To be viable, all education platforms must evolve to meet the needs of the times. This is no less true of distance education.
Distance education will meet the needs of tomorrow's learners, some of whom are pictured to the left (Thank you Ms. Glenn).
Moller, Foshay, Huett, Coleman, and Simonson would all agree that distance education will experience explosive growth in the future. Moller, Huett, Foshay, and Coleman (2008) briefly describe that explosive growth in the three arenas of business training, higher education, and K12 education.
They lament the lack of training for tertiary educators in delivering distance education and they identify three specific areas with which institutions must grapple as distance learning evolves. Moller et al. (2008) acknowledge there is more work involved in developing an online courses; they acknowledge that online courses are considered easier; and they acknowledge that faculty members do not want to jeopardize consideration of their tenure by teaching online courses.
At the k-12 level, Moller et al. (2008) also identify the need to train teachers in delivering distance education. They recognize the need to reorganize k-12 education systems to incorporate distance learning into curriculum, state standards, and national initiatives.
Dr. Simonson in the videos predicts that distance learning is at the point in the S-shaped curve (Rogers, 1995) when the platform is about to escalate dramatically. He further expects that distance education will become ubiquitous, although he cautions that there is a need to design courses that fulfill the same objectives for all learners, whether online or offline.
While the authors speak about the differences between face-to-face education and distance education, it must be pointed out that all education is founded upon learning theory. If educators are familiar with the theories upon which their curriculum is founded, then these theories will guide the learning activities they choose to include. For example, constructivism does not have an online theory of education and an offline theory of education, it is all constructivism. The same is true for behaviorism, connectivism, or cognitivism.
Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Coleman, C. (2008). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications forInstructional Design on the Potential of the Web. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 52(5), 63-67. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0199-9
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of Distance Education. Baltimore: Author.
Moller, L., Forshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications for InstructionalDesign on the Potential of the Web. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 52(3), 70-75. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0158-5
Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications for InstructionalDesign on the Potential of the Web. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 52(4), 66-70. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0179-0
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.