Who knew that all those time during lab In science class that we watched videos or in social studies, listening to recorded books was my actual first experiences with distance learning. The growth of online distance learning (e-learning) is explosive in almost all sectors, and in many developed and developing in countries (Moller, Foshay, Huett, 2008). I can attest to that because distancing learning has afforded me educational opportunities, I am now completing a masters degree when there was a point in my life that I did not even think I would ever finish an undergraduate program.
Not only before starting this course, but before starting my first distance learning program, my personal definition has completely changed from what I thought it was. Distance learning to me meant that I would have to watch lectures online and complete assignments that were given in a syllabus. My definition was so simple. That meant to me that I would then need to prepare myself to do work I had never done before. So far in this course this week, I have learned there is much more to distance learning. I have learned that since my first program with my first online university. Our text shares that “ Distance learning is rapidly becoming a popular choice for continuing professional education, mid career degree programs, and lifelong learning of all kinds”(2008). I now understand that I have participated in distance learning long before it became popular and before the advancement technology has provided.
Although there is an academic description of what distance learning is that is explained in the video of this week’s resources, Dr. Simonson interprets distance education as “ Formal education that is institutionally based where the learning group ( teacher, students, resources) are separated by geography and sometimes time” Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.)., 2014. I believe that the definition of distance education changes based on the circumstance and use. Distance learning is performed in other avenues other than providing education to students, it also is a tool for training individuals in the workplace or to prepare them for a job. I believe distance eduction can no longer be defined by one dynamic since it offers so much opportunity in many different areas.
My definition of distance education now is that it is an alternative tool to advance education, job training and life skills, (along with aspect of the academic meaning) where the resources, instructor (if any) are separated by location and in some cases time. As technology continues to evolve, it will make for provide more access to the world. As students, teachers, employees, employers and organizations, our technological skills will evolve too. At the start of this program I did not truly know how big of a role technology played in educating individuals, and not just for school, I also did not know how much control we have over how technology impacts our livelihoods.
In all realizing that distance education has been here the whole time, I do not think we have stumbled across something new rather as it states in the text “ a simple answer to a complex problem associated with education and training (2008). Distance education is a solution to learning beyond the classroom. I agree with Dr. Simonson that traditional learning will never be replaced by distance learning but it will however be integrated with instructor- based teachings. Instructors will be able to make learning even more efficient for students, organizations will help develop employee skills to succeed in their careers. There are some that still feel that the world is not ready for this technological style of learning, but I would disagree, distance learning today and as it continues to evolve, provides us with options that were not always available. The next steps are really up to us.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66-70.
Retrieve this article from the Academic Search Complete database in the Walden Library.