Distance Learning perceptions in the future
Distance education is now a common component in most higher education institution today. It has changed from an anomaly to what is expected of all educational institutions. Colleges and university are realizing the profitability of offering courses to students who otherwise would not have access to the programs offered traditionally. Experts in the past have predicted that students attending classes at prearranged times and locations will disappear (Blustain, Goldstein, and Lozier 1999 and Drucker 1997), and I believe this trend will continue in the future. According to George Seimens, online learning continues to gain acceptance because more people come to the online environment with the experience of communicating online, new tools are becoming available and learners are more comfortable with them. I believe the small sample of respondents from our discussion question this week represent an overall perception of online learning and a good predictor of where it is going in the future.
Most people believe that online learning is on the rise. They have seen an increase in the amount online training offered in the workplace and are finding that more of their colleagues now have online master’s degrees. George Seimens in our video resource this week, also stated that there is a growing acceptance for online learning, due to the improvements in technology and the increased contributions from experts around the world. As technology improves, educational models will move in the same direction, and perceptions will continue to change along with it. However, I do agree that universities are not completely on board or are not making online learning a priority when promoting their programs. George Siemen, believed that when Universities, Government and businesses begin working together the gap will be bridged for online learning. According to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, students of all ages are participating in distance education. Technology has evolved to allow a multitude of resources that are now available to learners (2012). These resources allow students to be actively involved in their own distance learning experiences.
Distance learning provides many opportunities for learners to gain knowledge in new and engaging ways. Instructional designers can design instruction with equivalent outcomes, through virtual distance learning experiences without losing the autonomy of the face-to-face course. Designers should use the tools available to them to create instruction that engages the learners and offer them the opportunity to gain knowledge in a meaningful way. When developing the instruction for the distance learners, designers must consider age, prior experience, and attitudes toward learning, abilities, prior knowledge, personal responsibilities and learning styles (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). The instructional design should be established on solid research, concrete learning theories and distance learning theories in order to design the best educational experiences. If instructional designers continue to develop effective instruction, then perceptions will continue to move in a positive direction.
As an instructional designer, I plan to change perception of online learning, by building effective instruction based on the foundation of the learning theories (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). I will seek out and use cutting edge tools to address the multitude of learning abilities (Beldarrain, 2006). My designs will incorporate simulations, interactivity and authentic learning applications to create positive learning experiences. These activities will allow students to create connections with prior learning experiences, construct new knowledge, demonstrate mastery and show creative problem solving abilities (Beldarrain, 2006). I believe the knowledge I gained in this course have given me the foundation to achieve these goals.
Beldarrain, Y. (2006 August). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. 27(2). p. 139-153. Retrieved from Academic Research Complete Database.
Blustain, Harvey, Philip Goldstein, and Gregory Lozier 1999. “Assessing the New Competitive Landscape,” in Dancing with the Devil, Editors: Richard N. Katz and Associates, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
Gambescia, S., & Paolucci, R. (2009). Academic fidelity and integrity as attributes of university online degree program offerings. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration,
George Siemens. The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.e
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance learning” [Video]. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com Laureatte Education, (n.d.)
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.