What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

     Distance learning has change in acceptance, in my opinion, since my enrollment at Walden University and even as I am writing this paper.  However, the perception of distance learning in the next 5-10 or more years must focus more on student-centered learning and control, and the revamping of instructional paradigm. The next generations of learners are not in positions to wait for instructional posting and responses within 24-hours. These “new age” student are accustom to real-time interaction and afford the technologies that can provide them with quick-time results.  The next years are critical stages to employ the power of new technologies and ideas to improve learning for attracting generation X scholars and practitioners to distance education.  As we know of distance education, today it is rapidly approaching a dinosaur age of extinction because distance education has already reformed the improvement of technologies, open source, and first-time log on to data. The 160-year-old correspondence-study methods of instructional delivery are out-of-date, and classroom now are adapted to the Web approaches to learning are often ineffective because they do little to connect the transformational potential of technology. (Simonson et al., 2009)

     As technology developed and improved over time for the next 10-20 years, so should instructional design. Referring to Fordism, Neo-Fordism, Post-Fordism (as cited in Simonson et al, 2009) recommends an altogether centralized and coast-to-coast distance education provider to gain economies of balance by offering courses to a mass market that justifies a significant investment in supplementary costly course materials. They vindicated that this method increase organizational control and an extreme division of labor as the production process are fragmenting into an increasing number of component task or production, which guides organizational strategy. (Simonson et al., 2009, p. 53)

     The approach to technologies such as mobile technologies (4-G), virtual online labs, Pocket computer and /or tablets, IM communication and information (Internet) access in real time and personal learning environments are mainstreaming shifting control of the learning processes away from institutions and into the hands of learners. (Simonson et al., 2009)

Instructional designers must envision the future of distance instruction in the pre-planning stages to include more focus on international learners, as well.

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

     It is imperative to design learning instruction from the perceptive of the students, and strength of the institution by focusing on the utilization of the ADDIE model, as well as additional learning theories, for sequencer guidance.  It is my position to inform others about the effectiveness of distance education because there is no different between the distance learners and the traditional learners. (Simonson et al., 2009) However, with some exception, distance learners are more motivated, discipline, and focus on learning either for employment opportunities, business needs, or taking advantage of new technologies. (Simonson et al., 2009)

     The instructor of distance learning is just as dedicated to teaching as they are in the traditional college campuses. Though students and instructors are separated, the instructors’ make it their business to engage students’ participation and connectivity with them through threaded discussions, blog, wikis, telephone, email, and chats.  Despite the separation, students are always connected to the source of instruction through the various degrees of technologies. Societal need to know as well that distance education is not for everybody, and that instruction setting will dictate the appropriate choices for instructional methods. For example, live instruction (synchronous), such as television based or audio/video teleconferencing to some learners these might be effective. However, teaching in an online environment, for instance, other approaches are necessary for the instructor to provide students with enough collaboration to keep them on track while encouraging them to become skilled at new experiences. (Simonson et al., 2009)

How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

     What can I do for someone else? That is the first question. Be a direct influence in the lives of the human being who might not be able to continue their education through traditional methods. To help them acquire a deeper, richer, and invigorating learning experience through the power of distance education.  Provide them with adequate information about distance education so; they can make  formed decision to learn at a distance. I will continue to volunteer my familiarity with distance learning to help others to realize the value in distance education.

Reference

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S. (2011). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education, (4th Ed.). Boston: MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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