Before this course when I thought of distance education I thought of logging on to my Blackboard site and completing the coursework that was in place for me to take care of. I had not thought of it as an instructor and the differences from the face-to-face classroom much at all. ¨The process of planning and organizing for a distance education course is multifaceted and must occur well in advance of the scheduled instruction¨ (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 130) and I had not thought of this aspect of it at all. I have always been used to being able to ¨tweak¨ the lesson as the day went on to make it more engaging for the students. The traditional classroom that I grew up with has changed dramatically and is no longer the only way to learn. Distance learning has gone through many changes and with the Internet being more readily available to people, it is becoming more and more common for people to use distance learning. The generations of children and young adults that I come into contact with are using technology in their daily routine more than ever before.
Another thing that I had not thought of is the need for theory in distance education. The major role of a theory in the realm of distance learning is for it to be used as a guide or map (Saba, Laureate Education, n.d., 6:42) for the instruction that is to take place. In his landmark work The Foundations of Distance Education, Keegan (1996) classified theories of distance education into three groups: Theories of independence and autonomy, Theories of industrialization and teaching, Theories of interaction and communication (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015. p.42). By learning about these theories and how to apply them to a distance learning environment I am learning how to create a distance learning environment that will be a positive and interesting place for the learner to visit.
What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5-10 years; 10-20 years)?
I believe that distance learning will become more mainstream and a universal way of getting an education within the next few years. Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015) state that the day is coming when the work done by correspondence will be greater in amount than that done in the classrooms of our academies and colleges: when the students who shall recite by correspondence will far outnumber those who make oral recitations. I agree with their thoughts and think that within the next 5-10 years we as an education community will move more in that direction. As I think about 10-20 years I think of how quickly toddlers learn to play videos or use an app on their parents´ iphone and as I work with young adults I see their confidence with technology grow and as it becomes easier to use I see distance learning becoming commonplace in the education field.
How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning? How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education.
As an instructional designer I will need to provide a positive impression for distance learning to those who are not only taking courses, but those who are hesitant about the process as well. I will need to really work with the CMS that I am using and prepare it so that my students are engaged and interested as well. ¨The process of planning and organizing for a distance education course is multifaceted and must occur well in advance of the scheduled instruction¨ (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 130). This will create a society of online learners who can in turn tell those around them about the positive experience that they are having. According to Simonson, et.al. (2015) I will need to have an understanding of what students know and how it relates to the intended instruction. By knowing my students and their needs better I can help them to have a positive experience as well. Whether is by synchronous of asynchronous the learning experience is an important one that will cause them to have opinions about it. My goal is to make those opinions positive ones as they grow and learn in the field as I am doing.
In closing I have learned that teaching in all forms is both challenging and rewarding. As stated by Simonson, et.al., teaching at a distance can be a pleasurable experience for everyone involved. I have learned that it is a multi-faceted experience when you are involving technology. As stated by Beldarrain, (2006), emerging teaching models will undoubtedly integrate new technology tools, yet those tools that foster interaction must be deliberately integrated into the design process to ensure appropriate application. As an instructional designer I will need to provide the appropriate application for the technology that I work with. Since technology is ever-changing, and as an instructor using technology I will need to change and adapt as well.
Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Theory and distance learning [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://class.waldenu.edu.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Zvacek, S. (2015) Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.