The Future of Distance Learning

distance-learning

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

Distance learning according to Merriam Webster is defined as, ‘a method of studying in which lectures are broadcast or classes are conducted by correspondence or over the Internet, without the student’s needing to attend a school or college.’ I made this decision to study online for more reasons than one. I am a mother working in a foreign country I have my husband but no immediate family around, this makes it difficult to move around as every time you leave the house someone needs to be paid to babysit. I have dreamed of having masters ever since I graduated college in 2006, not only I did not have the money; I did not have the time to go out and sit in a class. I chose to attend Walden University because of the great reviews I received from a fellow teacher who was studying at Walden University at the time. The last eight weeks has been an eye opener, I have learned more in the last eight weeks about distance learning than I have ever known. This has led me to the conclusion that this is what I would love to do for the rest of my life. I have enjoyed this course there are number of ways we can make education fun for students. I liked that I was given the opportunity create my own course, I learned a number of course site and their effectiveness and making a course easy or difficult for the user. The final week of this course opened my eyes to the way society views distance learning, as well as input on the stance for distance learning for the future.

Distance learning is growing at a rapid paste; you name the course it can be found in an online setting. I believe that distance learning will continue to grow as the institutions continue to meet the needs for the learners. Being a part of the distance learning institution allows the learner to view all courses in a learner centered environment, it promotes independence of geography. It adapts to the needs of the global market and the most important it is culturally diverse. Distance learning will in the next 10 to 20 years impact the operations of face to face schools; I believe that both will be viewed on the same page creating a positive balance and atmosphere. I can see this happening now as different states are moving into incorporate blended learning as apart of their instruction. Though distance learning skills and demand are getting greater the focus will be on producing quality education and equal opportunity across the education spectrum. This involves creating lifelong learners to work independently.

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

‘Distance education has been practiced for more than 150 years, passing through three phases: first, correspondence study, with its use of print-based instructional and communication media; second, the rise of the distance teaching universities and the use of analog mass media and third the widespread integration of distance education elements into most forms of education, and characterized by the use of digital instructional and communication technologies.’ Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012 pg. 171 As an instructional designer I will continue to add to the positive change to the perception of distance learning by creating courses that are user and student friendly and covers all the aspects that were mentioned in the objectives, providing positive feedback to the students. I can improve societal perception of distance learning by following all the guidelines that I learned throughout this course. (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012) states that, ‘distance learning courses should be carefully planned in order to meet the needs of the students within unique learning contexts and environments. Distance learning programs are most effective when they include careful planning and consistency among courses.’ Improving the societal perception of distance learning does rely on careful planning and consistency, it also needs to have instructions that are competent and reliable. This person should be able to answer questions and be available when the students need something clarified or justified. Online institutions need to provide the appropriate developmental experiences for faculty who are engaged in the delivery of the distance learning experience. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012. This is true as the instructors need to be equipped to handle and troubleshoot anything that comes their way.

How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

Having experience the field of distance learning, all the courses I have taken has taught me to be patient and ensure that all measures have been taken to ensure proper planning and implementation of all courses regardless of its size or importance. One great way to ensure that distance learning continues to improve is by simply keeping up with all the changes in technology. Everyday a new discovering is made it is the job of the designer to ensure that they remain current with all the changes. I learned a lot about the ADDIE ho it can be used as a designer, I believe as a designer if I stick to the guidelines created by the ADDIE improvement in the field of distance learning will be met. I learned this week that as an instructional designer there needs to be much research on the content and how the system works before the course is published. I learned that millennials are considered to be multitasking experts; these persons are capable of using their smart phones to text, talk as well as to post. Students, regardless of the fact that they are online need to be actively engaged in the discussions and assignments. As distance learning continues to grow every year, I believe that I will continue to stay current with the technological changes associated with the distance learning community.

Reference

Distance learning retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distance%20learning

Distance learning advantage and disadvantage retrieved from http://www.distancelearningnet.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-distance-learning/

How distance learning will evolve retrieved from http://www.iadl.org.uk/Article17.htm

photograph retrieved from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oUXzNrEiLeo/UIyxWXu4asI/AAAAAAAAAFM/wKk30BZV-BM/s1600/distance-learning.jpg

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a  distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

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