Distance education is a growing trend in education and training and is therefore, rapidly transforming the field of training that companies will offer their employees as well as, education for students birth to 100. The defined of distance education “as institution-based, formal education where the leaning group is separate, and here interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, Smaldiino, & Zvacek, 2015) provides a basis for what distance education. However, the definition should also include “separated by geography and sometimes time (Laureate Education, n.d.)”. As both a student and my career as an educator has been impacted by distance education.
The four components of distance education:
A. Instructionally based
B. Separation of Teacher and Student
C. Interactive telecommunications
D. Sharing of data, voice, and video experiences (Simonson, Smaldiino, & Zvacek, 2015)
Are part of my experience in education, first as a student I received my degree in special education by attending weekly classes at a local school, where the instructor was visible to us on a large screen. Not only did he instruct our group of students, but another group of student in another city. We all received the same lecture and as stated in the definition, we received the same resources. If a student wanted to speak during the discussion or ask a question, we had to push button that allowed both groups and the instructor to hear the comment or question. The class was conducted in real time. All of our assignments were sent via email and tests were in the classroom or via computer.
Next as a freelance educator, I conduct lessons with individual students or groups of students in real time, but they are in another part of the country and world. In addition, all other communication is completed via email or a special app. I develop curriculum and work as an adjunct professor for a institution in Florida. I developed the material for the class and recently did a Facebook live as an introduction to the class. Methods of delivery do not limit themselves to a large screen or a video camera, but also Google hangout, zoom, and Facebook just to name a few. In addition, I have conducted webinars (both synchronously and asynchronous ly) as part of professional development for other educators in the US.
Distance education provides a cost effective means for individuals to learn and study at their own pace, with the assistance of real time instructor who can answer questions, provide materials and help them to progress with their education or training. I think Dr. Simonson is correct in his view that distance education will become the “traditional method” of education and training for the next generation.
Distance Learning Timeline Continuum. Laureate Education (Producer) n.d. Distance Education: The next
generation (Video file) https://class.waldenu.edu
Simonson, M., Smaldiino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015) Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance
Education (6th Ed) Information Age Publishing, Inc.