Defining Distance Learning

Defining Distance Learning

Distance education has evolved over the years, from the 1800’s using mail correspondence to encourage women’s educational studies at home (Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.), to Guglielmo Marconi’s “Black Box”, patent and the first wireless signal company which introduces telecommunication technology that gave other companies the opportunity to provide distance learning. Later during the 1900’s, distance learning transformed again with the uses of radio and television broadcast, offering college courses.

As new technology and new ways of teaching and learning evolves, so must the definition of distance learning change to adapt to the impact of its uses in education and industry. Distance learning a subtitle of distance education; among others such as, e-learning, online learning, and virtual learning; are associated with businesses/corporations, higher education and K-12 (Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015).  Corporations use eLearning for professional development training on materials that are available in various locations for training of their employees. Higher Education, online learning  has shown to be flexible in providing readily available course studies, but a budgetary surplus and loss to tuition driven institutions (Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J., 2008).   

Distance learning has always been a part of the online world to me, however,  I did not make the distinction between eLearning, online learning, or virtual learning. further studies in the definition of distance learning, help me to revise my initial thinking that distance learning was, learning that is taught by a “brick and mortar” teacher in an online setting. There is more to being taught by a teacher and the tools or medium used for teaching (online) which I later discovered during the course. As innovation in technology emerges into corporation, higher education and the school system (K-12), I believe that distance learning will, once again,  be redefined to meet the needs of those involved in the change process of learning and/or training with technology. As computers become involved in the delivery of education, a proposed definition identified the delivery of instructional materials, using both print and electronic media (Moore, 1990).

Years before my exposure to distance learning, I believed that distance learning consisted of learning that was facilitated at a global location, overseas or in another state on courses that were not available in the states. Time tells a different story of what distance learning is and what it provides to the learner with delivery of  instruction to a school system, corporation or higher education. Providing flexible teaching and learning at a distance to students in various locations online, as a revision to  my  definition for distance learning, addresses location, technology, the learner, teacher, and time.

As distance learning continues to evolve into bigger and better ways to deliver instruction, be it online, through correspondence, or “snail-mail” materials sent to rural areas, I believe that the way in which information is provided will increase in the area of technology; that more web 2.0 programs will be used in all industries and schools will began to merge, putting more students into a building and providing flex-time for teaching, making more “flipped-classrooms” and “blended learning” hoping it will be cost-efficient. Or, we can continue to do  things the same way and expect different results.

New definition and vision of distance learning.

New definition and vision of distance learning. (click to view image)

References:

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75. Retrieve this article from the Academic Search Complete database in the Walden Library.

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.

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67. Retrieve this article from the Academic Search Complete database in the Walden Library.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Chapter 2, “Definitions, History, and Theories of Distance Education” (pp. 31-40 only)

 Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

“Distance Learning Timeline Continuum”
This multimedia, interactive timeline chronicles the evolution of distance learning from 1833–2009.

Moore, J. L., Dickson-Deane, C., & Galyen, K. (2011). e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same?. The Internet and Higher Education, 14(2), 129-135.

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3 thoughts on “Defining Distance Learning

  1. Denise,
    I like your comment about how we can continue to do things the same way and expect different results. I always quote Gandhi at the end of one of my classroom trainings. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” My follow up question is that if no one is willing to change what will change in your environment. Your quote reminded me of that. So many people thing they cannot affect change yet they can.
    I will get off my soapbox now. 🙂
    Anita

    Like

  2. Pingback: Defining Distance Learning | anitatatro

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