Who is Distance Education For: My Personal Experience I’ll Never Forget

by May San Pedro
who is distance education for

The unanticipated global pandemic of Covid-19 urges the educational system to redress from face-to-face to remote learning. The academe vehemently urges the quasi-permanent separation of teachers and learners throughout the length of the learning process, (Keegan, 1986 as cited in Rumble, 2009). Simonson, Zvacek, and Smaldino (2019) posit that distance education can be as powerful as any other form of schooling. Whilst the instruction may not offer a similar amount of classroom discussion as the traditional delivery methods, it grants a manifold of basic educational boons.

A small event as tiny as a drop of a pin can change the direction of your entire life

Habyarimana, 2016

The paper will discuss the analysis of Distance Education (DE) based on the author’s personal experience. Three balanced arguments will center on the DE encounters as personnel of an online learning center, a student in UPOU, and a parent assisting the child in the new norms of K-12 education.

Experience of Distance Education as a Personnel Running an Online Learning Center

The intelligent flexible learning through automated response provides students with better quality tuition and more effective pedagogical and administrative support services, (Taylor 2001). I have been running an online learning community with another education associate. Being a two-man emerging organization is tedious. For the organization to thrive, we utilize the power of technology and the internet.

Automation improves our productivity and expenses by cutting down extra work in the business and the number of mistakes in the process. Hence, we have more time on evaluating tools and training the teachers, to make the curriculum practical for the students. This set-up enables us to meet our mission of delivering quality education without any boundaries at an affordable price. Having this in mind, we created a learning center integrating intelligent flexible learning, to make less expensive e-courses, provisions of e-applications, and an automated management system, (Taylor, 2001). Likewise, the worry of diploma mill – an institution with no classrooms, nonexistent faculty, unqualified administrator, and profit-generating motives, (Simonson, 2004 as cited in Simonson, et al., 2019) is thereby, averted.

On the other hand, the cold reality situates in the critical planning and developmental process of the system. It took us two years of groundwork to test and to identify what is working and not. The complexity of designing a website and the automation serving as the database of the e-school is overwhelming. However, once it is perfectly established, one can procure the beneficial impacts.

Also, the conjecture that ‘technology alone is not sufficient to foster and sustain much improvement in the quality of teaching and learning,’ (Taylor, 1995) has been a guiding principle of our mission. To realize this undertaking, I ended up enrolling at UPOU. Working toward a graduate degree in Distance Education will give me the background knowledge to answer the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of creating and delivering online teaching and distance instruction. Moreover, it may sound an understatement that teachers cannot teach what they do not know; but it is a dogma I truly believe in!

Experience of Distance Education as a Student in UPOU

Learning takes place regardless of whether the instruction is traditional, face-to-face, or at a distance, (Simonson, et al., 2019). The flexibility it offers in geography, time, and intellect, especially for working individuals who do not have the luxury of training in traditional schools, increases the demand for distance education. Simonson et al. (2019) add, research clearly shows that learning outcomes can be triumphantly attained even when offered at a distance. This being said, the impetus of realizing my impossible dream of studying in one of the reputable schools—the University of the Philippines becomes a dream-come-true especially that I reside in Palawan. UPOU will afford me such flexibility and greater benefits to access institutionally developed learning modules without leaving home. The use of technical media – print, audio-video, computer – to unite teacher and student carry the course content, (Rumble, 2009). Besides, the time and place continuum solve scheduling problems while fostering lifelong learning habits and skills as a long-distant mentee. Enrolling in DE provides the opportunity to widen one’s intellectual horizon by improving and updating professional knowledge, while enjoying the full liberalism of the program, as long as there is the internet.

On the other note, studying while physically separated from the teacher entails a lot of learning behaviors; thus, it is not for everyone. A distant learner should have a driving force to achieve his learning goals. Although it offers flexible learning, it lies on a learner-centered philosophy, (The Commonwealth of Learning, 1999). Intrinsic motivation is indispensable and staying driven is difficult for some, especially when studying alone. When students cannot talk and see others in the same classroom as the traditional style, they feel isolated. Although Keegan (1980) mentions a strong two-way communication in distance learning where media bridge the instructional gap, some students think technology is too cold. It will not make a warm sense like the face-to-face teaching. Much as technology is advanced, it still has some defects, too. When there is an intermittent connection in our area, I am having big troubles accessing the learning modules and interacting with peers over our discussion forums.

Additionally, issues with time-management and self-discipline are frustrating for novice online learners. Knowledge acquisition might be tough if amateur students are passive and dependent.

Experience of Distance Education as a Parent Assisting a Child in the New K-12 Norms

In the absence of teachers, parents are helping their children while schooling at home. Understanding the curriculum that defines the learning experience, besides the classification of DE based on the technology used, is a strong asset when assisting a child in the new panorama of education today. Hence, parents and guardian help to overcome the academic fears their children face about online. Anderson and Dron (2011) argue that high-quality DE ventures three generations: cognitive-behaviorist, social constructivist, and connectivist pedagogy.

As a guardian of my 6th Grade niece with both asynchronous and synchronous learning set-up, I facilitate her learning at home. Establishing learning behaviors based on Gagne’s (1965 as cited in Anderson and Dron, 2011), assessment of learning is manageable.

Being aware of how people can learn more effectively, the power of edification is strengthened. Support and adjustments are given when necessary.

Nevertheless, knowing such theories and foundations of DE has a con, too. I could easily see outweigh unsuitable activities for a child trying to learn independently at a distance and the impossible deadlines of all the requirements. The ugly truth is, not all educators are welcoming recommendations nor accepting constructive criticisms from others. Also, some kids are timid to talk with their teachers online; thus, the two-way communication as one of the basic elements of Keegan’s (1986) DE definition is weak (as cited in Rumble, 2009). When children do not disclose their learning issues, parents are the ones reaching out to the teachers. The success of homeschooling is a collaborative work of the stakeholders, but some parties involved resist symbiotic tuition roles.

Conclusion

Distance education is another means of flexible learning through physical separation of the teachers and students thriving with strong two-way communication. The utilization of technology and the internet is relatively changing remote learning. The more advanced technology becomes, the more developments evolve in delivering online instruction. By examining intelligent flexible learning further, based on a small learning community like ours, its application to the bigger educational sector is feasible. However, its success lies in a thorough blueprint of planning, identifying its audience, setting goals, taking into consideration the possible resources upon the making of the system, and testing it.

As to the manifold of educational boons that distance instruction can offer, certain facets should be taken into consideration such as the student’s readiness and learning behaviors that predict learning.

In addition, there is still a lot to review when applies to young learners where the main goal is learning at a distance, rather than just a tool of complying with projects and requirements. It can be concluded that distance education is not for everybody. Instead, it is for anybody who can work independently and deeply understands that even when there is flexibility, it is important to set a regular schedule to study, to work on assignments, and actively participate in the course. Hence, the success of learning in distance education is what the learners choose to mean it.

This is a copy of my Faculty Mark Assignment (FMA 1) for EDDE 201 - Foundations of Distance Education - I submitted in partial fulfillment of my masters degree in Distance Education at University of the Philippines - Open University.

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2011). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(3), 80. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v12i3.890

Habyarimana, B. (2015). The Great Pearl of Wisdom. Van Haren Publishing. https://books.google.be/books?id=58ZfjgEACAAJ

Keegan, D. J. (1980). On defining distance education. Distance Education, 1(1), 13–36. https://doi.org/10.1080/0158791800010102

Rumble, G. (1989). Concept: On defining distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 8–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923648909526660

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2019). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Information Age Publishing.

The Commonwealth of Learning. (1999). An Overview of Open and Distance Learning. Trainers Toolkit. Vancouver: The Commonwealth of Learning and Asian Development Bank.

Taylor, J. C. (2001). Fifth-generation distance education. Instructional Science and

Technology, 4(1), 1-14. https://eprints.usq.edu.au/136/1/Taylor.pdf

Taylor, J. C. (1995). Distance education technologies: The fourth generation. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 11(2), 1-7. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet11/taylor.html

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More