hand, distance learning and homeschooling don’t require physical interaction. The teacher and the learner interact through virtual communication platforms. 

3. Intention

Distance learning and homeschooling are not variations of teaching styles. They are in place to provide virtual or digital teaching-and-learning interaction.

Online learning is conducted to provide different learning methods for different kinds of learners. 

FeaturesDistance LearningOnline LearningHomeschooling
Parents need to actively help students in accomplishing their school tasks at home.NoNoYes
Students are required to attend in-school classes once in a while.NoYesNo
Students learn through modules alone.YesNoYes
Students and teachers never interact physically.YesNoYes
Parents provide gadgets and tools.YesNoNo
The teacher is the main educator.YesYesNo
It uses traditional teaching methods.NoYesNo
It takes place only at home.YesNoYes
It can take place inside the classroom.NoYesNo

Read more: Schools with Highest Tuition Fee in the Philippines

Which Learning Method is the Best for My Child? 

Deciding which learning method is best for your child can be a challenge for parents. For one, you’re not only considering the costs of education but also the health risks of the current pandemic.

Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision regarding your child’s learning journey. 

Choose distance learning if you:

  • Prefer no in-classroom interactions
  • Want the teacher to take the full responsibility of educating your kids
  • Want to monitor your child’s learning routine regularly

You can also choose distance learning if your child:

  • Cannot physically attend classroom meetings
  • Will not require laboratory or school equipment use or physical interaction with classmates

Choose online learning if you:

  • Want your child to experience in-classroom interaction
  • Prefer a mix of digital and traditional modes of teaching
  • Want blended learning techniques instead of learning solely through paper modules

Choose to homeschool if you:

  • Have the time and commitment to be your child’s primary teacher
  • Want to take part in developing your child’s curriculum or learning areas
  • Don’t want your child to attend in-classroom discussions

Read more: 10 Educational Plans in the Philippines Every Parent Should Consider

Distance Learning Programs in the Philippines

Most distance learning courses in the Philippines often cater to learners wanting to get a degree but can’t physically attend classroom lectures.

Some of the institutions offering distance learning programs include the following:

  • AMA Online University
  • Asian Institute for Distance Education
  • Benguet State University
  • CAP College Foundation, Inc.
  • New Era University
  • Philippines Women University
  • Polytechnic University of the Philippines Open University System
  • Southville School and Colleges
  • University of the Philippines Open University
  • Visayas State University

Related article: College Scholarships in the Philippines Parents and Students Should Know

The Department of Education (DepEd) also created an internet-based education program (iDEP) and Open High School Program (OHSP) in 2011.[5] These programs made distance learning possible for high school students who want to study at their own pace without attending a traditional classroom.

iDEP offers formal secondary education for high school students using internet-based technologies. Classes are conducted and managed online. Meanwhile, OHSP provides learning opportunities for students wanting to complete secondary education in a purely distance-learning mode.

The following schools offer iDEP:

  • Baguio City National High School
  • Florencio Urot Memorial
  • National High School—Cebu City
  • National High School—Davao City

OHSP is offered in the following schools in Metro Manila:

  • Benigno Aquino National High School—Makati
  • Commonwealth High School
  • Gregorio Perfecto National High School
  • Quezon City National High School
  • Lagro National High School (Quezon City
  • Malabon National High School
  • Marikina National High School
  • Ramon Magsaysay High School—Cubao
  • Rizal High School – Main
  • Tinajeros National High School—Malabon

Aside from these schools offering iDEP and OHSP, there are distance learning programs for high school students offered by private academic institutions such as the following:

  • AMA Online Senior High School
  • Catholic Filipino Academy
  • Harvest Christian International
  • Treston International College

Related articles: 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning in the Philippines

distance learning in the Philippines - Distance Learning Advantages and Disadvantages

Distance learning may not be for everyone, especially for learners who like routines and schedules. To further understand if distance learning may work for you, look at these pros and cons of new normal in education.

Advantages of Distance Learning in the Philippines

  • Flexible. Since a distance learning course is a self-study, it offers flexibility in terms of location. You can study your materials anywhere as long as you get to submit your assessments on the agreed dates.
  • Saves time. Distance learning can also save you time. Once you’re finished for the day, you can do other errands or hobbies you have. You also don’t have to travel and be stuck in traffic to attend classroom lectures.
  • Cheaper. Distance learning programs offered by public schools are often free or come with only minimal fees. Programs offered by private institutions may also be cheaper than their traditional counterparts.
  • Self-paced. Different people learn in different ways. You can learn at your own pace with distance education. If there are lessons you find a bit hard to understand, you can spend as much time as you want to study them.

Disadvantages of Distance Learning in the Philippines

  • Minimal social interaction. Distance learning offers little interaction between students and teachers. Fellow students may also not be able to communicate at all.
  • Little support. Since this approach relies heavily on the student’s ability to study on his or her own, it’s challenging to find additional resources for the assessments independently.
  • Accessibility may be a problem. Not everyone has gadgets or internet access. You may also find it difficult to get the materials for the courses if you live in a remote area.
  • Requires self-motivation. You may have a hard time finishing your assessments and study materials if you’re the type of person who needs an extra push to work. It’s also easy to be distracted as your learning environment is not as controlled as that of a classroom.
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Distance Learning Tools and Resources

Aside from self-motivation, you may need support to fully maximize your distance learning (or teaching) experience. Here are a few tools and resources that can help:

ABRA

Website: literacy.concordia.ca/en

The platform offers a selection of game-like activities in English (and French!) for early learners, promoting reading comprehension enhancement.

Adarna House’s Eskuwelaro

Website: www.youtube.com/user/adarnahouse

Adarna and Raya School collaborated to bring storytelling and singing sessions for young learners. The videos are posted on Adarna’s YouTube page.

AHA! Learning Center

Website: www.facebook.com/ahalearning

Resources via AHA! are free for most Filipinos. You can get modules on creative writing, devotions, and wellness via Google Docs or Facebook Messenger.

Aperture Education

Website: info.apertureed.com/archived-resources

This platform offers free resources in social learning (SEL) growth strategies for parents and teachers. The materials also cover support for continued learning.

BrainPop

Website: www.brainpop.com

BrainPop encourages teachers and students to be more involved in the learning process. It offers free access to resources in Math, Science, Humanity, English, and more.

Cell Ed

Website: www.cell-ed.com

Cell-Ed is an online platform focusing on learner-centered and skills-based education. It offers offline options for students of the courses.

Common Sense Education

Website: www.commonsense.org

The non-profit organization offers tools and resources supporting school closures. It also offers tips on transitioning to online and at-home learning for teachers and parents.

DepEd Commons

distance learning in the Philippines - DepEd Commons

Website: commons.deped.gov.ph

This educational platform is created to support distance learning in the Philippines. You can access online review materials and lessons on the website. You can browse DepEd Commons without additional data charges if you’re a Globe or TM subscriber.

Discovery Education

Website: www.discoveryeducation.com

Discovery Channel’s online platform offers resources on science, history, and current events. It also provides ready-to-use digital lessons and learning resources for educators.

Knowledge Channel

Website: www.youtube.com/user/knowledgechannelorg/videos

The channel launched its Stay at Home, Learn at Home program with DepEd’ssupport. You can watch episodes and segments of shows like Sineskwela and ATBP through TV Plus Go, ABS-CBN TV Plus 7, and Sky Cable channel 5. Some episodes are also up on their YouTube channel.

National Library of the Philippines Online

Website: web.nlp.gov.ph

The country’s national library offers free online access to various scholarly titles covering different fields. You can access library information and science abstracts through the website.

Peardeck

Website: www.peardeck.com

If you’re a teacher, you can use this online platform to create more engaging learning content for your students. It offers various features that can make your instructional materials a little bit more interactive.

Philippine E-Journals

Website: ejournals.ph

Philippine E-Journals provides scholarly articles and papers in various disciplines. You can easily locate abstracts and related articles using the website’s database.

Robert Alejandro

Website: www.facebook.com/kuya.robert

You can learn art through Facebook by tuning in to Robert Alejandro’s live art sessions  The former Art is Cool host offers tutorials for both kids and adults.

Scholastics

Website: classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

The publishing company launched a free online resource for students, parents, and teachers. You can get various materials for reading lessons on the platform.

DepEd Commons and Distance Learning in the New Normal

Distance learning has become more valuable during this pandemic, with teachers adjusting lessons and assessments to become more distance learning-friendly. Students, on the other hand, try their hardest to continue their education during a time of uncertainty. 

The need for distance learning grows as the country continues to fight the outbreak. To address this, the DepEd has implemented a more robust remote learning approach for schools in the Philippines.[6]

The DepEd says that the lack of access to technology should not be a problem as schools provide printed materials for students. Schools can also use these three methods of distance learning:

  1. For students without gadgets or internet access, printed modules will be delivered or picked up by their parents at designated areas during agreed schedules;
  2. DepEd Commons will be used for students with internet access. This online education platform is developed to support alternative methods of learning; and
  3. Radio and television will be used to deliver lessons. Radio-based instruction will use self-paced modules or printed materials converted into radio script.

Homeschooling may be another learning method to be used. Through homeschool, students will still access basic education. This method will be facilitated by qualified parents, tutors, or guardians. However, the policy for this is still under review.

Tips to Help Children Succeed in Distance Learning

Distance learning may be challenging, but you can help your child succeed at it, and even enjoy it, if you do the following.

1. Provide a Dedicated Space for Learning

Work-from-home parents need a home office set up. Children should also have a dedicated space for learning. A quiet learning station for kids can help avoid distractions and help them focus on their current tasks. 

2. Stay in Touch with Their Teachers

Parents should find time to reach out to their kids’ teachers for follow-ups and progress updates. If you have a toddler, you may require more frequent communication with their teachers. 

3. Be Mindful of Your Child’s Stress Levels

Remember that your child is experiencing stress, too. The lack of time to play outdoors or be with classmates and friends physically contributes to your child’s stress or anxiety. Help them by breaking down their tasks and letting them set priorities. This is one way parents can reduce the negative impact of distance learning on students in the Philippines.

4. Monitor the Time Your Children Spend Online

Although kids study at their own pace, you should also set the limit on their time spent online.  The ideal screen time for children[7] is summarized below: 

  • Below 2 years old 0 hours (including TV, electronic media, DVDs, computers and electronic games)
  • 2 to 5 years old less than one hour (homework not included)
  • 5 to 17 years old – less than two hours (homework not included)

Although these are the ideal screen times recommended by experts, parents still have the discretion to control their children’s time online. Depending on their needs, grade level, and activities, you can take charge of your children’s school-life balance. 

5. Establish a Routine

Regardless of your child’s distance learning schedule, you should establish a routine for them. Make sure they get enough sleep, eat their meals on time, and engage in physical activities. 

6. Be Part of the Learning Process

Although distance learning may not require parental involvement, make sure you’re still a part of your child’s learning journey. Distance learning in the Philippines is something new for everyone, and your involvement and interest can help your child easily adapt to it. 

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly increased the need for distance learning. This setup offers little to no interaction between teachers and students. It’s sometimes confused with online learning, which uses the internet for virtual lectures, real-time assessments, and student-teacher interaction. Distance learning isn’t new, but for most teachers and students, it’s still quite an adjustment.

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