Distance Learning in the 21st Century

distance_educationThe emergence of the knowledge economy had a powerful effect on business and education and studying. First, technology greatly affected training, educating, studying and handling practices. Companies were able to eliminate middle managers whose primary function was sending information between the top management and front line workers. Companies went “flat,” when leading supervisors could directly connect with front line workers using information technology innovation. Also, workers who were directly engaged in production or providing services were included in “quality circles” to share the pressure of handling the company with the managing class. This “downsizing” or “rightsizing” of the company also removed the stand up instructor in many organizations. Training could be placed on the World Wide Web, without the need for an instructor or company to present such details to students. Further, workers could access instruction at their convenience thus reducing time they would spend away from their projects in training, at times hundreds of kilometers away from their work stations. This way of training, known as distance learning, was developed in the organization separate of the theoretical and practical improvements in distance education in European countries and the United States. Concept and practice of online studying in educational surroundings strongly prescribed connections with an instructor and highlighted its importance. Nevertheless, the telecom and computer nexus allowed some businesses to incorporate training with working, giving rise to new ideas, such as, just-in-time training. This was obtained in certain cases through the creation of performance support systems, which directly allowed workers to link studying to projects at hand.

Today distance education is successful among home school students, K-12 educational institutions and universities, many of which require synchronous or asynchronous connections with an instructor while depending on instruction on the Web. Distance education, however has grown extremely in organizations and government organizations, including the army, where there is little or no interaction with an instructor.

While the number of those who are engaged in various forms of distance learning may pale in comparison to those who are studying in traditional ways, the important aspect is the steady rate at which distance students are increasing. If current trends continue, it will be just a matter of time for online studying to become the prominent way of studying and educating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *