Archive for the ‘Distance education’ Category
A review of the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning. The articles presented in this report provide an overview of research literature in:
• Distance education
• Blended learning
• Online learning
• MOOC research
• Future learning technology infrastructures
Higher education is changing. central to this change is the transition from a physically based learning model to one that makes greater use of digital technologies. A brave, new landscape of toolsets is now emerging, each with various elements of control, integration, ownership, and structure. As leaders, educators, and students begin selecting tools for enterprise deployment, questions of control and ownership become as important as questions of integration and structure. More importantly, the technologies selected will determine the quality of learning, the scope of teaching practices, and ultimately, how well learners are equipped for both employment and engagement in democratic and equitable models of modern global society.
Considering the promise of open, distance and e-learning – ODeL – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.