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Distance learning refers to a learning environment in which the instructor and student are separated by physical distance. Although Although distance learning dates back to the early 1800's with with correspondence correspondence classes, it it has evolved with the development of new media, from print to radio, telephone, television, video, satellite, computers, and, most recently recently,, the nternet. !he different technologies are still being used depending on the content and learning ob"ectives for the course, and the users and their capabilities. !he most recent distance technology, technology, the nternet, adds an interactive component not possible with the other technologies # collaborative communication over a prolonged period of time. !raditionally, !raditionally, distance distance education has been primarily between the instructor and the student, and there has been little or no opportunity for interaction among students. $owever, $owever, the nternet changes this because it allows learners to communicate with each other either through synchronous or asynchronous communication. communication. %tudents are able to read and respond to all correspondence, thereby learning from each other as much as from the instructor instructor.. !his changes the roles of the instructor and the student, and the instructor becomes more of a facilitator of learning and the student becomes more of an active participant in, and more in control of, the learning process. %ynchronous versus !he aptitude to thrive in distance education is current in students who have the abovementioned attributes. !hey must possess time management in order to complete work in a timely manner that does not obstruct other commitments. co mmitments. n order to be successful at completing assignments, distance learners must be self#motivated so that they are able to work at their own pace and be a successful independent learner. f these characteristics characteristics are not being assessed in earning a degree, then learners must be capable of communicating their needs to the correct supporting system that will support them in achieving success.
The online learning process process is normally normally accelerated and requires requires commitment on the student's part. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. Once a student gets behind, it is almost impossible to catch up.
Basically, the student needs to want to be there, and needs to want the experience. The instructor may have to contact students personally to oer assistance and remind the student o! the need to keep up. "ust as many excellent instructors may not be eective online !acilitators, not all students possess the necessary qualities to per!orm well online. #n your online course, you may want to include re!erence links to resources and tips !or your students to use to help them be more success!ul online learners. $learly outline your expectations and the necessary characteristics o! a success!ul online student so your students can understand i! the online environment will be a productive learning environment !or them. %rovide a questionnaire !or prospective students to &ll out to assess whether they are good candidates !or online learning. Onl i nel ear ni nghasi t sr ewar dsf orbot hs t udent sandi ns t r uc t or s ,aswel l asi t schal l enges aswe’ v eex pl or edi nt hi sar t i c l e.Butwi t has ounds t r at egyf orl ear ni ng,as t r at egyf or educ at i ont hati sspec i ﬁ ct ot heonl i neenv i r onment ,s t udent sha vet heoppor t uni t yt obe s uc ces sf ul onl i nes t udent sandl i f el ongl ear ner s .Iv er ymuc hl i k et hi squot et hatappl i est o l ear ni ngi sno tas pec t at ors por t bot hs t udent sandi ns t r uc t or s ,‘ ’ .
The profile of the online learner population is changing from one that is older, mostly employed, place bound, goal oriented, and intrinsically motivated, to one that is diverse, dynamic, tentative, younger, and responsive to rapid technological changes. This change in profile poses considerable pedagogical challenges that can be addressed through a better understanding of the emerging online learner. The emerging online learner can be described as someone who has a strong academic self-concept; is competent in the use of online learning technologies,
particularly communication and collaborative technologies; understands, values, and engages in social interaction and collaborative learning; possesses strong interpersonal and communication skills; and is self-directed. In order to support and promote these characteristics and skills more effectively, the online course developer, instructor, or teacher should focus on designing online learning environments that support exploratory and dialogical learning. Exploratory and dialogical learning environments engage learners in online learning activities that reuire collaboration, communication, social interaction, reflection, evaluation, and self-directed learning. !s the characteristics and skills of the online learner population continue to emerge across generations and future technologies, more immersive pedagogical models will develop, transforming the design of online learning environments. Conclusion, Recommendations and Summary
any studies have attempted to ascertain whether distance education diers !rom traditional modes o! instruction when re!erring to !acilitating student success. The ma(ority o! these studies reported no signi&cant dierences between the distance and traditional modalities. ost important, the design o! such types o! research )whether comparative or evaluative* clearly places emphasis on the importance o! the method o! delivering instruction and is consistent with the instructivist )instructor+centered* learning theory. The research is inconsistent with the constructivist )learner+centered* theory, which is more concerned with the role o! the student in learning than with the role o! the instructor in teaching )ia-, ///*.
Teaching online courses can be challenging, time consuming, and require extensive preparation to ensure that things are done well and that students get !eedback within 0 hours o! posting their responses. istance leaning is a viable alternative !or li!elong learning opportunities, including in!ormal courses, pro!essional development tutorials, and !ull degree programs. 1e must be care!ul to per!orm in+depth evaluations and assessments o! online courses regarding ease o! access, media attention or exaggerations, the role and interest o! the private sectors, and the ma(or reason !or increased
demand by both education and business, as well as the eectiveness o! online learning activities.
#nstructional strategies are what really make a dierence in how adults learn online, not technology. #nstructional methods should make learning meaning!ul and interesting !or adult learners. 1e must not compare traditional institutions adopting part o! their programs, either hybrid or completely online, with other institution the general ob(ectives o! which are business, pro&t, and then education. 2aculties among traditional institutions are well educated and have obvious quali&cations. The !aculties among pro&t+ centered schools are less quali&ed but still holds quali!y degrees. The authenticity o! such programs is questionable, along with the quali&cations o! their !aculty. #n most cases, such programs limit the quality o! the educational system and, as a result, make the college degree less valuable and weaken competitiveness.
3 colleague once remarked that anybody could have a college degree, given enough money. $ollege degrees are !or sale. Since it is becoming a way o! making money, we no longer think o! the quality o! the education system but o! quantities to generate 2T4s and revenue. 1e see people today who look good on paper with impressive quali&cations but who have no knowledge base. 1e cannot allow those people to become teachers in the public school or part o! the educational system because they would not have anything to oer their students.
3 good manu!acturer produces good products. 1e still need good standards, good reputations, value, and a competitive spirit that would give students a competitive edge in a global economy. "enni!er ulrean )//5* asked an important question6 1ho would hire an online grad7 She oered important advice !or those seeking degrees online6 2ind out &rst how the online degree will measure up against those earned at traditional brick+and+mortar programs and determine whether it will allow the graduate through the door o! the human resources department. 1hat is most interesting here is that a survey by the istance 4ducation and Training $ouncil )4T$* !ound, 8almost 9/ percent o! corporate supervisors rated the value o! a distance degree as (ust valuable or more valuable than resident school degrees in the same &eld: )p. ;*.
The results o! this study provide clear evidence !or evaluation o! the ob(ectives o! distance learning education. The evaluation o! such adult learners is important to determine evidence that adults are acquiring knowledge and to develop methods to analy-e their needs and to appraise solutions to !ul&lling them.
Based on the results o! this study, it is recommended that evaluation involving evidence about behavior changes in adult learners be conducted routinely !or valid evidence o! the desired behaviors in online adult learners. Observations online will be use!ul to determine habits and certain operational skills. #nterviews may shed light on changes taking place in attitudes and interests. Such interviews, in the !orm o! questionnaires, will give evidence about interests, attitudes, and behaviors related to distance+learning education. 2inally, students rate distance learning in various ways. They &nd it problematic in the area o! curriculum development and agreed that not all courses are suitable !or this mode. #n most cases, students have been deprived o! critical educational experiences essential to real learning. Students indicate some courses could be more time consuming than !ace+to+ !ace classes and they said they end up getting lectures with a reduction in !eedback and personal interaction among colleagues. ost students are not suited to this type o! learning, and some sub(ects are not taught as eectively online as others. any adult graduate students are attracted to the convenience o! distance learning in that it allows them to spend more time with !amily and to avoid missing work to attend a traditional course.
ore study is needed to veri!y the use o! technology potential in developing rigorous curriculum !or students and attaining the original teaching goals. istance learning will not produced the same academic elite as the !ace+to+ !ace mode and would never replace traditional learning< as a result, we have to be care!ul that we maintain the academic quality that helps students remain competitive in global education and in a global economy. ore data need to be accumulated, and there is a de&nite need to develop strategies !or teaching in distance learning in order to teach eectively. ultiple modes o! delivery will !acilitate teaching methods that build students= inquiry and problem+solving skills as well as their content knowledge in every sub(ect. 3lthough technology is an integral part o! distance education, any success!ul program must !ocus primarily on the instructional needs o! the students rather than the technology.
The current study oers several implications !or practice and research. 2irst, there is a need !or eective instructional design !or online courses. The design should !ocus not only on the technological aspects o! the course, but also on the goals, ob(ectives, and expectations !or the learners. $ontinuing to explore design models that are most eective !or online learning will also help !acilitate this activity. Second, there is a need to work with learners to assist them in the development o! time management strategies. Online courses are dynamic on multiple levels6 in!ormation is received in a variety o! !ormats and at dierent times. 1hen learners are accustomed to learning in more static, real+time contexts, this can create signi&cant time management issues. 3ssisting learners in establishing strategies !or managing their time may prove to be use!ul. 2inally, there is a need to work with learners to assist them with establishing community or !eelings o! connection in online contexts. #ntegrating strategies !or community building into the design o! the course may assist with this eort. $ontinued research related to community building strategies in a variety o! contexts is also needed to enable the advancement o! best practices in the dynamic context o! the 1eb. The growth o! the #nternet and online learning will continue, and as indicated in this study, it will come with challenges. #ndividuals engaged in an online course may have dierent qualities !or a success!ul online environment or elements that are challenging. 4ach experience will be unique to the
individual. 3s educators and students become more com!ortable and adept at communicating and learning at a distance, it will remain imperative that the best practices associated with these learning environments continue to be explored.
Summary The responses of these successful online students highlight several techniques instructors can use to help their students develop effective online learning skills. Most important is a student's ability to develop a timemanagement strategy to help manage course requirements as an independent learner. Students who participated in this study agreed that online discussions with fellow students and the instructor are central to the learning experience. nstructors can encourage students to develop techniques to make the most of online discussions! which may add to a student's learning experience and promote success in the online course. The instructor can also encourage students to apply concepts from the online course! or as one student described it! "use it or lose it!" to develop an ability to retain and synthesi#e course ob$ectives. The successful online students who participated in this study also agreed on the importance of developing and asking thoughtful questions as a technique to engage both fellow students and the instructor. %s one student explained! this is a way to "go deeper into the sub$ect" and that "going deeper makes the sub$ect matter more understandable." Staying motivated in the class is a challenge for students studying independently. Students who develop a personal motivation strategy find it a great asset to the online learning experience! one that can keep them from losing interest or burning out. %nother technique the successful online students in this study agree on is the importance of making a connection with fellow students. Students who develop a meaningful connection with their fellows can receive and provide support. The online connections also promote a sense of being a learner among other learners. &o magical formula guarantees success in online learning. ne important step for instructors teaching an online course is to recogni#e that a different set of student skills may be required for students to get good grades (indicating that they have achieved the desired understanding of the sub$ect) and to get the most from an online course. The techniques identified by successful online students can promote a rich learning experience for other students and provide a foundation for them to develop these skills. nstructors can help them get there.