The perception of distance learning is changing as technology continues to evolve. Geographic locations are no longer a constraint for getting information being successfully delivered and understood. With the advent and increased use of technologically aided devices, people can communicate meaningfully from a distance (Siemens). Distance learning has gained significant popularity in education over the years with the evolution of technology and is expected to continue as technology evolves. Simonson postulated that learners from all age groups are participating in some form of distance learning. The increased use of online communication has also contributed to the growth of distance learning. Tools such as Facebook and Youtube have set a clear precedent for choosing an online learning platform to pursue a degree. With these tools, distance learning will continue to gain popularity and see growth.
Additionally, virtual reality and augmented reality on the rise, this will give distance learning an edge over traditional learning. In virtual reality, technologies are used to create a 3D environment which users experience through sensory perception, physical movement, and text or speech communication (Burdea &. Coffit, 2003). They allow the construction of environments and activities that may be tailored to an individual’s specific learning needs (Levin, 2011). These artificial, yet remarkably realistic, environments present learning activities in which users can acquire new knowledge and skills through first-person experiences rather than study and observation (Mantovani, Castelnuovo, Gaggioli, &. Riva, 2003).
As an Instructional Designer and a proponent of change, I will use what I have learned throughout this distance learning program to devise and implement instructions that geared towards the learners and the desired learning outcomes. Utilizing the resources and technologies available so that the learners can use them to synthesize and construct meaning. Additional, as an Instructional designer, it is key to have in mind that distance learning will never replace traditional learning or classrooms, but with this in mind, construct instructions that mimic the traditional setting as best as possible. This includes intricate planning and consideration of the learners, the materials and available technologies and incorporating the appropriate medias necessary for the successful completion of the learning objectives.
As an Instructional designer, my aim and role are to continuously develop and make improvements to the distance teaching and learning process. I will address the components of distance learning and seek to clarify any misconstrued perceptions. I will focus on building courses that are rich in content that caters to the varying learners and learning styles while developing a reputable profession and remaining ethical throughout the process. Remaining current and up-to-date with technologies will help to improve courses and enhance the ability to disseminate information in order to allow learners to make connections from prior knowledge to the unknown and create a positive learning environment.
Burdea, G. C., Sc Coiffet, P. (2003). Virtual reality technology (2nd ed). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Levin, M. F. (2011, Summer). Virtual reality: Rehabilitation applications in children with disabilities. On the Uptake. Retrieved from http://www.neurodevnet. ca/ sites/default/files/ neurodevnet/download/Virtual%20reality_english.pdf
Mantovani, F., Castelnuovo, G., Gaggioli, A., Sc Riva, G. (2003). Virtual reality training for health-care professionals. Cyber-psychofogy 8 Behavior Impact, 6(4), 389-395.