In this fast-paced, technologically-advanced age, people want to achieve the best results in the fastest time and the lowest cost. For these reasons, more and more people are opting for distance learning over traditional scheduled courses or programs. Distance learning is a great idea because it doesn’t require the students or trainees to be physically present at the school or training center. Now, working people don’t have to stop their studies if they wish to further their education, and even if they want to take some career advancement courses, they can do so from the comfort of their home or anywhere else. If you are interested in distance education, you should be interested in the technology used in the delivery of distance learning. Let’s take a look.
Distance learning has received a tremendous boost from the advances in computers and the Internet. As computers become cheaper and the Internet becomes an integral part of people’s lives, distance education has become more attainable and effective. Nowadays, most online courses or programs are conducted via the Internet where various methods of delivery such as video conferencing, email programs, CD-ROM materials, instant messaging technology, and other Internet technologies are used to present a more complete educational experience. With the Internet, students can download various materials to support their education, and they can also view videos, listen to podcasts, and also connect with the instructors or fellow students. Generally, distance learning through computers promises a higher level of interactivity.
Another technology used in the delivery of distance learning is audio. Different people have different learning styles so audio technology is perfectly suitable auditory learners who respond best to the spoken word. Some of the more popular audio tools include audio conferencing, voicemail, CDs, and telephone. Typically, this type of distance learning is cheaper, and it’s easy to use because most people have telephones or audio CD players. Distance learning which is delivered via audio technology may not be ideal for visual learners.
Distance learning can also be carried by utilizing video technology. It’s similar to audio technology but students will also be able to see the instructor, providing another dimension to their educational experience. Since videos usually come with sound, it’s suitable for visual as well as auditory learners. Audio technology is especially effective in situations where the instructor has to explain a certain concept using visual props or other illustrations.
Some people think that distance learners will not be dealing with print materials anymore but in fact, students have to supplement their courses or programs with study guides, workbooks, and textbooks. Sometimes, distance learners will receive study materials via fax or the postal service. Print technology allows students to devote time to their studies, according to their schedule or fancy. Printed materials are portable, easy to use, and relatively cheaper than other options.
In most distance learning modules, there will be a combination of the above-mentioned technologies. Distance learners will have to find out which technologies work better for them, and develop the best solution.