Defining Distance Learning

November 7, 2010 tinkisamy

When I first thought about Distance Learning, I felt that I had a good grasp on what it was and how it related to me as a student. I knew that distance learning involved internet learning, but I learned that it is more than just the use of the internet for learning. It involves various types of mediums and media. As technology advances so will distance learning. It will progress and change as the needs of learning will change.  Distance learning for me involved learning outside of a classroom at my own pace. This week has broadened this view. 

I have been reassured that my choice to learn in a distance learning environment will  provide me with the skills necessary to keep up with the changes that are occurring in regard to learning and understanding of information. Distance learning allows for a broader range of students to learn and gain new career opportunities. Some students do not have the means or ability to attend a full-time college or program. Distance learning bridges this gap and allows anyone the opportunity to reach their learning goals.

Distance learning allows for a wide variety of students and backgrounds. There is such a wide variety of peers and cultures that we have the opportunity to experience and explore. I have met some wonderful people from various states all over the U.S. We still collaborate and work together outside of our classroom settings. We have established a working and personal relationship and have never been able to meet in person. As I pursued my first MA I went through a traditional classroom setting. I was able to interact with fellow students in a way that I don’t have in this program, but I also got the same opinions over and over. Most if not all were in education and had lived in that area their whole life. Distance education allows for diversity of opinions. I have had to “agree to disagree” more and it is refreshing at times.

Distance learning is changing and growing with each course taught. Instructors and learners are becoming familiar with programs and the know how to advance in any career goal they are pursuing.Distance learning is growing and will continue to evolve,  even to suit the youngest learner. I see distance learning reaching out to high school students and giving them the means to pursue different avenues in regard to career choices. As home schooling grows, distance learning allows for easier research and progression.

As I strive to be even more personally involved in Distance Education by my goal to teach online someday, I can only see the benefits from learning in this type of environment. Each course I take gives me both positive aspects and those that I would do differently. Each program and school looks at distance education a little differently so it is important to know what the school believes before you begin learning or teaching.

View my mindmap on distance learning.

Resources:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Walden University’s “Distance Learning Timeline Continuum”.

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