What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?
Within the past few courses that I have taken online through Walden University, as well as the full developmental experience of an online course, I now understand how to distinguish between appropriate uses of distance learning. Universities, corporations, and business understand the significance and growth through online training and course offerings. Students, employees, and trainees are showing positive attitudes about online learning. This is largely due to having the experience communicating online. People who are use to the traditional face-to-face communication are starting to realize that they are able to have meaningful relationships to online mediums (Siemens 2010).
The future of distance learning in the next 5-10 years will continue to be the driving interest of emerging technologies coupled with new learning theories to assess learning achievements. I have learned that learning online is not related to achievement but is related to measureable learning outcomes. We will continue to see the development of courseware focus on real world problems and interaction through gaming and simulation. We will begin to see an increase and acceptances of the more intelligent F2F cultures that possess the characteristics begin to embrace this learning style. They will come to the conclusion that they are not generally different but have more similarities. Dr. Siemens (2010) recognized that the notion of distance-geographical location isn’t a significant factor as we thought it was even five years ago. This is probably tied into the new tools and the practical experience with these new tools.
How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?
Distance education is becoming a good way to acquire knowledge separate from traditional methods of attending the classroom (Schmidt, 2001). As an instructional designer my goal will be to promote the experience of the distance learner as complete, satisfying, and acceptable as that of the traditional learner. The more I can advocate equivalent alternatives that provide various ways of learning, the better the learning experience. Helping new users become comfortable with the environment will decrease the conflicting pressures of students that are content with learning only through F2F. People who are use to the traditional face-to-face communication are starting to realize that they are able to have meaningful relationships to online mediums (Siemens 2010).
How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?
For over the past the past 15 years, I have been committed to the design and development of content for the distance learning experience. In 2009, I decided to further my career by pursuing a Masters Degree in Instructional Design at Walden University. I felt a true calling in the field of distance education for the company and college with whom I am currently employed. Through the application of technology, I am able to enable learners to receive instruction anytime, anywhere.
I will continue to stay educated on new forms of technology, research, and opportunities for further growth. I will continue to understand the importance of previous and future theories that impacts my practice in the field. Also, I will be able to develop theories of my own that will be of great benefit and ongoing work of instructional design for universities, corporations, and businesses.
In conclusion, I will continue to promote, develop, and design learning environments for individuals who require a different mix of learning experience. Schmidt (2001) suggests that the goal of course development is to provide the student with the best possible scenario where learning outcomes will be maximized. The professors at Walden University have given me a solid foundation in which to build on. If nothing else, I will start with engaging learners with valid subject matter content and learning activities that support and activate the learning experience.
Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3). Retrieved from http://atmae.org/jit/Articles/schmidt041801.pdf
Siemens, G. (2010). The future of distance education [Video podcast]. Laureate, Inc.