My Perceptions of Distance Education in the Future

I see distance education expanding in the next ten to fifteen years with an increase in volume of people involved, and online learning is growing at a faster rate along with the participation of people supporting, promoting, and accepting distance education. Standard universities will still be present, but many will incorporate distance education elements into their traditional face-to-face classrooms. The field of distance education’s quality and reputation should continue to increase with more professionals participating in and learning that distance education can be as rigorous as traditional education.

E-Learning has emerged with new technologies that are consistently being introduced on a regular basis that will make distance education that make learning more appealing and exciting. New communications technology can make education and new knowledge more available to the people who need it. With quick gadgets like the smart phone and cheaper information and communication services, electronic resources are making information accessible to people without access to a local library.  Technology has gotten easier to use and some students expect the world’s information be instant and always available at their fingertips. Even classes that meet in person are making greater use of the web in delivering course content as hybrid courses.

Many Americans have some college credit but lack either certain key courses or a limited number of course credits to complete their degree. Distance learning provides an affordable and accessible option, particularly for students who are employed and must complete degree requirements on a flexible basis. Kids in elementary and middle school are exposed to more technology than we did when we were younger, so they’re more comfortable with online communication technologies and will be less apprehensive about taking a course online.  There is a growing acceptance of distance education because of the increase in online communication, good experience with the new communication tools and the growing comfort with online learning.

The push for more development in distance education include technology, economy, and needs of the adult learner. Technology is developing new products with faster processing and capabilities. The economy promotes distance learning because there is a demand for lifelong learning, a labor that is changing as well as requiring adults to work longer before retiring. Anyway you look at it, distance learning has earned its place in the world by accommodating millions of learners who, if required to sit in a classroom or travel to a campus, might otherwise have to forego the additional education.

 

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Reflection of future of Distance Learning

My Perceptions of Distance Education in the Future

I see distance education expanding in the next ten to fifteen years with an increase in volume of people involved, and online learning is growing at a faster rate along with the participation of people supporting, promoting, and accepting distance education. Standard universities will still be present, but many will incorporate distance education elements into their traditional face-to-face classrooms. The field of distance education’s quality and reputation should continue to increase with more professionals participating in and learning that distance education can be as rigorous as traditional education.

E-Learning has emerged with new technologies that are consistently being introduced on a regular basis that will make distance education that make learning more appealing and exciting. New communications technology can make education and new knowledge more available to the people who need it. With quick gadgets like the smart phone and cheaper information and communication services, electronic resources are making information accessible to people without access to a local library.  Technology has gotten easier to use and some students expect the world’s information be instant and always available at their fingertips. Even classes that meet in person are making greater use of the web in delivering course content as hybrid courses.

Many Americans have some college credit but lack either certain key courses or a limited number of course credits to complete their degree. Distance learning provides an affordable and accessible option, particularly for students who are employed and must complete degree requirements on a flexible basis. Kids in elementary and middle school are exposed to more technology than we did when we were younger, so they’re more comfortable with online communication technologies and will be less apprehensive about taking a course online.  There is a growing acceptance of distance education because of the increase in online communication, good experience with the new communication tools and the growing comfort with online learning.

The push for more development in distance education include technology, economy, and needs of the adult learner. Technology is developing new products with faster processing and capabilities. The economy promotes distance learning because there is a demand for lifelong learning, a labor that is changing as well as requiring adults to work longer before retiring. Anyway you look at it, distance learning has earned its place in the world by accommodating millions of learners who, if required to sit in a classroom or travel to a campus, might otherwise have to forego the additional education.

 

Conversion to Online Learning Format

A designer needs to consider many things prior to editing a course such as converting a traditional classroom course towards a blended one. Pre-planning strategies, (Simonson, et al., 2012), include evaluating all technologies implemented in the syllabus, any new developments within the learning structure, and how the learners contribute or collaborate with each other. Once the designer settles these strategies and defines all the facets of the learning course, they can then improve the layout of the entire learning design. This allows the designer to identify each phase within the compounds of the distance learning that will or won’t do better as that distance learning format.

The instructor also needs to identify their role as a trainer and how they will adapt from a traditional classroom environment to a newly blended course, and how each of the learners can communicate with this new eLearning tool.

Strategies

a. Evaluate the new course material in order to meet the course objectives.(Simonson, et. al., 2012). A big mistake in this process might be to get lost in the appearance of the course content in making it look so sophisticated, that they lose track of what the initial format was. It’s important for the instructor to keep focus on their goals and objectives as a form of checks and balances during the planning process.

b. Identify with their learners (Simonson, et al., 2012), and skill evaluate the learners skills as they go through their learning process. By addressing if the blended learning benefits the learner’s, the designer analyzes the learners abilities of understanding the learning concepts, and the interactivity of the class as a whole. In this process, the learning styles will be addressed. (Dede, (2005).

c. Teaching strategies should be considered due to feedback from facilitators and students because the learning atmosphere will persuade those teaching strategies, which would include resources and technology.

Improving Distance Learning Course

Both synchronous and asynchronous communication are enhanced by the distance learning environment. (Simonson, et. al., 2012). The discussion sequence and student collaboration is one format that can be enhanced the most in a blended course format.  When students are in one room at the same , discussing and forming opinions, it’s a much easier process because there is plenty of time. In an online course, the continuation of collaborating and exchanging ideas can be time consuming when not everyone is available at the same  time.

Trainer Role

A facilitator or Instructor is someone who has been selected and employed to lead the students regardless if it is in a traditional setting or online environment. (Simonson, et. al. 2012). The role of the Instructor then switches to a role of trainer in a blended course format. Some questions to consider in drawing up conclusions as a trainer in an online format would be:

1. What are his capabilities for coordinating the course?

2. What will his new role in the class be since it is blended and not completely in a traditional classroom?

2. Will other facilitators collaborate with this trainer or help them in their transition with thisnew learning process?

Communication

An Instructor provides examples of the expectations in a discussion post, (Simonson et. Al., 2012), with rules for ‘netiquette’ and what is expected of each student. Discussions are great in the communication process and should encourage students to collaborate in extensive conversations and formal disputes that the instructor can direct and control. (Belderrain, 2006). By controlling the online conversations, the instructor can reflect on meaningful conversations with the intended outcomes of good debates.

In the end, once an instructor implements the transition from traditional to blended course format, they can then reflect on their role as a trainer, since their role is looked at more as a trainer and the students are adapted to learn as independent rather than in a brick and mortar setting.

Two things for the instructor to focus on are the pre-planning strategies including course evaluation of the course objectives and the learning environment, or demographics of the learner. When these pre-planning strategies are implemented, the instructor can them determine the aspects of the course that need improvement from student performance and feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139–153.

Dede, C. (2005). Planning for neomillennial learning styles. Educause Quarterly, 28(1),7–12.

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

 

The Impact of Open Source

With the ongoing trend of taking courses online for personal growth or to improve one’s self knowledge with a particular topic, I looked into the site Open Culture, (http://www.openculture.com/). This site was first introduced in 2006 and includes an array of classes including many with video and audio possibilities, all based out of their free courses. Features include online courses from the world’s top universities including over 530 free courses in the liberal arts and sciences alone. The courses can be downloaded via audio & video to your computer or mp3 player. Open Culture’s mission is to provide high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. The mission of Open Culture is to centralize the content, assemble it to give learners accessibility to its high quality content whenever and wherever they want it. A big teaching strategy for instructors to emphasize on is engaging learners to ensure they’re in tune with the subject and considering the learners opinions and needs (Schlosser, Anderson, 1994).

Available through this site are free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, and free e-books all with the help of 2.0 technology. Media selection is important with resources doe creating media, but more important is matching the medium to the curriculum or content (Dick, Carey, Carey, 2009).

You can recommend materials to be listed on Open Culture and have the site managers add links to relevant parts of their site, and suggest materials/links via email. This is good if you want to include a link in one of their podcast directories. With thousands of subscribers to this site, it’s easily accessible via Twitter and Facebook, and you can advertise as well.  There is a Self-Service Ad platform available to purchase ads directly on the site which partners with BuyAds.com. This platform allows the user to pick the ad inventory they wish to purchase, check date availability, register and upload their unique concept. You can also manage everything on the basic dashboard on the main page.

Open Source software is intended to be freely shared and can be improved upon and redistributed to others. The code in which software is written is free and available to anyone to do anything, as long as the uses are consistent with a 10-part definition by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Open source does not mean ‘unlicensed’ or free, but typically has a license. The code may be free, but the costs involved in implementing the application within an organization can be significant (Simonson, et al, 2012).

My Bachelors was a combination of traditional in classroom settings with online courses which I thought gave me a good perspective of e-learning courses. My Masters has been all online and seems to almost me the norm for me, not that I wouldn’t mind attending a standard class, but I feel as if I’ve been trained to accept this form of learning and possibly take other classes of instruction in this form.

References

Dick, W., Carey, L., Carey, J.O., (2009). The Systematic Design of Instruction (7th ed.).New York: Longman.

Schlosser, C., Anderson, M., (1994). Distance Education: Review of the Literature

Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance:

Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

http://www.openculture.com/

 

 

 

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

For this week’s assignment in selecting Distance Learning Technologies, I chose Example 3: Asynchronous Training in finding the best distant learning technology that would provide proper safety training for a biodiesel manufacturing plant that needs to improve its safety training modules.  Most online and distance learning provides the best service and value to learners in more than one way. Some of these examples would be reducing total costs with minimal travel and overnight stays, improved quality of life for learners with less disruption of home and work life, access to a wider range of courses that may not be available in their own location, and 24/7 access where these learners can carry on with their learning at a time that better suits them. Not only was the training for the employees and supervisors, but the supervisors were to ensure that all the employees training followed through with their safety demonstrations. Utilizing a Course Management System (CMS) will provide each employee and their supervisors the proper training online that is affiliated with their training competencies via collaborating and communicating. (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, Zvacek 2012).

 

Another tool that is great in it’s ability to reach learners is by employing a variety on modules using multimedia files or podcasts with training aids consisting of training aids (PowerPoint presentation, Flash animations, tests…etc., with a program certificate for training accountability requirements. Most CMSs and LMSs import the training via programs like Adobe Captivate that will give each learner credit for their completion of the courses.

 

In addition to delivery of online and podcast courses in distance learning, many students also study for our programs in the traditional classroom setting. True, the learners would be required to travel to the lectures twice or three times a week. Or the organization could bring in lecturers to teach the classes onsite if permitted. The advantages of this would be to meet with the lecturer on a regular basis which can be useful in terms of getting feedback, doing group work and also adding to their learning experience. Class times are student focused that would allow time for travel, work and family commitments. Class based courses are interactive and are great for discussion and group work and hands on demonstrations.

The Biodeisel organization can also provide face to face training with exam centers at nearby locations where the employees can participate in modules consisting of formal safety training that should be mandatory before the plant operations begin. This would involve OSHA requirements for items like permits, hot work, confined space entry permits, and personal protective equipment (PPE) (www.osha.gov)

Enabling a CMS program for individualized safety training would be compatible for the Biodiesel organization in managing its learning environment.

 

References

 

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

http://www.osha.gov/

Distance Learning Blogs

I’ve been reading other blogs on the internet about some of the limits to Distance Learning (DL) making it so that learners are feeling almost alone in their quest to attaining higher education. One issue was in finding local resources when you’re not based on a university campus, and teaching isn’t always encompassing all the material. Another issue is that it’s harder to build friendships and bond with classmates when living in different parts of the world. No, maybe DK isn’t for everyone but when you only speak to classmates on a message board, it may seem like your isolated in your learning. I don’t see DL as a downside to learning, but more of an online journey. I have built friendship with my classmates, maybe not in all my classes but in other classes I’ve taken. Yes it can be difficult for me personally especially working full time and running a household. I never saw myself going back to school at this age, figuring it would just be my three kids in college like they are now. I’m glad I went back and don’t complain because I chose this route in my life. I may not be the best student but I don’t stop either.

Distance Learning

Hello,

My name is Letty Knight and I chose the field of Instructional Design to better understand and execute future courses in the field of education and training. As a Training Specialist, I have had the opportunity to assist in projects with Distance Learning and find this form of learning is more viable for me and those that cannot attend classes from a traditional standard of brick and mortar, or simply find it doesn’t fit into their schedule. Distance Learning has redefined the future of learning and I feel will continue to be the mainstream of quality education.