Dr. Celeste Fenton
EDUC 6135: Distance Learning
Future perception of distance learning
The way we live, communicate, and learn are always evolving. Technology is advancing at a rate unlike any other time in history and distance learning will change as well. In 1993, the first free source code for the internet was made available in the public domain (History.com., 2020). Not even 30 years later, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2018 there were 6,932,074 students enrolled in a distance learning degree-granting postsecondary institution (NCES., n.d.). The migration to distance learning institutions is in full effect and society’s perception of distance learning will also improve as more and more students move to an online program. The future perception of distance learning seems bright and there is a growing acceptance of distance learning (Laureate Education, n.d.).
Improving societal perceptions
As an instructional designer, I believe that it is important to improve the societal perceptions of distance learning. The rise of college degree scams and diploma mills negatively impacted the perception of distance learning and like all new technological advances, distance learning is subjected to skeptics and critics. However, it is still my belief that the perception of distance learning is shifting toward the positive. Future perception relies on the integrity of online institutions. It is important that educators, administrators, and institutions operate at the highest level. Educating potential students on how to find and select accredited online programs is a step in the right direction. Instructional designers should also conduct a learner analysis to determine if a student is ready for a distance learning program. Creating online guides for new distance learning students can be advantageous as well.
Success and student satisfaction in a program is often an indicator of perception. Implementing systems to help increase student satisfaction is important for the continued success on online institutions. A study meant to predict student satisfaction was conducted by Alqurashi (2019). The aim of the study was to explore how self-efficacy and various interactions can impact student satisfaction and perceived learning. The study looked at four factors: online learning self-efficacy, learner-content interaction, learner-instructor interaction, and learner-learner interaction (Alqurashi, 2019).
Being a positive force
In addition to maintaining the highest levels of integrity, there are a number of ways instructional designers can be a positive force for the continuous improvement of distance learning. The first is to contribute to the body of knowledge by become a life-long learner. Another way to become a positive force is to use research-based models of instruction. It is also important to ensure that all content that is created follows an acceptable model and is aligned to the learning goals identified for the course. The study mentioned earlier found that the strongest indicator of student satisfaction was the learner-content interaction (Alqurashi, 2019) therefore content must be designed to be effective and engaging (Walsh, 2017). Creating a sense of community is important for leaner and instructor success. In a distance learning setting it can help learners feel more connected to others and it is an important component of student evaluation (Simonson, 2019).
Alqurashi, E. (2019). Predicting student satisfaction and perceived learning within online learning environments. Distance Education, 40(1), 133–148. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1080/01587919.2018.1553562
History.com. (2020, March 30). World Wide Web (WWW) launches in the public domain. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-wide-web-launches-in-public-domain
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
NCES. (n.d.). Fast facts: distance learning. National Center for Education Statistics. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80
Simonson, M., Zvacek, S., & Smaldino, S. (2019). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (7th ed.) Information Age Publishing. The Peak Performance Center. (n.d.). Terminal Objectives and Enabling Objectives.
Walsh, K., (2017). Mayer’s 12 principles of multimedia learning are a powerful design resource. Emerging EdTech. https://www.emergingedtech.com/2017/06/mayers-12-principles-of-multimedia-learning-are-a-powerful-design-resource/