What theories or research can inform your current practice of distance learning?
I have never taught a distant education class. However, I have taken several. Within our readings for this week, one particular point resonated with me. A research study documented in chapter ten addressed “understanding the relationship between cognitive style and achievement levels” (Moore and Kearsley, 2012). While being an adult educator, the greatest tool I’ve learned is to stop, watch, listen and ask questions of my students in order to better understand their learning styles. It’s challenging to know how to best facilitate a learning environment for a diverse student cohort. The following is part of a journal article that addresses the construction of a learning environment to help support the learning patterns of individual students in a distant education environment.
1. Online contact: Since students can’t talk to the teacher or other students face-to-face, the teacher should attempt to construct a supportive environment and provide timely online contact and assistance to all the students (Ehrman, 1990). In most situations, the teacher should provide a listserver mailing list or a chat room for all students in a specific class to talk about the course matters and ask or answer questions in order to reduce learning anxiety and maximize learning performance.
Online contact and assistance includes two major types. One is the online peer contact between students and students. According to Amundsen and Bernard’s (1989), peer contact could significantly discriminate between final academic standing and course completion. The other is the online contact between the teacher and students. This can be achieved by talking either through the list server mailing list to all students or through the teacher’s individual e-mail account to the individual student. In addition, the teacher should use various media as needed, including face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, letter, note, memo, and the like.
2. Diversified learning styles: The adaptation of the design of distance education to students’ cognitive styles should allow diversified learning styles to meet all students’ characteristics. Specifically, the teacher should selectively provide theory-based learning to the assimilators and application-based learning to the accommodators; provide individualized learning to field independent students and cooperative learning to field dependent ones.
I’m going to have to expand upon this further this week….this is a first-time post and I wanted to make sure I had something up for us to think about. In a synchronized learning environment, understanding and meeting students where they are in their learning styles is challenging in itself. I am very intrigued on how to achieve such a task in an online blended or asynchronous classroom!!
Moore, Michael and Kearsley, Greg (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Retrieved from http://www.coursesmart.com
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume II, Number III, Fall1999 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education. Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/liu23.html