Life by Design

The Future of Distance Learning – A Reflection

Posted on: October 29, 2010



Distance learning is certainly gaining attention and credibility as more and more educational institutions and commercial organizations are turning to technology to help deliver education to a wider population at a lower cost.


Presently, there still seems to be some public perception that distance education can’t deliver the same rigor and content that online courses can.  This perception is partially aided by Universities and other educational institutions that focus on the features of convenience and courses for the ‘working adult’ in lieu of marketing and featuring the high standards of both their courses and faculty.  It is entirely possible to convert a rigorous course offered by institutions such as MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Yale and the like into distance education that would meet the very same requirements as classroom education.  One of the main things that change in this scenario is that the learning goes from teacher-centered to learner-centered.


There will be more acceptance of distance learning in the future as technology keeps becoming more and more user friendly, more institutions jump on the bandwagon and the global community of educators begin to collaborate on distributive learning for the good of the whole.


As an instructional designer, I can be a positive force for change by working in settings such as universities, and organizations and promoting the idea as a ways to accomplish more with less. Also, I am a living example of a consumer of online education.  My cohorts and colleagues can see that this is a viable medium to explore.  Currently, in my community of Eugene, Oregon I am working as a community organizer to try to begin the conversation about educational reform in our county.  I can see that online education can be a way to not only augment the traditional classroom but also address the ever-increasing budget cuts in our county.


I can continue to be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education by keeping up with the continuing changes in technology, software and techniques.  Also, there is a paucity of research that has been done in certain areas, so perhaps I can contribute to the field this way as well.  Evidence based research often helps to move a field forward.




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