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The Future of Distance Education


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A presentation made to Camousn College, May 3, 2007

Published in: Technology, Education
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The Future of Distance Education

  1. Distance Education: Past, Present and Future - Mark Bullen
  2. Main Points <ul><li>History is important </li></ul><ul><li>DE practice has not changed much in last 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>DE appears poised to undergo radical changes </li></ul><ul><li>Assumptions </li></ul>
  3. Looking to the Past <ul><li>History helps inform the future </li></ul><ul><li>Much of what we think is new is not </li></ul>
  4. Looking to the Past <ul><li>John Dewey (1859-1952) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jean Piaget (1896-1980) </li></ul></ul>Constructivism
  5. Looking to the Past <ul><li>Learner-centered education </li></ul>Socrates Confucius
  6. Looking to the Past <ul><li>E-learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has its roots in distance education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dates back to the 1700s correspondence education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audiovisual devices - early 1900s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational television - 1960s </li></ul></ul>
  7. E-Learning
  8. History: Pre-Internet <ul><li>Early online learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration, knowledge construction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many-to-many communication, time and place independence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asynchronous text-based communication as a facilitator of collaboration, knowledge construction </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. History: The Internet Era- Web 1.0 <ul><li>Internet, course management systems (CMS) changed our understanding of online learning </li></ul><ul><li>CMS not about communication, collaboration, knowledge construction </li></ul><ul><li>CMS about efficient distribution of content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher-centered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet as a delivery mechanism </li></ul></ul>
  10. History: The Internet Era - Web 2.0 <ul><li>A return to the pre-Internet era? </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture of presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul>
  11. History: The Internet Era - Web 2.0 <ul><li>Harnessing the potential of easy to use tools </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating collaboration, production </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User-generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power of the crowd </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data on an epic scale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Openness </li></ul></ul>
  12. E-Learning Today
  13. E-Learning 10 years ago
  14. Education in the New Millenium
  15. Current Tools & Technology
  16. Current Tools & Technology <ul><li>CMS tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content management and formatting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assignment submission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asynchronous discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronous chat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voice tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal e-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grade book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student management and tracking </li></ul></ul>
  17. Current Tools & Technology <ul><li>Dominant instructional design model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>information transmission supported by asynchronous online “discussion” </li></ul></ul>
  18. Current Tools & Technology <ul><li>Social software </li></ul>
  19. Blogs
  20. Wikis
  21. Social Bookmarking
  22. Virtual Worlds
  23. Virtual Worlds
  24. …..casting
  25. Synchronous Communication Tools <ul><li>Elluminate Live </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul>
  26. Current Tools & Technology <ul><li>But Are these tools changing the dominant instructional design paradigm? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online delivery remains primarily text-based, information delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructivist, collaborative, online knowledge building community is rare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology still largely being used to replicate earlier modes of teaching - the electronic classroom </li></ul></ul>
  27. The Future
  28. The Future <ul><li>Radical change or status quo? </li></ul><ul><li>Technology is changing </li></ul><ul><li>Learners are changing…we think </li></ul>
  29. Technology Changes <ul><li>Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>User-generated content </li></ul><ul><li>Power of the crowd </li></ul><ul><li>Data on an epic scale </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Network effects </li></ul><ul><li>Openness </li></ul>
  30. Learner Changes <ul><li>Net generation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Born between 1982-1991 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never know life without the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digitally literate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impatient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiential </li></ul></ul>
  31. Learner Changes <ul><li>Characterstics of Net generation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team players </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual and kinesthic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for interactivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community minded </li></ul></ul>
  32. Learner Changes <ul><li>Net generation learners like: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities to create and innovate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediacy, feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearly-defined tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration, teamwork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respected as equals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge assumptions </li></ul></ul>
  33. Learner Changes <ul><li>How accurate is this portrayal? </li></ul><ul><li>Different social and technological context </li></ul><ul><li>BCIT research </li></ul>
  34. Learning 2.0 <ul><li>Focus on learning processes </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on communication & interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Co-developed with learners & instructors shaping the design </li></ul><ul><li>Customized/personalized </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperatively-activated </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge & understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Learner paced </li></ul>
  35. Learning 2.0 <ul><li>Collaborative: one to many, many to many </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute, tag and share </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrations and prototypes </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiated and contracted </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback rich </li></ul>
  36. Technology 2.0 <ul><li>Less reliance on enterprise solutions </li></ul><ul><li>The web as platform </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to use, free, often open, tools </li></ul>
  38. Personal Learning Environments “ A facility for an individual to access, aggregate, configure and manipulate digital artifacts of their ongoing learning experiences.” - Ron Lubensky
  39. Need for Caution <ul><li>One size does NOT fit all </li></ul><ul><li>BCIT TEK Initiative experience </li></ul><ul><li>University, liberal arts perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Formal vs. informal learning </li></ul><ul><li>Credentials will continue to drive most formal learning </li></ul>
  40. Concluding Comments <ul><li>Not much change in 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Change is inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>Changing technology, changing learners </li></ul><ul><li>Heterogeneity of learners </li></ul><ul><li>Check assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Technology potential not always realized </li></ul><ul><li>Need evidence-based understanding of the”new learner” </li></ul>
  41. References <ul><li>Bates, A.W. (2000). Managing Technological Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Bereiter, C. & Scardamelia, M. Catching the Third Wave. Queen's Education Letter, Issue #2: Integrating ICT in Teaching and Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Bullen, M. & Janes, D. (Eds.)(2007). Making the Transition to E-Learning: Strategies and Issues. Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Oblinger, D.G. & Oblinger, J.L. (2005). Educating the Net Generation. Available at </li></ul><ul><li>Sinclair, G., McClarin, M. & Griffin, M.J. (2006). E-Learning and Beyond. Discussion paper prepared as part of the Campus 2020 process for the Ministry of Advance Education. </li></ul><ul><li>Zemsky , R. & Massy, W.F. (2004). Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to E-learning and Why. The Learning Alliance. </li></ul>
  42. For Further Information <ul><li>Mark Bullen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>