Ways for Your Distance Education

Distance_LearningChallenges are a part of distance learning education. If you are a nursing student, for instance, the challenge is to go about your time receiving instructions from a superior who is miles away from you.

Distance education enables you to become independent. You learn things through discovery and research at your own time and pace. In that, you must build a sense of responsibility over your actions because your teacher is not around to guide you like in a conventional classroom. Perhaps you might have apprehensions with the idea of distance education. But that happens all the time with many students. Here are a few tips on how to overcome such fears.

  • Don’t be too self-conscious about the words used in distance education. Learning the terminologies in online education takes time.  Learn as you go. You will discover that the thought remains the same, only words differ.
  • Remember that there are a lot of students going for distance education. If you can, reach out to them and compare each others’ lessons. In that way, you are compensating for the things lacking when you attend a traditional classroom.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions. This is the only way you will learn, and learn fast. For all you know, your online instructor is interested in you asking questions than him spoon-feeding you.
  • Also remember that you are not the only one your instructor is dealing with. Increase skills in doing research as much as possible. Augment your online education by adding other learning materials in relation to your course.

However, distance education is not a match to everyone. Some students need a classroom environment to stay focused and motivated, which comes at a much higher dollar cost, and time and travel commitment. But if you can find the self-discipline required for distance education, the rewards are limitless.

Correspondence and Distance Education Differences

Nowadays, distance education is much popularly known as online education because of its use of the Internet as an instructional delivery model. And while correspondence education is part of distance education, they have differences in delivery methods, academic rigor, and convenience and flexibility factors.

3d e-learning conceptCorrespondence education was first developed in the mid-nineteenth century in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States to make education available to those who do not have access to a university. The course materials in correspondence education are given to the learner via mail or electronic means. Meanwhile, distance education takes advantage of the fast Internet technology in delivering instructional materials. It typically uses emails and live chats, as well as audio or video recording.

Distance education is far more rigorous compared to the traditional correspondence education. That is because it offers a more interactive environment. The teacher and the student, even student-to-student, despite being in different locations, can have a quasi-face-to-face environment that enhances the academic rigor. Traditional correspondence education, on the other hand, is done through mail delivery that fails to offer any type of interaction among students, all the more student-to-teacher interaction. In other words, correspondence education is static while online education is fluid and dynamic.

As for convenience and flexibility, both distance education and correspondence education offer a good autonomy to learners. The difference is that one has limited freedom while the other has too much of it. Online education, although flexible, still has deadlines for posting reactions on discussion boards which makes it not as flexible as correspondence education that has a “hands off” approach. There is a downside to too much freedom in correspondence education though. It may not be a good thing to all learners as it requires self-motivation and self-discipline.

The Blessings of Distance Learning Systems

Distance learning systems has become a blessing to the field of education. Despite the shortfalls in technology, this alternative way of learning has becoming promising for the 21st century learners. Let’s delve deeper into the advantages of Distance learning.

  • dlsConvenience of time and space
  • This is one of the biggest edge of distance learning. Students no longer have to drive all their way to be present in a class, physically present beside the instructor, gather study materials from the library, or gather together with other students.
  • Some students who are partly working, have time restrictions and may not study in a traditional class setting. Distance learning may provide them the opportunity to perform academics despite having work.

In addition, young adults won’t have to go far away from their state to get formal education. With various distance learning system, students can learn effectively as in a classroom.

  • Saves Money
  • Cost for online learning is much cheaper than on-campus counterparts. Students worry less since they don’t need to pay for commute, lodging, uniform, canteen, and miscellaneous school fees.
  • Online programs offer modules that can be downloaded on the computer. So, the need for bulky books will be somewhat eradicated. The cost for school supplies such as paper, pen, and notebook will no longer be needed due to the notepad feature offered free by Microsoft windows.
  • Earning while Learning
  • As mentioned, students can work at the same time study. When you have a job, you have income, and with a stable income, you are able to support your studies without plunging yourself from debt – unlike every one else.

These are some of the obvious advantages Distance learning systems can give. Efforts in improving the system is still going on, and great possibilities are to be expected in the future.

 

Tutoring on Distance Education

morning at homeDistance education nowadays is an important learning method to reach students in distant locations and to remove geographical and cultural barriers. It offers education in online classrooms and set schedules that will meet the needs of its students who are busy with their work or career. The teacher will be behind the program, communicating with his students through programs and applications and provide lectures, assignments and activities.

Though learning is much easier since the internet provides a lot of references and learning materials, it may also need the help of a tutor. The problem with distance learning is that it lacks motivation for students to study, work on their activities or join group discussions. This is because they are just online and may lead them to do other things than going to their classes. In this case, tutor support is vital. Teachers must be able to help motivate, remind, guide and help students. They must be available to tutor students with the topics that can be hard to learn without actual explanation.

Distance education also requires alterations in behavior of the teacher and also the student. The effective student evolves persistence and self-motivation. The effective distance education teacher becomes fluent with new technology and evolves new training styles to effectively help students. Today, using the most advanced technology and also the effective multimedia interactions between instructors and students, information is easily transmitted. Efficient tutor support in distance learning is basically determined by how quickly a distance education instructor can learn new technology, devise new teaching techniques and manage student expectations.

By being passionate with the job, any instructor can be the best tutor support in distance learning courses. They must bring enthusiasm, promote involvement and curiosity and develop student’s skills and learning. Distance education can be as good or surpass the quality of classroom learning by providing enough, sufficient and effective tutoring support to students.

Defining Distance Education

Distance education needs to be clearly defined and understood for a variety of reasons. Without a clear meaning, significant discussion and analysis on pedagogy cannot occur. Furthermore, a precise meaning is important for both teachers and students when thinking about distance education and learning. Interpreting distance education and learning is made more difficult because the development of this type of education has changed quickly from first-generation correspondence education and learning to fifth-generation intelligent flexible learning. Furthermore, there are multiple published explanations. Before developing a usable meaning, it is helpful to see how distance education’s meaning has been both created and pushed up to now.

distance_educationValentine talks about distance-learning explanations by discovering colleagues’ differing views. He declares, “Greenberg (1998) describes contemporary online learning as planned teaching/learning experiences that used a wide variety of technologies to reach the student at a distance and is designed to encourage student interaction and documentation of learning.” However, Valentine’s notes that Greenberg’s meaning doesn’t address whether the student is learning asynchronously or synchronously. Valentine says that Teaster and Bliezner’s (1999) meaning makes clear that distance education and learning happens when the student is separate in space and possibilities. But the author features that technological innovation isn’t mentioned at all in Teaster and Bliezner’s meaning.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2009) describes online learning as “an educational process in which all or the majority of the instruction happens with the instructor and student in different locations.” In this meaning, Center States makes no mention of technological innovation or whether learning is going on asynchronously or synchronously. In evaluating Keegan’s meaning, Valentine says, “Keegan (1995) gives the most thorough meaning. He says that distance education and learning and training result from the technological separation of instructor and student, which liberates the student from the necessity of traveling to ‘a set position, at a set time, to meet a set person, in order to be trained’.” While Keegan’s meaning of online learning is indeed thorough, it is not able to determine education and learning. Learning and education do differ. Furthermore, for successful research to begin, defining online education and learning is imperative.

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.

Increase of Distance Education Popularity

Nearly 22,000 students registered in online learning applications or distance education courses through South Dakota’s community colleges during the 2012-13 school year, up 8.5% from the year before and up 65% overall during the last five years.  The reported numbers were discussed by the state Board of Regents, whose members govern the community colleges.  Students in distance programs in the last year most frequently were undergraduates (75.5%), part-timers (69.9%) and female (64%).  The University of South Dakota had the largest slice of online learning with 34.4% of the registration and nearly 38% of the applications.

distance_educationSouth Dakota State University was right behind in registration at 33.4%, followed by Black Hills State University at 13.2, Northern State University 9.2, Dakota State University 7.8 and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 2.0.  Distance education covers a variety of delivery methods. Some are available solely through the Internet; others combine Internet and video technology and also involve correspondence and there are classroom programs at off-campus locations. Students getting distance programs increasingly tend to be from outside South Dakota.

The 6,394 non-residents came from almost every state in the nation last year and represented just shy of 30% of the total getting distance programs. Five years earlier, the number was 2,399, just under 24%. Non-degree seeking learners comprised 30.9% of undergraduates and 61.4% of graduate-level learners in distance education programs last year. Nursing, elementary education, pre-nursing and biology were the top four degree-specific programs for undergraduates. Among degree-specific programs, learners registered most often in education administration, business, administrative studies and curriculum and education.

What Makes Distance Learning Unique

Distance learning is a method which ­provides tremendous advantage, not only to the student’s population but also to the community as a whole. When a student goes to a university, they get a regular degree. The degree becomes more appropriate to the society along with being appropriate to the student. Distance learning offers programs in non-traditional places. So, it is wrong to say that it is a leftover school for students who do not get entrance in a university.

Hands on a globeWhat makes distance learning different from a physical university? There are three elements that make distance learning vary from any other studying, i.e. ­self-learning print content. This is further reinforced by audio-video packages delivered through tele­conferencing, internet classrooms and counseling. Students appear in on the internet degree programs with different levels of capabilities, but success in college needs many different abilities. In addition to the fundamentals, such as numeracy and literacy, certain soft abilities associated with teamwork, such as flexibility and group interaction, are critical to on the internet college student success. Online learners must also master specialized abilities, such as using computer systems and Internet systems, to function successfully in school. The most frequently mentioned single reason for college student drop-out—both online and at brick-and-mortar schools is profession indecision. Guaranteeing learners have a clear education plan that suits their profession objectives should be an institutional priority.

Numerous internet resources are available to help students choose an educational field that suits their strong points and profession objectives. One specific profession choice system that schools implemented is the Idea Generator. This system offers a short internet test that links learners to a profession area entered to their passions and strong points.

Distance Education Pros and Cons

As we know, the world is getting smaller and we are living in a global village. An individual in one place can talk in real time to an individual on the other side of the world. Technology has effectively reduced the globe. Technological innovation has impacted every element of our everyday life. No one has stayed unchanged with this trend. In this article we will talk about an element where technologies have really made a big change: online studying. Now you can sit in a distant area of a country and understand everything as if you are seated in a college classroom. Distance education has drastically changed the way we see higher education. It is a growing trend all over the globe and people are interested to know more about the trend.

distance-educationBefore you make up your mind to be a part of distance education, you should know its benefits and drawbacks.

  • Study from Anywhere, AnytimeThe best thing about online studying is you can participate from anywhere and often, at anytime you want. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are living, you can be a part of course work.
  • Flexibility of TimeNormally, distance education offers versatility of your time and effort. It gives complete independence to choose your own time frame for taking courses.
  • No CommutingI dislike traveling. If you are looking for online coursework, then you will benefit from not having to travel in populated vehicles or local trains to attend a physical classroom session.

However, with benefits there are some drawbacks of online studying. Here are some.

  • Limited or No Interaction with Instructors and ProfessorsThe most severe thing about distance education is you might not be able to communicate directly with your lecturer or teachers. In fact, often you cannot even talk about it to friends and other co-workers like you can do in a normal higher education course.
  • Lack of Severity, Competitors and Learning Environment – Sometimes, you cannot substitute a real higher education atmosphere with an exclusive higher education atmosphere on your computer. In online studying, your environment does not lend to a feeling of focus that is present in a classroom setting when class is given by the professor. Self discipline becomes an absolute must.

Future of Higher and Distance Education

Just in case, just soon enough, just enough, just for me… What do these say about our degree components, the time (and resources) our learners need to finish full credentials developed in a past era and where the truth of obsolescence need different responses? These three experiences also provide some feeling of a possible upcoming gestalt of greater and online. In a course I am, I had to elaborate on the different opportunities for and difficulties in using asynchronous and synchronous technology in online situations. I also registered for the Open MOOC provided by Henry Siemens and Rory McGreal discovering the history of open knowledge. The third experience composed an involvement with a school in my home organization showing on issues about the number of our learners who do not finish a three-year bachelor’s degree in eight years’ time.

There is furthermore proof that non-academic aspects such as changes in clients’ life-worlds, institutional problems and macro-societal aspects, etc., effect more on clients’ choices to dropout or stop-out than educational aspects. The high dropout rate in distance education should therefore not be used as proof that learners studying through range and open studying are of smaller quality or have fewer prospects than learners in private colleges. Distance education and studying also draws different types of learners making any evaluation between complete prices in personal and online organizations trivial.

If we agree that most online learners take about 50 percent of the course load per season than private learners, it seems affordable that online learners finish a three-year bachelor’s degree program in six years. If we consider that learners do not complete all of their programs in time and may repeat programs, then eight years for a three-year undergrad certification does not seem to be irrational. How does this describe the 40% dropout and 30% that take more a chance to finish? It doesn’t…