Modular Distance Learning in the Philippines – DepEd's Alternative Learning Method

Modular Distance Learning in the Philippines – DepEd's Alternative Learning Method

DepEd's modular distance learning is an effective learning delivery modality in the Philippines, primarily because most learners are able to access self-learning modules without difficulty. Learn about modular distance learning in this article.

(UPDATED 10/13/2022) The Department of Education (DepEd) has adopted different methods of teaching students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these methods is modular distance learning. It is a type of learning delivery modality that DepEd conceptualized and classified under the distance learning approach.

(As schools now allow face-to-face classes, DepEd has been using the modular distance learning method in the Philippines as part of a blended learning approach.)

Distance learning is divided into three categories:

  • Modular Distance Learning (MDL) is a learning method where students can use printed self-learning modules (SLM) and modules that can be accessed digitally or through electronic devices such as laptops, computers, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Online Distance Learning (ODL) is a learning method where teachers can teach their students through the internet. Students can also download learning materials and submit their homework through online means.
  • TV/Radio-Based Instructions (TVI) is a learning method where the self-learning modules are taught on television and radio. It is an effective alternative to students without internet access and computers, tablets, and smartphones.

'Blended learning' and 'homeschooling' are two other types of alternative learning delivery modalities developed by the Department of Education (DepEd) in addition to distance learning.

Blended learning (BL) is a learning delivery modality that combines distance learning approaches such as online distance learning, modular distance learning, and TV/Radio-based instruction.

Meanwhile, Homeschooling is a learning delivery modality for young people to learn even when they are in their homes. Homeschooling is possible with the help of qualified parents or tutors who have undergone training.

These alternative learning delivery methods demonstrate that the Department of Education (DepEd) is committed to providing quality education to students despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic. Continue reading if you want to understand more about DepEd's modular distance learning approach in further detail.

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What is modular distance learning?

It is a form of learning delivery modality developed by The Department of Education (DepEd) in which learning takes place without physical interaction between teachers and learners. Distant learning is best suited to independent learners and students with the help of parents, relatives, or family members.

Students enrolled in modular distance learning can use self-learning modules (SLM) that are either printed or available in digital format to supplement their studies. Meanwhile, teachers monitor and guide students' progress through e-mail, text messages, instant messaging (chat), or telephone. 

Meanwhile, a parent or guardian is considered the "ParaTeacher" who will guide the learner on their studies.

What are the other alternatives for modular distance learning?

The Department of Education (DepEd) provided other alternatives for modular distance learning.  Students can also enroll in the blended learning approach. It combines various learning delivery modalities such as online distance learning, modular distance learning, and television/radio-based instruction to provide a more comprehensive learning strategy.

DepEd developed these learning delivery modalities to provide a means of continuing education in the Philippines amidst pandemic. Most Filipino learners prefer modular distance learning. Photo: DepEd Philippines/Facebook

What are the challenges students facing modular distance learning?

It has been a year since the Department of Education (DepEd) implemented the distance learning modality for students due to the pandemic. While this type of learning is beneficial to students because it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease, students also face several difficulties. One of these is the lack of reliable internet connectivity.

We know that the internet is used by students for research, but it is difficult to access it in remote and far-flung areas, especially if there is no network signal. As a result, students must still find a location away from their homes to connect to the internet and conduct research.

This goes against the purpose of distance learning, which is to allow students to study without leaving their homes. Some students, however, are forced to leave their homes because of a lack of internet access.

Aside from the internet, other difficulties include the learning environment, the availability of gadgets (for the online learners), the learner's ability to concentrate, and lack of socialization.

What are the parents' roles in modular distance learning?

A parent or legal guardian acts as a mentor to their children who are enrolled under modular distance learning. As soon as the children receive their self-learning modules, their parents should assist them in understanding them.

According to the DepEd, they are also responsible for picking up and delivering the modules to and from schools at the start and end of each week. This ensures that minimal health standards are followed at all times.

They should also go through the learner's weekly learning plan to avoid submission delays that might negatively impact their grades. Parents and guardians must ensure that their children complete their self-learning modules and have finished answering all of the questions.

Parents must also offer a productive learning environment for their children to devote more time to study.

How does modular distance learning work?

The Department of Education's modular distance learning approach works on a four-step process (4Ps) which are: pagkuha (distribution), paggamit (application), pagtutok (monitoring), at pagbalik (submission).

1. Distribution

The self-learning module should be picked up by the parents or legal guardians either at the school or a predetermined pick-up point. Once the modules are picked up by the parents or legal guardians, they should be distributed to the learners.

2. Application

The learner is responsible for completing the activities contained in the modules in their own unique manner of learning them. They can complete the task on their modules with the module's help and other reference materials such as a guide. Learners can also seek assistance from their parents, family members, and other relatives.

Learners can also contact their teacher via e-mail, messenger, or text message to ask questions.

3. Monitoring

Through a monitoring checklist provided by the school, parateachers can monitor and assist learners in completing tasks on their modules. It will be used to determine which subjects the students have already completed. In addition, the teacher or class adviser will keep track of their progress.

The teachers may communicate with the parents or legal guardians through text message, FB messenger, and home visitation.

4. Submission

Once the learner completes all their lessons in the modules, the parents or legal guardians are responsible for returning the modules to the school or drop-off locations. They should bring it back to the class adviser or teacher by the end of the week. Parents and legal guardians must also ensure that the learner completes all the tasks in each module.


Modular distance learning (MDL) encourages students to conduct their own research and self-study. Because education is no longer confined to the classroom, parents and legal guardians assume the role of parateachers, assisting students with their modules and ensuring they receive appropriate guidance.

Modular distance education is required because it is the most effective method of educating students during the pandemic. Local government units (LGUs) may assist the Department of Education in implementing the aforementioned learning modality through a variety of means, including the establishment of barangay learning centers with internet connectivity and research equipment.

This type of learning center is ideal for students who want to study in a quiet environment with easy access to the internet in order to conduct research and learn independently. Additionally, LGUs may provide free wifi access to learners only. —AJ Yes

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