Thursday, December 4, 2014

Distance Education For the 21st Century

Change has become the order of the day to keep pace with our fast, stressful and competitive lifestyle. So, as an important component of our life, even education in the 21st century is acquiring a new form - from traditional learning to technology driven distance education. With the advent of Internet in every home, learning has become more web-oriented. New-age digital formats of study modules are very much attention grabbing and learner centric. Further, distance education is becoming popular option for home study support as it amalgamates the fields of online learning, web-based training, technology-delivered instruction and distance learning.

With changing times, the convergence of Internet and learning has facilitated an individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time. Distance education is designed keeping in focus the individual requirement and convenience. It is fast becoming the preferred choice for self-learning by a majority of youngsters as it provides, economical, flexible and anywhere, anytime study support. The unique and accessible features of distance education make it a preferred option for Gen Z. Furthermore; it provides the edge required to score extra marks in exams and climb the ladder of success.

Distance education offers interactive online learning supports in the form of chat rooms, forums, online class, online bulletin boards, live virtual class to name a few. Various educational sites give anxious students round the clock after school study support to help them with their queries and homework thus maintaining continuity in the learning process. In addition, study support via online tutoring enables the learners to put forth more specific questions and get the simple explanations of complex queries immediately. Distance education has definite benefits over traditional private tuitions. It offers flexibility of time and saves cost of travelling incurred in private tuition.

Students can study directly with subject experts in Live Virtual Class and avail study help anytime, anywhere. It gives students the freedom to select their own subject, topic on their preferred date and time. This gives them instant access to subject experts and one-on-one personalized attention to help them with the problem concepts. The online tutor is available 24x7 to assist the students with school assignments and answer their queries. Distance education saves students from the trouble of mugging up answers as this new integrated approach to studies aims at learning with the help of visual representation that lead to a better and in-depth understanding of the subject.

Online study aids like Smart Learning Modules, which are graphical and pictorial presentations of chapters, increase the attention span of the students and make the complex concepts easier. Other learning modules like Mindmaps enable students to get a better understanding of complex topics. Mindmaps give a logical and hierarchical presentation of chapters in flowcharts, which help in increased retention and a better grasp of the idea.

Increasingly used in all websites of similar nature, these learning mechanism tools are appreciated globally for their advantageous attributes, which eventually help in better understanding of the concept to students with varied mental abilities. Along with self-learning, even the classroom teaching pattern is evolving. The universally adapted model of classroom teaching is being actively blended with distance education technology to make learning a more fruitful experience.

It requires to pay heed in more fact that distance education is valuable to education because it increases its accessibility to the progressively more modern and hectic people of today's society, whose lifestyles are slowly lacking the time and resources to solely devote to traditional learning experiences. This very fact therefore highlights the significance of the quality of the content obtained from these distance education courses.
There are two types of electronic education courses, and they are: information-based courses which are driven by regulations and compliance needs and performance-based courses which are more central on behavior changes and real, measurable improvements. For developers and designers, it is very important to have a thorough understanding of the type of course to be created. This will lead to proper discernment and ultimately choosing the right decisions regarding what to do and how to use the resources available.

The decisions made in course design and creation should impact the bottom line positively. Resources should be used well and wisely. A main priority should be that these materials for learning are aligned to the performance goals of the involved company or organization. To be aligned with these goals, designers and developers have to be focused on cost, time and performance, all of which bring value to the companies and organizations.

Before any work is done, it is best to clarify and identify the best solution to the goals or objectives of customers. There would be some instances that training would not be the best solution to a company's problems. It's possible for them to save money if they are informed and made to understand that this strategy may not be the right choice for them.

When finally developing the actual course work, it is vital to note that these electronic learning courses have to be engaging. There are two ways that instructors engage with learners via content, and it's either the process of data provision, or learners using information obtained to make decisions. These are known as passive and active engagement, respectively. They are both completely different from one another, but have their own places in the system.

Passive engagement gives learners access to what they need. Obtaining information from books, newspapers and television shows and reports are effective ways to learn, and are all examples of the mentioned kind of engagement. It is understandable that the word 'passive' has a negative connotation, but the truth is that the word 'passive' does not translate to 'ineffective'. The key is to deliver it in variety of ways that motivate and touch the learners. The learnings from this type are timely and relevant. If you search for facts, you get it. It's a kind of learning resource that is available to learners at their time of need.

Active engagement is more of decision-based learning and helps people process what they have learned. Students receive the necessary factual data, analyze it, and then make corresponding decisions. This is a very advantageous way of learning because people can immediately apply what they've learned and receive instant feedback. The key to make this type effective is that the people concerned completely understand the essence and purpose of the lessons that are being imparted to them.

Distance education courses are significant to the industry, because well-designed, expertly created lessons give students the best access to accurate and timely factual data which they can efficiently utilize for comprehension and understanding. Being able to comprehend and understand the lessons are required of them in order to guarantee that they are able to achieve goals and objectives that are along the lines of the desired outcome. Source: