Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek, 2012 point to distance education as being as effective as traditional education with better attitudes and with no significant difference when it comes to learning outcomes (pg 87). The authors write that most of the learners who were successful had certain traits that predicted achievement. “[…] students tend to be more intelligent, emotionally stable, trusting, compulsive, passive, and conforming than traditional student,” (Simonson, et at., 2012, pg 75). This is great news as they are writing to an adulatory audience! But could it be that we have similar learning experiences, education level and motivations that brought us to where we are? The authors touched on distance learners with varying education levels had different study strategies and that learners who did not complete college were at a higher risk in regards coursework and taking exams (pg 74). So it would be interesting to find ways that instructional designer can corral these learners who are not the distance learners by choice to give them more structure, direction and emotional connection to their subject matter.
In Moore (2013), the development of distance education in the developing world has been due to “the desire to overcome the short comings of established schooling practices” (pg 697). Moore continues in the chapter’s concluding thoughts whether it is prudent to have distance education emulate traditional classroom practices or to reconceptualize it so that it is open to all and freely accessible (pg 708).
We talked a bit about learner motivation in our week one discussion and I believe it is the main factor for learner success. How do we motivate learners who are at risk (like the ones discussed in the first paragraph) or who do not have much knowledge of the world but what is in front of them (the developing world in my second paragraph)? I wonder if pre-work would help socialize learners be beneficial? Also in regards to the developing world, the infrastructure to have an Internet connection in the home might not be available. Mobile devices have become ubiquitous in developing countries that don’t have infrastructure for home computers. It might be wise to adapt supplimental mobile learning as well.
Moore, M. (2013). Handbook of Distance Education (3rd ed). Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M. & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing.U.S.