Let’s explore the benefits of using printed materials in distance learning and online education in more depth.
First and foremost, printed materials offer a tangible and tactile experience that digital materials simply cannot replicate. When students have physical copies of their textbooks, workbooks, and study guides, they can physically interact with the material, which can aid in the comprehension and retention of information. This is because the act of holding a book or flipping through its pages can stimulate multiple senses and create a more immersive learning experience. Studies have shown that students who read printed materials retain more information than those who read digital materials.
Furthermore, the use of printed materials can help reduce eye strain and fatigue, which is a common issue for individuals who spend a lot of time looking at screens. According to a study by Ophthalmic Physiol Opt as cited by hrnews.co.uk, 77% of UK adults say that their eyes feel strained after a long period of time using electronic devices. Furthermore, the American Optometric Association believe digital eye strain affects up to 90% of people who use electronic devices for more than two hours per day. Printed materials offer a respite from this constant screen time, allowing students to engage with their coursework in a more comfortable and sustainable way.
Printed materials also offer the ability to take notes and highlight important information directly on the material, which can be beneficial for reviewing and studying. While digital tools like highlighting and note-taking apps can be useful, they can also be distracting and may not offer the same level of customisation as physical materials. With printed materials, students can use their own pens, pencils, and highlighters to create a personalized study guide that suits their learning style.
Another advantage of using printed materials in distance learning and online education is that they can be accessed anytime and anywhere, regardless of internet connectivity or device compatibility. This is especially important for students who may not have reliable access to the internet or have older devices that may not support the latest digital technologies. With printed materials, students can study on their own schedule and without worrying about technical difficulties or connectivity issues. Printed materials can also provide a sense of structure and organization for students. When all materials are available in a physical format, students can easily reference and review their coursework without having to navigate multiple online platforms or applications. This can help reduce stress and confusion for students, allowing them to focus more on their learning. Additionally, physical materials can be easier to navigate for students who may struggle with digital interfaces or who prefer a more linear, sequential approach to their studies.
Finally, the use of printed materials can be a cost-effective solution for both students and educators. While digital materials may seem cheaper initially, the cost of devices and internet access can quickly add up. Additionally, printed materials can be reused and recycled, reducing waste and saving money in the long run. In some cases, printed materials may even be more affordable than their digital counterparts, especially when it comes to textbooks and other course materials.
So in the end, while digital technology has transformed the way we learn, the use of printed materials still has several advantages in distance learning and online education. From increased retention and reduced eye strain to any-time, anywhere accessibility and cost-effectiveness, printed materials can provide a valuable learning experience that cannot be replicated through digital means alone. Ultimately, the best approach to learning is one that meets your individual needs and preferences, and for many students, printed materials can be an effective and enjoyable way to engage with their coursework.