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An "Academic" Education is sometimes defined as education which has content learning as its primary purpose. Some institutions and educational systems have equated academic with learning that takes place in a university or tertiary education institution.
Expectations about academic education can include:
However, this is not the case for all types of academic education.
In contrast, Vocational education usually focuses on "preparing students to perform in a workplace"; or "life education". Vocational education may be oriented towards developing a student’s awareness of and ability to use specific skills across a range of contexts. While formal assessment processes may be part of vocational education, the general expectations around vocational education include:
These different education approaches have their origins in the past; but are still often adhered to by traditionally bound educational systems. In some cases, students are encouraged to choose either an academic course or a vocational course, without understanding how the different approaches might influence their learning experience. This is a topical issue in today’s post-COVID world as people come to realise that the experience of going to university is not what it used to be. Without the social, cultural and emotional factors that used to contribute to the university experience, some students are left wondering whether the costs of attending university are worth the effort.
In circumstances like these, contemporary models of distance education come into their own. In the past, distance education has sometimes been regarded as a simplified form of education that was not as demanding as academic education and not as practical as vocational education. However, these views are changing as distance learning is now perceived as a more convenient and accessible route to education that puts less strain on the students’ resources.
Some of the more common types of distance learning include:
“At ACS distance education, we begin our course development from a self-paced perspective,” says John Mason, Principal of the Australian Correspondence School. “Each course consists of between 8 and 12 lessons which are broken down into manageable chunks that focus on one aspect of a topic. Key ideas will be introduced and then revisited in a different context, helping the student to understand how skills or knowledge can be applied in different circumstances. Video recordings and a range of assignments emphasise real world applications. We also use problem-based tasks in some courses, especially where it will benefit students to have a deeper understanding of how theories covered in some lessons will be applied in context. While other forms of distance education may be easier for teachers and tutors to manage, self-paced learning focuses education where it should be: on the students’ experience of learning.”
To learn more about different types of education, consider the following courses.
Or contact our course counselling team to discuss your learning needs in more detail.