Distance learning is an interesting topic. More people must learn faster and without traveling. The first topic that comes to mind when speaking of distance is virtual classroom training. I have taken many technical classes where I was in my home attending a class that was delivered by a program such as WebEx. This is a hosting program that connects users to view and hear the same information. This allows for information to taught from a source of truth and delver the same message. The students will access the site and then be given work to perform from their own computers. This type of delivery could be clunky.
While working at the healthcare system we have created two types of distance learning. One being a facilitator delivers the learning on Performance Management learning. The facilitator discusses a topic and then asks for reactions from the students either vocally, clicking a response button, or typing in chat. We have also used free mobile apps that allow for the facilitator to poll the audience. This type of technology connects the students in a very powerful way. The other type of distance learning has been where a facilitator highlights the changes in programs that will affect many students.The students attend and listen, they may chat to answer questions or they ask questions through that medium.
There are four main components that lead to distance learning, separation of students and teacher, institutional learning, formal training and communication through telecommunication devices Simonson, et al, (2015). This opens the door for the educational community in academia as well as corporate learning institutions to teach to many students in many different locations.
In a new curriculum we will be connecting the resources, students and instructors through the learning management system that we use for the system. The students will receive the resources for the class as activities through HealthStream perform some work prior to attending a virtual class led by an instructor. While the definition for distance learning is directly linked to the academic formal learning Edwards (1995) discusses the term open learning as learning that offers solutions to the learning that is needed outside of the formal learning organizations.
Edwards, R. (1995), Different discourses, discourses of difference:Globalisation, distance education and open learning. Distance Education, 16(2) 217-240.
Simonson, M; Smaldino, S; Zvacek, S (2015) Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education Chapter 2, “Definitions, History, and Theories of Distance Education” (pp. 31–40 only)