Sunday, August 21, 2011

Distance Education Blog—Final Reflection

“The number of students participating in college-level online courses has out-distanced all other forms of distance learning, in a remarkably short amount of time” (Gambescia, Paolucci, 2009). This trend and increased attendance in college-level online courses will gain momentum in the next 5-10 years and the next 10-20 years.

Distance education has many benefits that we have explored over the last eight weeks in this course. These benefits are why so may students and business have chosen distance-learning platforms to educate students and employees respectively. “There are many reasons for this [increase]: convenience, older and more technologically-savvy students who hold a job and have a family, and students looking for a particular curriculum they can't find locally (What is the Future of Distance Learning, 2011). Growing acceptance of distance education is fueled by several factors as explained in our course resources this week:
·      The Increase in online communication
·      Practical experience with new tools
·      Growing comfort with online discourse
·      Ability to communicate with diverse and global groups (Siemens, n.d.)
Distance education will be impacted by new communication technologies, contributions by experts around the world, and increased used of multimedia, games, and simulations (Siemens, n.d.). If distance learning can continue to grow in these impact areas, and continue to extend its many benefits it can become a key and primary method of educating students of all ages.

An instructional designer can be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning by assisting in the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of appealing and effective training. In many cases the work of the instructional designer may not be noticed by the learner, as the learner is not involved in the entire ID process, they typically are only able to observe the work of the implementation and/or evaluation phases.  So in many cases it is the id’s role to ensure their role is done to the best of their ability and their portion is a seamless part of the final product.

I feel the way that I can be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education is first in understanding the field and all that it entails. The next way that I feel I can be a positive force is in educating my various clients/employers of the pros and cons of distance education, and assist them in creating training that best meets their needs.


Gambescia, S., & Paolucci, R. (2009). Academic fidelity and integrity
            as attributes of university online degree program offerings. Online Journal
            of Distance Learning Administration, 12(1). Retrieved from
Siemens, G. (n.d.). Facilitating Learning. [Video] Available: Laureate Education, Inc.
What is the Future of Distance Learning? (2011).
Retrieved August 21, 2011 from

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Distance Education Blog—Converting to a Distance Learning Format

This week our application assignment was to consider the following scenario:

A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.
  • With this scenario in mind, and taking into consideration your Learning Resources, reflect on the following:
  • What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?
  • What aspects of his original training program could be enhanced in the distance learning format?
  • How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?
  • What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?
So I created a Best Practices Guide and have a few of the important points/factor outlined below:
1. There is no standard approach to a hybrid course-there is no magic formula or format, the instructor will have to create the course based on the needs of the course, the students, and instructor preference. 

2. It takes time to redesign a traditional face-to-face program into a blended format-the redesign may be very effective but the proper amount of time should be taken to fully design, develop, and implement this new course/platform. 

In addition to the 2 key considerations above the trainer should utilize the following steps:

Click here to read the entire document