Session 1: Response to Prompts

1. Explain the relationship between distance learning and online learning.

The relationship between distance learning and online learning is that the latter is a derivative of the former. Distance learning, is the process of receiving an education in a non-traditional manner, where the student does not have to be face to face with the instructor and other students. For instance, the use of U.S. mail, television, radio, e-mail, blogs, discussion forums, and phone calls. Online learning was the product of the internet being incorporated into distance learning. Making distance learning a much more pleasant and convenient experience.

2. Discuss the main difference between distance learning and online learning.

Distance learning can come in various forms, it provides different learning experiences to accommodate individuals needs. Some may prefer to receive and send material through the mail others through email. Online learning is a specific type of distance learning, synchronous or asynchronous, that focuses on the use of online tools to learn new material. However, as stated in the podcast, “the difference between distance learning and online learning [is] blurring”. Every year, more individuals are opting to online learning and distance learning is being transformed into online learning. The internet and technology have become such an important aspect in society, that other forms of distance learning are no longer seen as convenient. Soon enough the only form of distance learning will be online learning and no difference will exist between the two.

3. List the three types of interaction proposed by Moore (1989) and explain each type of interaction in your own words.

I. Learner-content interaction:

This is Moore’s first interaction model and it involves the interaction between the learner and content. It is said to be one of the most essential of all three interactions, considering that it is how the learner engages in the material that is being presented. The manner in which the content is presented can vary, especially through online learning. For example, online learning can present material through video, audio or a word document. These different tools affect how well the learner interacts and is able to take in the presented material.

II. Learner-instructor interaction:

Moore’s second important interaction model is defined to be the interaction between the learner and the instructor. For a student who is on campus this task is much easier, since there is face to face interaction. On the contrary, for students who do not have the time for on-site learning, the learner and instructor have very little interaction. This is why for online learning learner-instructor interactions is extremely important. Both the student and teacher must find the means to communicate in order to make the online learning experience positive and satisfying. Some means can be through email, scheduling meetings and phone calls. Without any learner-instructor interaction an online course can be overwhelming.

III. Learner-learner interaction:

The third and final interaction, involves the interaction between a student and other students. It is similar to leaner-instructor interaction, because without having any communication the learner will feel isolated and on their own. In online learning, creating an environment where students can interact with one another is key to maximize learning. Preparing weekly blogs and providing comments on peers blogs allows students to interact without having to be face to face. It also allows each student to take in different points of view on a subject and students may learn from one another.


4. Discuss some of the differences between the early days of online learning and today. Then make some predictions about the future of e-learning.

Early days of online learning were limited by the technology available to individuals. Before the internet and personal computers existed, those who wanted an education but could not attend school, had to depend on mail. As technological advancements occurred, email became a common form of education as well as the use of bulletin board systems. However, since advancements were fairly new, it was also expensive and not widely available to everyone. Once the internet and personal computers became accessible, new forms of providing online learning developed. For instance, blackboard, WebCT, podcasts, videos, audio and blogs. Online learning has become a common form for receiving an education due to its virtually effective and diverse ways of presenting material to learners.

Although we have come far in the area of e-learning, there is much more to be done. E-learning is absolutely something that will be further developed and incorporated into our every day lives. The reality of today is that technology now more than ever, taken over the area of education. It will no longer be something that mostly only adults do, it will also be a tool for young children in elementary schools. We see it done today in the k-12 environment, with chrome books being utilized in classrooms. E-learning has revolutionized the way in which we learn, and in the future will be available in third world countries. Allowing those who never believed they could receive an education succeed. Overall, e-learning will keep creating a positive impact worldwide. There will always be new and improved ways to educate, providing different modes of learning that best suits each learner.


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