Distance Learning today is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Distance Learning offers learners the ability to pursue degrees; complete required training for work, and continued education credits all around the learners busy lifestyles. The learn anyplace at anytime asynchronous nature of distance learning enable students to learn at times that are convenient for them.
Lets be careful with the future of distance learning replacing traditional education entirely in the future. Although education is trending towards distance learning, I don’t foresee distance learning as a total replacement of traditional education. Distance Learning provides a niche, which captures a market share that traditional face-to-face brick and mortar education cannot reach. As technology improves and the field of Instructional Design propagates, the creditability of distance education will greatly improves. As society becomes further educated through distance learning environments, and become more and more productive in society, distance education benefits by gains in popularity and credibility.
As an Instructional Designer, we are charged with designing and building courses that are aligned with current societal standards, trends and technologies. To remain creditable, Instructional Designers have to be continually educated and recognize current educational trends, changes in society, and be on the cutting edge of technology. Designing courses, working with industry leaders and subject matter experts, have to be a continuous process to build and maintain quality courses. As a high school technology teacher, it is difficult for the public school systems to keep up with the pace of technology because of cost. Most of the courses that are taught in school today are obsolete or becoming obsolete because the technology is antiquated. Students have technologies at home that are far more advanced than what’s at school. It is difficult to remain creditable if what you are teaching is obsolete. Furthermore, it is important to stay ahead of the current trends in technology to remain respectable. It is the job of the Instructional Designer to design courses, maintain, and update courses frequently to keep pace with external factors in society.
As society is trending toward distance education, the demand for Instructional Designers is rapidly increasing; these are oblivious reasons why I am pursing this field like many others. I will be a positive force in this industry by being a pioneer not simply relying on what’s available but remaining on the cutting edge of technology and paying close attention to external factors such as the economy, occupation, and technology trends. To be effective in the industry forward thinking is a must. We have to go beyond what is current; education is about tomorrow. Over the past six years we have witnessed a shift in education due to the lack luster economy. Americans were losing their jobs at an alarming rate partly due to a shift in industry that we were not prepared for. If you fail to look ahead you are doomed to get caught in traps that you can’t foresee. There have been paradigm shifts in jobs that many Americans are not qualified for and we failed to recognize these shifts. So today we have many out of work Americans that do not have to skills to keep up with the job demands. For these reasons, my job as an Instructional Designer has to go beyond what is current and explore and become a pioneer to what is in the future. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.–Patrick Hopkins
Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3). Retrieved from http://atmae.org/jit/Articles/schmidt041801.pdf
Siemens, G., (2010) The Future of Distance Education. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4198205_1%26url%3D