Distance learning is a way to earn an education without necessarily having to sit in classroom. Research on the effectiveness of distance learning has evolved over the past decade and its success can now be measured with dynamic results. Have a writer in the field of education assist you in researching distance learning and its effectiveness for the student, the classroom, the instructor and the general population. Is distance learning the classroom of the future?
One can, thanks to modern technology, earn a high school diploma or college degree from the comfort of one's own home. Students and instructor are in widely different geographical locations, often never meeting face-to-face. This level of education is made possible by the Internet, with instantaneous communication through text and video.
Studies have indicated that distance learning can be just as effective as traditional classroom instruction, and numerous online university programs exist that allow students to earn a degree without serious disruption to their work or family schedules. Often, instruction is provided by the professor through video lessons, reading assignments, and written work designed to gauge the level of learning. Students can interact with each other and the professor via message boards, and receive timely feedback at every step of the way.
At its core distance education is dependent upon three central components:
- The teacher
- The students
- A curriculum suitable for both teacher and student.
These three components are necessary to build a contract that ensure that the student will be taught, assessed, given guidance and prepared for examinations.Up until the past decade, these goals of distance education have been most commonly accomplished by two-way radio communication. Learning in this scenario could be done with either individuals or in small groups.
Thanks to the Internet, a student can earn an entire university degree through distance learning. The flexibility of learning from home, without having to travel to, and sit in, a traditional classroom means that more individuals will be able to access learning in this manner. The virtual classroom is increasingly becoming a more popular option at all levels of education, indicating that distance learning is the next step in education.
The field of distance education has evolved worldwide over the past 10 years. In fact as one author notes, "Distance education in all of its manifestations, has moved from being, an alternative delivery system to acceptability as a mainstream delivery format for instruction and training". Although the practice carries with it many different names (i.e. distance education, distant teaching, tele-work, outreach, and tele-teaching), the concept of distance education is the same throughout. At the most basic level, distance education takes place when a teacher and student are separated by physical distance and technology is utilized to bridge the instructional gap. Distance learning may be used by itself as the main form of education or it may be used in conjunction with other forms of education such as face-to-face instruction.
Often times educators utilizing two-way radio communications had a difficult time establishing and maintaining effective distance education programs. Because past technology utilized in distance education was often rudimentary, the most important aspect of distance education became the instructor and how well he or she focused on the instructional goals and content of the lessons taught. Today, however, with the advent of new technology, distance learning is now becoming overshadowed. In the past educators felt limited by the technology, today they are concerned that technology may be too distracting for their students. In an attempt to understand how technology is being utilized in distance education a brief overview of some of the more commonly used technologies is warranted.