Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 3: Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

For this week's blog assignment I chose Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment. In this example I (as the instructional designer) was tasked with implementing a training workshop for the six regional offices of a major corporation. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. The staff members need to be able to share information in the form of screen captures, documents and also participated in ongoing collaboration.

The distance learning technology that I felt would be most appropriate for this project was some type of discussion technology. Nabble was discussed in our resources for this week. Nabble allows asynchronous and synchronous threaded conversations- discussions in which the postings are related to a specific topic. Users can also add media to their posting (n.d.).

These are basically continuous online discussions forums. Northern Arizona University has used discussion forums for its students since the 90's (Markel, 2001). IBM also uses online communities of coworkers in virtual classrooms where they take part in discussions or tasks facilitated by an expert in the area (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta, 2008). This type of distance learning technology will allow the staff in the example to be active participants in discussions, exchange information and ideas, and encourage collaboration.


Koller, V., Harvey, S., & Magnotta, M. (2008). Technology-based learning strategies. Social Policy Research Associates Inc., Retrieved from

Markel, S. L. (2001).Technology and education online discussion forums: It's in the response. Online Journal of distance Learning Administration. Summer 2001 - Volume IV, Number 2:1/31/02. Retrieved from

The technology of distance education. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Sunday, September 8, 2013



For this week's assignment we were to give our own definition of distance learning. My first experience with distance learning was in the late 1980's, it was a correspondence course. I would do my coursework, mail in the completed lessons and my grades would be mailed back to me. Times have certainly changed. While working on my Bachelor's degree I went the traditional route- a classroom. Now I am getting my Master’s degree through the online courses at Walden University.

My previous definition of distance learning was pretty simple. I defined it as learning that is achieved from a distance through telecommunications. But after reading and viewing this week's resources I have come to find out that the definition of distance learning is much more in-depth than my definition. Distance learning can mean so things to so many people.

Distance learning has been defined as an institutionally based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, Albright & Zvacek, 2012). This definition basically encompasses what distance learning is composed of. But the definition can be broken down even more. There are four components of distance learning. The components are:  it is institutionally based, there is separation of teacher and student, there is interactive telecommunications, and finally there is the concept of connecting learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, 2012, et al).

My revised definition of distance learning is: formal education achieved by geographically separated learners via various modes of telecommunications. Today the internet is the most common form of telecommunication regarding distance education. Most classroom communities are now online, students and instructors can email each other, and face to face contact with a fellow student or instructor is readily available through Skype.

To most people distance learning is commonly related to the educational system. In our readings for this week, distance learning was discussed in the areas of industry and training. In my present job, online training is used to get re-certified in various areas pertaining to our job. We do the training at our workstation, which is convenient.

Although distance learning is becoming more and popular Simonson (n.d.) states that it will not replace traditional schools, but that it will become incorporated into most learning environments. Some people prefer the traditional classroom rather than distance learning. As noted by respondents in a study conducted by Schmidt & Gallegos (2001), classmate interaction is important. The sharing of ideas helps in the understanding of the course material. I believe that distance education will continue to be relevant option for learners, but I don’t think it will ever replace the traditional classroom.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: the next generation. [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from
Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3).
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.