The Mindmap

The Mindmap

Distance learning; wait ….distance…….learning….learning from a distance? Yeah, I don’t think this is possible but maybe I’m wrong. The way I learn is by what is presented to me by a vast multitude of media and I cannot accomplish this from a distance unless I have a telescope or binoculars. I see, hear, and feel what I see, hear, and feel; this is how learning and retention is accomplished. I know, yes, I’m being facetious.

Now, to the task at hand; to answer a few questions in regards to distance learning and basically what it is to me. My definition of distance learning hasn’t always been as defined in my mind as it is now; distance learning was something I was involved with since 1995 but never really put my finger on it until I began this Graduate program. Distance learning began with me receiving a series of books in the mail and taking the test on-line when I could finally could afford a computer but back then I didn’t comprehend or even know the term “distance learning”.

Revised definition

What distance learning will be in the future can be summed up in one word, spectacular. Technology advancing by leaps and bounds has enabled educators and instructional designers to explore the realms of imagination that was unheard of or even fathomed just a few short years ago. I can envision more and more classrooms found on-line, not just college courses. Simonson et all I (2012) envisioned the day “when work done by correspondence will be greater in amount than that done in the classroom…” I concur. I can see holograms and literal virtual classes being conducted in classroom settings while the students are sitting in their living rooms, bedrooms, or beside the pool. This may begin with avatars but real representations of the students could soon follow.

Distance learning began with me almost 20 years ago with mail and a website. Today distance learning is my sole mode of attending classes. Even during the last few years of my military career, distance learning was emerging as an effective training aid to prepare a Soldier for an upcoming school. I have to confess; I was vehemently opposed to using on-line training in the Army training doctrine because nothing is as good as sitting in a classroom of your peers and human interaction. Not. In an article titled The Evolution of Distance Education, Tracy and Richey (2005) imply that computer based training is the fastest-growing form of education today.  Get ready folks, there’s more distance learning where that came from.

References:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Tracey, M., & Richey, R. (2005). The evolution of distance education. Distance Learning, 2(6), 17–21.