Distance learning should not be any different than any other form of learning if approached appropriately. There are several factors that can make distance learning more difficult. How the student learns, family obligations and work are some of the obvious sources of distractions. Doing a little research can overcome these problems, and the new student can get on with their dreams of a college degree.
Our minds learn in different ways and learning styles are not the same for everyone. Some people acquire knowledge through "hands on", some through reading about the subject, others through a visual presentation, and some through audio stimulation. It could be difficult for the instructor to be flexible in this area of learning styles, more due to limitations in technology and time constraints. In addition if both the teacher and student are not aware of the learning style needed there may be issues due either being unable to inject a flexible response to the deficit in learning styles.
If the student is struggling, there are steps that can be taken to ease the stress. For starters, there are other students in the "class" that may be able to help and if the student is really lucky, the classmate might actually be in the nearby area and a meeting could be arranged. If not, there is usually email and telephone contact information for all classmates and a forum set aside for questions the student needs answers to. Other areas are a local libraries, clubs and organizations that are related to the particular subject or course work giving the student a problem.
Another source of difficulty can arise from outside influences. The student may be working full or overtime, has a family to take care of or is affected by a disability. These factors can add up to a frustrating time when trying to complete course work. Unemployment is another factor to consider: while there may be additional time to dedicate to assignments, the stress of being unemployed may prove to be a...