My Definition of Distance Learning
Using Any Medium to Teach ANYTHING?
After reading about the various theories and definitions of Distance Learning and taking my own personal experience into account, I take exception to Perraton theory that anything can be taught through any medium. As a licensed nail technology instructor, I found that immediate correction to improper technique is the most effective way to teach a new skill. Imperfect practise can take months to unlearn. How do you teach nails through a correspondence course? As technology advances I see that it may now be possible perhaps Skype or Google Hangout, where a two way video call can provide demonstration and correction in real time. I'm not clear that the technology is reliable. I mentored a team in India in 2012 via Skype. The connection was iffy and we often only had an audio connection.
Keegan looked at varies definitions of distance learning and identified 5 characteristics common to them all.
I'm going to define distance learning as any learning that doesn't have the teacher and the student(s) in the same place at the same time on a continuous basis. As a corporate trainer, I'm not sure the "educational institution", in the traditional sense is necessary. Training and learning is taking place in many varied settings, outside of the educational institution..
With that definition as my guidepost I would say that is most closely aligned with Post-Fordism. With current learners demanding that instruction be engaging, relevant, and able to fit into their crazy schedules, no assembly line, mass produced course is going to satisfy their need for personalized education. The ability to rapidly change to meet the needs of the learners, characterized by Post-Fordism, is necessary in this fast paced, digital world.
I'm still not personally convinced that vocational education is possible at a distance but the idea of trying is intriguing.