Reflection on Distance Learning

“Distance Education is about as real and actual as education can be” (Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S., 2009, p. 36). As I reflect on the past 8 weeks of class learning about the distance that seperates on ground learning versus online learning I find myself having gained a great deal of knowledge and persepctive. I for one have been in the past a great proponent of face to face on ground teaching and even made many of my posts and papers in my college course promoting on ground learning. This course though has re-opened my eyes to distance learning and the benefit of it as an LMS for anyone willing to use it.
In the Laureate video (Laureate Education, n.d.) that more corporations are accepting distance learning as their delivery system so the motivation should be learn more earn more. Many people because of their jobs have already taken online courses which helps bring acceptance of distance learning courses. The video also tells us that another component of acceptance of distance learning is the use of more online communication and collaboration tools. The more people use them, the easier it will be for learners to acclimate to a distance learning course.
5 – 10 years from now the acceptance will continue to grow as in the Laureate video stated (Laureate Education, n.d.) because of the increase in online communication, the practical experience the people will receive with their use which will give people the growing comfort they need to not be afraid to use the tools. I see people become more comfortable by the day as they use the tools and make use of the resources that help them such as tutorials and walk through. 10 – 15 years from now out communication tools will most likely improve and become more accepted because more people will be using these technologies in their personal life and in the workplace. The young people of today will be growing up in a technologically advanced lifestyle with the expectation of information at the fingertips which in turn means when he kids get older they will have a more positive perception of the technologies rather than someone who is older and just starting to use them. Distance education in the future will continue to expand and grow as technology improves and is predicted to increase by more than three hundred percent in the next five years (Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J., 2008b).
As an instructional designer my job will be to incorporate as many tools as I can that promote distance learning so that it is an assumed behavior in the classes that I design to use technology tools such as games and online presentations. By supporting distance education in my design community making sure to remain focused on positive change I will help do my part to improve the social perception of distance learning. I will also do everything in my power to design quality and effective distance learning courses that support the positive attitude towards distance learning courses. “The instructional designer’s challenge is to tackle distance education issues at all levels” (Huett, Moller, Foshay, & Coleman, 2008).
To become and continue to be a positive force in the ongoing effort of continuous improvement to distance education I will need to do my homework. I need to do my homework meaning using advanced research techniques to evaluate the the methods that I use. I need to apply the research to the design solutions so I can improve my techniques course after course. I must always be improving my own knowledge on design principles of appropriate learning, and instructional design learning theories. By promoting and using research-based designs in my presentations to my client and stakeholder help me promote the overall legitimacy of distance learning.

References:
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2011) Teaching and Learning at a
Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA. Pearson Education, Inc.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [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 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70-75.
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.

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