Learning Technologies of Change

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Archive for the ‘Distance education’ Category

The promise of open, distance and e-learning

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Considering the promise of open, distance and e-learningODeL – we need to take cognisance of the high expectations that post-secondary school education will solve many current societal crises, such as unemployment and gross inequalities. Realising the potential of ODeL is, however, intimately connected to trends in the international higher education landscape and the causal power of social, political, economic, technological, environmental as well as policy (legal) structures. There is also an increasing realisation that post-secondary education cannot, on its own, solve unemployment and other societal ills, without consideration of the structural limitations of economic policies, political and societal stability, technological infrastructure, environmental concerns and national policy and legal frameworks. There is no doubt that ODeL has huge potential to contribute to economic growth, erase inter-generational poverty and address societal injustices and inequalities. Realising its potential however depends on a sober assessment of ODeL as one variable among many interdependent and often mutually constitutive factors in local and international post-secondary school contexts.

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Written by learningchange

16/03/2014 at 10:19

Motives for Lifelong Learners to Choose Web‐based Courses

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Due to societal changes there is a growing need for distant and adult learning. The reason to participate in education and the choices that students make may differ. In this study the factors age, gender, rate of studies and parenthood have been analysed in order to see how these relate to different motivational factors for choosing a web-based course. The data has been based on a questionnaire, covering 1270 beginner students in the spring semester of 2011 and contains their background characteristics and items focusing on their motives. These could be categorized into four different motives: (1) Format, (2) Content, (3) Economic, and (4) Curiosity. The results showed that Format was regarded as the most important factor for choosing an Internet-based course, followed by Content, Curiosity and the Economic factor. Furthermore, group differences were investigated with respect to age, gender, parenthood and rate of study. The findings show that distant education fulfils an important function for mature students, women and students with children. These groups presumably consider the flexibility that web-based courses provide advantageous. Family situations or working-life obligations may contribute to this. Changes in people’s working lives are likely to continue, which presumably increases the demand for flexible learning situations.

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Distance Education in Transition – Developments and Issues

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In this book Distance Education in Transition. New Trends and Challenges, Professor Otto Peters makes a major contribution to this specific domain of knowledge.  The fundamental position that Professor Peters adopts is that in preparing our students for life in the knowledge economy, and learning in a digital environment, the aim should be to provide opportunities for autonomous learning not heteronomous learning. We should strive for a pedagogy that is learner centered and interactive, providing an opportunity for learners to be self-directed, self-reliant and self-regulated. He contrasts this with the pedagogy that has been dominant for centuries – that of expository teaching and receptive learning. In the new environment, that many are embracing, Professor Peters suggest we – the teachers – will no longer be the source of all information and content; our role will change to that of guide and facilitator.

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Written by learningchange

22/10/2012 at 14:56

Posted in Distance education

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The Dance of Technology and Pedagogy in Self-Paced Distance Education

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This paper describes the dance like relationship between pedagogy and technologies that creates distance education programming. Using a dance metaphor, the paper describes earlier generation of distance education and notes the evolving role of the self-paced learner as a focus of distance education. The paper argues that control of the learning sequence is an important pedagogical issue and that new tools of networked learning can afford opportunities for social interaction, while retaining self-paced programming control. The paper explores and defines connectivism as a pedagogical lens to look at both learning activities and technologies.

Self-paced instruction of the past century challenged older models of education based upon seat time in lectures. In this century self-paced instruction challenges both seat-based lectures and predominate group and cohort based models of distance education. Though disruptive to these older models it promises a model of education that maximizes individual freedoms and choice, supports participative course designs and thus is a an appropriate new dance for the networked era.

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Written by learningchange

19/10/2012 at 12:24

Learning Design Implementation for Distance e-Learning

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This paper looks at how the educational design process changes with technology and provides a few examples of how modern tools and techniques are being used and implemented to design high quality (socio)-constructivist learning environments. It proposes an integrated model for learning design supported by implemented case-studies in the context of learning transformation processes that are ongoing at the University of Mauritius. The aim is to demonstrate how the blending of innovative technologies and pedagogies can result in high quality constructive learning experiences that eliminate the ‘distance’ paradox in so-called distance learning environments.

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Written by learningchange

19/10/2012 at 11:23

Three generations of Technology enhanced Distance Education Pedagogy

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This paper expands on an earlier work, Three generations of distance education pedagogy, by describing the technologies and the synergetic results of using effective pedagogy in combination with emerging technologies – to create powerful learning opportunities. Unlike earlier classifications of distance education, which were based solely on the technology used, this analysis focuses on the pedagogy that defines the learning experiences encapsulated in the learning and instructional designs. The three generations of technology enhanced teaching are cognitive/behaviourist, social constructivist and connectivist. The paper looks at recent developments in emerging educational technology and discusses the ways in which these tools can be used and optimized to enhance the different types of learning that are the focus of distance education theory and practice.

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Read also: Three generations of distance education pedagogy

Written by learningchange

19/10/2012 at 11:01

Applying the community of inquiry framework to an online professional practice doctoral program

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The community of inquiry (CoI) framework has commonly been used to study teaching and learning in online courses. This paper describes the implementation of the CoI framework in a cohort-based online EdD program, where teaching presence and cognitive presence were easier to foster than social presence. Based on the results of an initial evaluation, suggestions are made to expand the components of the CoI framework when using it at a program level. Lessons learned from the implementation are also shared to assist others wishing to apply the CoI framework to online graduate programs.

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Written by learningchange

08/10/2011 at 15:40

Distance students’ readiness for social media and collaboration

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In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the use of social networking tools and social media in general, mainly for social, recreational, and entertainment purposes. Many educators believe that these tools offer new educational affordances and avenues for students to interact with each other and with their teachers or tutors. Considering the traditional dropout rate problem documented in distance courses, these tools may be of special interest for distance education institutions as they have the potential to assist in the critical “social integration” associated with persistence. However, as distance students are typically older than regular on-campus students, little is known about their expertise with social media or their interest in harnessing these tools for informal learning or collaborating with peers.

To investigate these issues, an online questionnaire was distributed to students from four large Canadian distance education institutions. A systematic sampling procedure led to 3,462 completed questionnaires. The results show that students have diverse views and experiences, but they also show strong and significant age and gender differences in a variety of measures, as well as an important institution effect on the student’s interest in collaboration. Males and younger students scored higher on almost all indicators. These age and gender differences should be interpreted cautiously, however, as they are based on self-reported measures. The limits of the study, as well as future developments and research questions, are outlined.

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Quality assurance in Asian distance education: Diverse approaches and common culture

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With the phenomenal expansion of distance education in Asia during the past three decades, there has been growing public demand for quality and accountability in distance education. This study investigates the national quality assurance systems for distance education at the higher education level in Asia with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of the current level of development of quality assurance in Asian distance education and to offer potential directions for policy makers when developing and elaborating quality assurance systems for distance education. The analysis of the existing quality assurance frameworks in the 11 countries/territories selected reveals that the level of quality assurance policy integration in the overall national quality assurance in higher education policy framework varies considerably. The purpose of quality assurance, policy frameworks, methods, and instruments in place are generally tailored to each country’s particular circumstances. There are, however, obvious commonalities that underpin these different quality assurance efforts.

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Written by learningchange

08/10/2011 at 15:26

Examining motivation in online distance learning environments: Complex, multifaceted and situation-dependent

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Existing research into motivation in online environments has tended to use one of two approaches. The first adopts a trait-like model that views motivation as a relatively stable, personal characteristic of the learner. Research from this perspective has contributed to the notion that online learners are, on the whole, intrinsically motivated. The alternative view concentrates on the design of online learning environments to encourage optimal learner motivation. Neither approach acknowledges a contemporary view of motivation that emphasises the situated, mutually constitutive relationship of the learner and the learning environment. Using self-determination theory (SDT) as a framework, this paper explores the motivation to learn of preservice teachers in two online distance-learning contexts. In this study, learners were found to be not primarily intrinsically motivated. Instead, student motivation was found to be complex, multifaceted, and sensitive to situational conditions.

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