In this short article, I uncover some of the most common and deadly misconceptions about distance learning. And you want to read this. Why? Because if you don’t consider the new trends and potential of distance learning, you may be ignoring or neglecting important opportunities to improve your professional skills, complete your studies, or grow your professional relationships. That’s right, some of these myths are deadly to you, because even though the tools to breathe new life into your career are sitting in your house, you’ve chosen to ignore them. Let’s change all of that together
Join me as we explore these 7 myths of distance learning and open the doors of opportunity and empowerment that await as close as your laptop, cell phone and iPod.
1. You must be connected at the same time to participate in distance learning. Many people get this idea because they may have attended webinars at work: lectures or seminars delivered live over the internet. However, webinars are just one of many ways to offer distance learning. A more popular format is to use non-simultaneous delivery (or asynchronous as we call it). This format allows attendees to log in over the internet to get their work done whenever it fits into their daily schedule. Don’t you want to choose when you study? Another great benefit of non-simultaneous learning is that it overcomes time zone conflicts when you group globally.
2. Distance learning is boring and mostly canned. This statement might be true if you’re just reading a test or watching a video, but weren’t you in a boring lecture? Too much of a teaching mode can make it difficult to keep people interested. Today, well-designed distance learning courses include not only video, text, graphics, audio, and images, but also user-created materials in the same formats. A great course will not only provide learning in a varied format that appeals to multiple learning styles and intelligences, but it will also encourage learners to actively participate! Student podcasts, videos, and online role-playing games are just a few examples. Learners also post or lead themed discussion forums and solve group simulations. Distance learning can provide a dimension to make learning meaningful and active.
3. I don’t like that “at your own pace” distance learning stuff. Again, distance learning comes in so many forms that you can have a fully instructor-led course or a course that involves partial independence combined with direct supervision. In some content areas, learners may also be in private learning sessions, just you and the teacher, or in groups. Although usually more expensive when private study or tutoring or a specific time frame suits you best, private vs group tuition can be a real benefit and incentive.
4. Distance learning is much easier than traditional classes. This concern is mainly expressed in relation to academic degrees and cannot be more wrong. In fact, with online courses, especially in the beginning, the students have to work harder. They need to start taking responsibility for their learning and investing more time in self-discipline, planning their learning outside of the classroom (there is no classroom time!) and meeting their deadlines. For some people, adapting is a breeze, for others, they need to focus on strategizing for online learning success. But once they make an effort, learners who take responsibility can skyrocket with the opportunities before them. Well, doesn’t this lesson have many positive side effects? hmmmm
5. Distance learning leads to greater social isolation. I think most people who claim this myth don’t use social media. Otherwise, they would have a better idea of the rich interactions involved in distance learning. Discussion forums, peer email and dialogue, and group projects go beyond the level of interaction in a traditional classroom. I always say that in order to play Beat the Clock, face-to-face instruction is inevitable; Therefore, the time for interaction with the students is limited. In contrast, distance learning can be scaled up as much as students want to invest in it. Isolate? Not in our experience – we sometimes have to hold them back!
6. Teachers don’t need new class preparation: Teaching distance learning is just like teaching traditional classes. This is a very dangerous myth as teachers and learners will be disappointed with the results if followed. While distance learning is built on the principles of great teaching practice, there are many specific issues that need to be addressed that are different or new. For example, because you are part of a global classroom, cross-cultural communication may be required more clearly than usual. Whether classes are held at the same time or not, a remote audience means a different dynamic. It can be powerful and lively or fraught with problems, but don’t try to jump into this format without preparation.
7. No student orientation is required. Students use the same skills as a traditional class, just plug and play! Many organizations have struggled with this approach, and so have their participants! From technical support to study skills, time management to registration, from needs to processes, people need to move away from their assumptions and rethink the needs of the distance student. When spoken to, the approach unleashes a vibrant, global classroom.
Next Steps. Hopefully this short article has raised some new questions for you and challenged some of your assumptions or previous opinions. Consider enrolling in a distance learning program that has developed a solid reputation. Try virtual learning for yourself and consider how this experience can help you, your family and colleagues to meet personal and professional learning needs. From getting an academic degree to learning a language in preparation for your next trip to Spain to strategies to restart your dream career, the possibilities might be as close as the computer, iPod or cell phone if you give it a chance and the tips follow above.
#Myth #Busters #Distance #Learning
Thanks to Dr. Kathleen P. King