What theories or research can inform your current practice of distance learning?
Moore and Kearsey reported, “…that unless industrial methods are used, distance education will not be successful. These techniques include systematic planning, specialization of the workforce, mass production of materials, automation, standardization, and quality control, as well as using a full range of modern communications technologies” (p.208). This theory that derived from Otto Peter clearly points out that similar to contigious learning as they call it, which is learning in the classroom, distance learning must have a clear structure to be effective.
I found it interesting when Moore and Kearsey shared the theory of Transactional Distance. They stated that this theory is based on education in terms of being “more distant or less distant” (p. 209). I had never thought of education when it’s face to face being distant at all. However, this is true in that there is some distance between teacher and student in traditional classrooms. Some students in class are more distant than others when they have issues they’re dealing with at home or with other students. Some students are just naturally introverted, as are some adults.
Anderson believes that, “Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student–teacher; student—student; student–content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience” (p.215). I find this interesting in the sense that if teacher-student relationships are not optimal, a student can still benefit with the help of other students or focus on the content. I completely agree with this. In my classes each year I encourage my students to help each other and seek help from others when needed. I feel that kids benefit from teaching content they understand and those that are having trouble benefit from hearing content from peers.
In discussing what factors support student success, there were a lot of interesting findings. Moore and Kearsey stated, “Results also indicated that individuals differ significantly in their academic achievement according to profile; for example, minimal and disorganized profiles of self-regulated learning are both associated with similar, poorer academic outcomes” (p.226).
This correlates with C. Wolfe’s finding from eLearn Magazine. She stated, “Distance learning students must take a far more active role in learning and accessing information than traditional students in face-to-face classrooms (Dec. 2009). Wolfe continued to say, “As a distance learning student, you will find that being pro-active and engaged in your personal learning experience will pay off in good grades and depth of learning” (Dec. 2009).
Get Educated reported that students should do five things to contribute to success. These include 1) Implement a career choice program, 2) Increase social media engagement, 3) Offer e-advising, 4) Online tutoring services and 5) Encourage online study groups. I found this to be an interesting addition to Moore and Kearsley’s information on distance education. They say that engaging with others online will reduce the feeling of isolation felt by many students taking distance education courses.
geteducated.com. (n.d.) 5 Best Practices in Distance Learning Improve Online Student Success. Retrieved from: http://www.geteducated.com/elearning-education-blog/5-best-practices-in-distance-learning-improve-online-student-success/
Moore, Michael G.; Kearsley, Greg (2011-04-22). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning (Whats New in Education). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.
Wolfe, C. (2009-12). 10 Ways to ensure distance learning success. Retrieved from: http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=1670618