Posted in Capstone

Dr. Melissa Burr, Ed.D.



Lifelong Learner? That would be me! I love school, love to learn, and love teaching! My journey will never end, but I hope along the way that I am contributing to the lifelong learning of others in a way that positively impacts their lives. I am an educator, instructional designer, and project manager. I strive to always find unique and exciting ways to teach. My ultimate passions lies within teaching and education. I love to see that spark when a student ‘gets it!’ that light bulb moment!! My greatest achievements happen in the classroom, contributing to the knowledge of a child! Education and knowledge is something no one can take from you and I love to be a part of that journey with students. Math is my other passion! I love numbers! Combining the two is my happiest moments!

I believe in differentiate learning environments and giving learners real world experiences to solidify the learning. To learn more about my background, you can click on the link to the right to view my resume.

Part of my journey has been to complete another Master’s Degree, this time in Instructional Design. The following additional Academic Projects were chosen as a reflection of my work throughout the Masters Degree program for Instructional Design. Enjoy!

The Program Evaluation Project was chosen as a representation of a program evaluation from start to finish, including the rationale for completion the evaluation.

Program Evaluation

The following project was chosen as a reflection of the end to end process of a project, communication, and all documents included.

End to End Project Process Portfoliol

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Analyzing Scope Creep


My instructional design team works on e-lesson projects for our company. Following the project management process we plan out the project, analyze the content, develop a plan and timeline. We have experienced scope creep with projects when we start off in one direction, following specifications, then as we start going through reviews the SME’s start adding content, thinking it is adding value. There are instances when it is valued add, but there are times when the new content is either not needed or could be used in additional e-lessons.


What is Project Scope?

Scope is what a project manager commits to deliver early in the life of a project. It is defined during the requirements analysis phase of a project. Working closely with the customer and users the project manager identifies what is needed to bring about the project objectives. Scope is recorded in the project documentation and agreed with all affected parties (Haughey, 2016).

The major causes of scope creep are:

•Poor Requirements Analysis

•Not Involving Users Early Enough

•Underestimating the Complexity of the Project

•Lack of Change Control

•Gold Plating (Haughey, 2016).

For the scope creep that my team has experience, I will focus on what I have to be called gold plating. Gold plating is the term given to the practice of exceeding the scope of a project in the belief it is adding value. This term is a new term that I was not familiar with before this research. I knew what scope creep was, but gold plating was new. It was interesting to learn what it meant. In projects, it is not unusual for SME’s and stakeholders to add new features once development begins and reviews begin believing they will be adding value to the learner. These changes consume time and most times budget and are not guaranteed to increase the value for the learner. The solution to this problem is to make sure all team members are fully aware of the project scope and concentrate on delivering it and nothing more. The PM team needs to ensure specifications are detailed enough to avoid any ambiguity that may lead to unnecessary work. In the end, the PM should reward team members for delivering to specifications, on time and budget. The PM needs to make it clear that undocumented content should not be added, but instead put through the change control process.


Haughey, Duncan. “STOP SCOPE CREEP RUNNING AWAY WITH YOUR PROJECT.” Project Smart. Jan. 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

Portney, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., & Sutton, M. M. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2016). Practitioner voices: You Can’t Win Them All [Video]. Available from

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Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

After researching budget tool, I have found two resources that would be useful in estimating costs, effort, and/or activity duration associated with instructional design (ID) projects. I conducted a search for estimating project costs and budgeting. I found that Microsoft has a lot of very useful tools, including some tips to help prepare a budget. Microsoft did a good job of breaking down a budget including setting pay rates, entering per-use costs, entering fixed costs, setting types of tasks, and assigning resources.


The first website that I am going to talk about is called Project Management Guru. The Project Budget is the time-based spreadsheet that shows the project team’s intent to spend the organization’s resources on project activities. Once the Project Budget is created, the intended costs for each time period are summed in each column. The only thing that I would consider as missing form this resource would be a template. This article takes you step-by-step and includes information on how to create a project budget.

Finally, the website Bright Hub was very useful. Having a sound foundation of the basic concepts is often the best empowerment tool for any undertaking. Otherwise, one could lose track of what’s important and realistic, which are pivotal to every project budget (Levine, 2011). This website provides ways of organizing your budget and templates to help the project manager. The template that is provided seems very basic and easy to use. They have also provided what should and should not be included in the project management budget. The information on this site seems to give the reader a place to get started.


“Project Resource/Budget Planning Tools & Techniques.” Project Management Guru. Web. 3 Feb. 2016.

“Project Management Learning Guide to Budgeting, Costing, Estimating and Controlling.” Bright hub. Web. 3 Feb. 2016.

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Communicating Effectively

Communicating Effectively

As a class, we were asked to view the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication.” In this program, we observed a piece of communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. After receiving the communication in each modality, we are to reflect upon what we interpret the message to mean. Record your interpretation of the message after receiving it in each modality. Each of the messages in the three modalities the message was the same. However, the way the message was conveyed determined how I interpreted the tone and importance of the message.


Email: The email was straight forward and clear, however the tone of the email is open to personal interpretation. As each person reads an email, they apply a tone to what they are reading whether it is correct or not. You can interpret an email as hostile when it is not, or not important because you cannot hear the importance in the persons voice. In addition, emails can be missed, ignored or forgotten. Something that is important like this should really be addressed in person or over the phone.

Voice Mail

The voice mail was also straight forward and clear. The voicemail provided the opportunity for the recipient to hear the importance in the voice of the person leaving the message. There is less of a chance for personal interpretation. There is still a risk leaving a voicemail because the recipient does not necessarily have to listen to their voicemail in any particular time frame. Therefore they might miss the fact that this is needed as soon as possible.

Face to Face
Face to face is the best option to get a clear message across in a timely manner. Especially since this matter is urgent, a face to face meeting provides the opportunity to display the importance of the conversation, the immediate need for what is being asked, and there is no possibility of missing deadlines or misunderstandings.
Then reflect upon the experience by considering the following:

  • How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next? I understand the message from one modality to the next, but I was able see the positives and negatives in each one. Face to face is the most effective form of communication. The true meaning of the conversation was able to come through with less personal interpretations when I could hear the voice.
  • What factors influenced how you perceived the message? The delivery style of the message influenced how I perceived the message and the importance behind it. Emails, though valuable because they can be time stamped and marked, are easily ignored, deleted and misunderstood. Voicemails are better than emails because you can feel as if the request is considered valid and important, but still lacks the sense of urgency but a face to face meeting demonstrates to me that it this was important.
    • Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message? Face to Face communication is the most effective form of communication. This provides the opportunity for eye contact and tone of voice. It is difficult to ignore and argue in person, and you will clearly receive the message and you have the opportunity to ask questions.
    • What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team? As a project manager you have to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to your team. By holding face to face meetings you build relationships with your team, foster communication, and allow for discussion. If you are not directly engaged with your team you risk losing information and missing deadlines. Good communication skills will ensure good project outcomes.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). “The Art of Effective Communication”

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

There are so many aspects of our lives that fall within the categories of projects such as planning a birthday party, a graduation party, a baby shower, an Anniversary party, a move, looking for a job, changing careers, going back to school and many more. Project Management should be taught in, at the very least, high school. Instead of focusing on a project at work, I decided to apply the post-mortem to a personal experience. The personal experience I will use is the last move my family and I made. I do not know about any of you, but I have moved my household far too many times already. We started in the military, but due to jobs and the growth of our family, we have moved 10 times in 22 years. Yikes!! In addition, each time we have moved ourselves!! So, you would think that we had this down to a science. Well, we thought so too, but soon were reminded how much about moving you quickly forget.


moving pic
[ File # csp1883563, License # 1295737 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / ilona75

In fact, my most recent moving experience occurred in May 2013 and was quite an undertaking. In addition this was our second move in a years time. My husband and I had to make these two moves due to job opportunities and we were moving from the East coast of Florida to the West Coast of Florida. Since we had just moved the year before, relocating from Georgia where we lived for 15 years to Florida, and had purged a lot of unnecessary items, we thought this move would be rather easy. The project was moving from one side of the state to the other while starting a new job and the kids finishing the school year. In retrospect, the entire project would have benefited greatly from the project management principles being learned in my current course and those I have learned over the last 3 years.

I had moved often enough that I was aware of many of the important elements, at least in theory. We still had boxes that had not been unpacked, I created a checklist of packing materials needed, companies that needed to be notified regarding turning off and on utilities, as well as changes of address. In addition we decided that since the move was only 3 hours away we could get away with not packing as well as we did the year before, especially since we were moving ourselves. I reserved the self moving truck after obtaining estimates. We had time line in mind (but not on paper) and family lined up to keep the our younger two so they didn’t have to make so many trips. Unfortunately, that was the extent of my project planning.

As a direct result of my significantly deficient analyses and planning:

  1. We did not have enough packing boxes, so we ended up just putting things in the car. This caused inefficient packing space since everything was not in boxes.
  2. I significantly underestimated the physical effort and strength required for such a large undertaking, especially in light of our limited manpower. We only had myself, my husband, and our 4 children.
  3. In an attempt to keep costs down, my husband and I moved the “smaller” items ourselves in our vehicles. He has a truck and I had a van. Once again, I seriously underestimated the cost of the gas for traveling back and forth 3 hours each way, the actual quantity that was capable of being moved per trip (much less than anticipated), and the time it would take to load the vehicles, drive across the state, unload the vehicles, and return across the state. This does not begin to consider the exhaustion factor. In the end, we made so many trips it was an inefficient method of moving.
  4. The house that we rented was great, in a great neighborhood and in the good school district, and plenty big for our family. Unfortunately I did not consider that it was a two story house and it ended up that my husband and I had to move all our bedroom furniture upstair by ourselves in our house.
  5. The stakeholders involved, namely my husband and myself were not equally responsible for all aspects of the project. I did the packing and unpacking for my house. My husband helped with the unloading for a few of the trips. The majority of the loading and unloading of the “smaller” items was done me.
  6. Despite the fact that I believed I had developed an effective moving system, I was definitely wrong. We were absolutely exhausted and working our jobs at the same time.

Clearly, this entire project would have positively benefited from better analyses, an accurate time and distance analysis, a meeting, and consensus amongst the family regarding responsibilities and commitments, as well as expected timelines. A formal checklist with all aspects of the move project itemized would also have done wonders for the organization. Although we did eventually get moved, it was an exhausting experience similar to almost every other move. I can say that even if I had used the best project management tools and skills, you may or may not be prepared for the unexpected. As we were moving the furniture into the house, on the third trip across the state, we encountered an unexpected plumbing problem. We were running the water in a couple of the sinks to clear the lines, and unbeknownst to us, one of the drain pipes was crushed in the front yard. So in a matter of minutes, just as we had gotten furniture in the downstairs living room, the sink was overflowing, we had water pouring from every drain in the house, including the toilets. We had to call an emergency plumber and a cleaner to disinfect the house! Even though no level of planning could have prepared me for that, better planning could have eliminated some of our exhaustion to be able to deal with the unexpected. However, the planning I had done ahead of time did provide us with a place to stay in case we needed one that night. I had reached out to my Aunt and had a back up in case we could not get moved into the house in time for us to sleep there. However, I feel much more confident that with the right preparation I will be able to plan much better for my next move, which thankfully will not be happening for at least another 3 years. Hopefully, with these tools available to me, it will be much smoother and less frustrating.

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Considering your learning in this course and the presentation this week by Dr. Siemens, reflect on the current and future perceptions of distance learning in our society. Take into account the societal forces in the world, including the advocates for and skeptics of distance learning, and consider the following:

  • What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

Distance Learning will be a leading way for education in the future. Within the next five to ten year, there probably will not be too much of a shift, however ten to twenty years from now I would predict that most people are involved in some form of distance learning. The popularity will probably grow significantly. An article written by Chris Dede (2005) states that we (educators) need to be prepare for the “neomellennial learning styles”. This group that is growing up in the age of the internet is going to be more accepting of online learning than their predecessors.

  • How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

The design, development, and delivery of a course are what make it successful (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015). Whether it is a course taken online or in a face-to-face learning environment, it has to be planned carefully with the student’s learning needs in mind. According to Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015), “well-designed courses provide students with engaging learning experiences”. I believe educators and instructional designers are crucial to the betterment of distance learning. As Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015) stated, technology is a tool; a vehicle for delivery. It is the planning process that is so critical when developing an online course.

  • How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

As an instructional designer of distance learning, I think it is very important to continually keep up with technological advances and find ways to include technology into our instructional experiences. By providing students with enriching experiences, while learning online, will be the best advocates for distance learning in the future. By giving students quality, enriching distance learning experiences will help to reduce the many misconceptions society has regarding distance education.

Dede, C. (2005). Planning for neomillennial learning styles. Educause Quarterly, 28(1), 7–12.

Siemens, G. (n.d.). The Future of Distance Education. Laureate Education, Inc.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Converting to a Distance Learning Format

Converting to a Distance Learning Format

The training manager in this week’s scenario is frustrated with the quality of communication in the face-to face training sessions and wants to try something new. The Trainer plans to convert all of the current training modules to a blended learning format. This will provide the trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material. Simonson, Smaldino, and Zvacek (2015) say, “Blended courses can be employed when the instructor feels that the online activities are more productive learning experiences for students”.

The solution proposed by the training manager involves the following components:

  • Convert all face-to-face training sessions into a blended format
  • Materials will be posted on the server for easy access of resources after the training session

To complete this request the trainer needs to identify the following:

  • Pre-planning strategies to consider before converting the program
  • Aspects of the original program that could be enhanced in the distance learning format
  • The role of the trainer in the distance learning environment
  • Methods used to encourage online interaction

Before starting, the trainer should consider what aspects of the quality of the face-to-face format is lacking.  To make a change in the modality of the learning requires that there is an instructional problem to be solved.  Perhaps the problem is not with the curriculum but with the environment in which it is delivered, the culture of the organization, or with the trainer himself.  Before changing anything, the current training should go through a careful evaluation such as the AEIOU Approach, which considers the Accountability, Effectiveness, Impact, Organizational Context, and Unanticipated Consequences (Simonson et al, 2015).  If, in fact, the issue is instructional, then the trainer should use the following best practices guide questions to develop the distance education resources.

The training manager should use a systematic design approach when planning the conversion. This approach should include analyzing the content to determine which parts of the course can best benefit from an online environment. Designing blended courses is an iterative process involving content design, course development, course implementation, course evaluation, and course revision (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010). Communication and teamwork are critical. Designers should involve the trainer, technology, and subject matter experts throughout the entire design process.

Otte (2005) says blended courses require that informed choices be made about which medium to use for what purpose. Since the training manager is having problems with communication in the face-to-face setting, asynchronous discussions may provide the flexibility, time, and anonymity students need to become more active participants in classroom discussions (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010). Once the course is active, communication and interactivity will be essential. The training manager should be aware of the changing role of the instructor in the online environment. Discussions must be purposely designed and managed in a timely manner. In an online environment the role of the trainer will change to more of a facilitator versus teacher. In addition, the trainer will need to include a tutorial for the trainees on using the new online system.

The following checklist (Bart, 2010) is a good resource for the trainer to use.

Assessing Online Facilitation Instrument







Bart, M. (2010). A Checklist for facilitating online courses. Faculty Focus: Focused on Today’s Higher Education Professional. Retrieved from

Keengwe, J. & Kidd, T. (2010). Towards best practices in online learning and teaching in higher education. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 1-11.

Otte, G. (2005). Using blended learning to drive faculty development (and vice versa). In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality Online Education: Engaging Communities (pp. 73-85). Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a. distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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The Impact of Open Source


          Due to the influence and expansion of technology over the years, education, specifically distance learning has evolved tremendously. Students are now able to view resources and course materials online. Open courseware is a course resource that is available on the internet and is provided by universities such as MIT, Yale, Michigan, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical School and many others.

Open Source vs. Open Courseware

Open Courseware is a term that consists of all supporting digital material for academic courses such as; syllabi, lecture notes, reading lists, presentation slides, case studies and software that is available for educational use and is shared via the internet at no cost (Baldi, Heier, Stanzick, 2002). Students can preview these types of courses to make choices about enrolling in the class or just expanding their knowledge base. One of the main benefits of using open courseware are the materials are free for the learner. However, a drawback of using these types of courses is that the learner gets no recognition (or degree) for participating

“Open source software is intended to be freely shared and can be improved upon and redistributed to others” (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015). Benefits are that anyone can take a software written code and do just about anything with it, as long as the uses are consistent with the 10-part definition (Simonson, Smaldino,& Zvacek, 2015). One potential drawback of open source software is that if the open source “software includes its construction plans, anyone, who knows how to read them, can profit from the ideas and insights of the original programmer” (Baldi, Heier, Stanzick, 2002).

Previewed Course



Instructor: Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta

Retrieved from: Open Yale Courses

          When entering this course site, the course set up if very clear. Each resource is clearly identified, the student can download files associated with the course, purchase books, and view the course syllabus. This course has 24 lecture sessions and two exams that have been recorded and can be live streamed or downloaded. Yale also provides a survey for this open course. The survey contains ten questions regarding the student views of the course.

My background is in education. I chose this particular course to evaluate because of a personal interest in the Italian language. Coming from a big Italian family, this course caught my attention. Some factors that Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek (2015), believe are important to include in a course are: student-instructor interaction and student-student interaction, such as discussion groups, a variety of teaching and learning strategies and methods that are activity based, opportunities to assess progress through papers, quizzes or exams, and the use of multimedia (print, audio and video). This particular course does meets most but not all of the needs of distance learners. This course does not provide the discussion groups. A majority of the course seemed to be the material from a face-to-face course. This course did provide two exams to assess learning.

I compared the course to Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek’s Fundamentals of Teaching Online strategies in the table below. On the left is the strategy used and on the right is how ITAL 310 measured up to those strategies.

Fundamentals of Teaching Online (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015) ITAL 310 Comments


Avoid “dumping” a Face-to-Face course onto the Web The course content seems to be the material that is used in a face-to-face classroom


Organize the Course and make organization and requirements clear to students The content of the course is easy to navigate with numbered lessons and exams


Keep students informed constantly There is no interaction between the instructor and student in this course


Think about course outcomes Students are provided the opportunity to use higher order thinking skills to understand the material in the course


Test application, not rote memory There are 2 exams throughout the course to assess learning


Integrate the power of the Web into the course The course uses Web 2.0 tools, uses the internet to download files, youtube to view videos and surveys about the course


Apply adult learning principles There was little to no evidence that adult learning principles were used in this course


Extend course reading beyond the text (or to replace the text) The option to purchase the course book and the option to purchase the Professors book, articles and youtube videos


Train students to use the course web site No training is provided to the students but there are materials available to download


Open courseware provides an opportunity for adult learners to expand their knowledge without the additional cost. Students can gain knowledge from the course, but will not earn any college credits by participating in this learning experience. In addition, this course does not meet the fundamentals of designing and teaching instruction online. These courses are not designed with the learner in mind. Most of these courses are comprised of the materials from face-to-face courses. Open courseware provides an ample amount of time for students to use the course materials, become familiar with the content and absorb the new information. In order for “deep learning to occur, we need to have repeated exposure to the information, along with some time in between for reflection” (Anderson, 2011).



Anderson, M. (2011, January-February).  The world is my school: Welcome to the era of personalized learning. The Futurist. Retrieved from:

Baldi, S., Heier, H., & Stanzick, F. (2002). Open courseware vs. open source software- A critical comparison.  Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S.,& Zvack, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Yale University (2015). ITAL 310: DANTE IN TRANSLATION. Retrieved from Yale Open courses website:

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Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Chose one example on which to focus and, in a blog post, identify one to two distance learning technologies you think provide the best solution for the given challenge. Support your decision with information and rationale from the Learning Resources. In addition, provide examples of the use of these technologies by searching the Internet for two external resources that showcase how these technologies have been successfully used in distance learning.

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

After reading the examples, I chose to focus on technology that would be beneficial to the challenge of accessing art museums that are not accessible otherwise. The technology that I chose to highlight is Google Art Project. Founded in 2011, the google cultural institute is a not-for-profit initiative that partners with cultural organizations to bring the world’s cultural heritage online. We build free tools and technologies for the cultural sector to showcase and share its riches, making them more widely accessible to a global audience (Google, 2015)


Over the past several years technology has changed the way do things and the ways in which they are done. Technology has provided places for students to learn outside of the traditional classroom. “The growth of online distance learning is explosive in almost all sectors and in many developed and developing countries” (Moller, Wellesley, Foshay, & Huett, 2008). To be able to provide your class with the opportunity to view art from Museums all over the world without leaving your classroom is unique and incredible.

Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvack (2015) outlines “online activities for students should have specific pedagogical or course management purposes”. The training should focus on specific tasks and provide authentic learning experiences within the course. Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvack state that, “learning experiences should be provided to each learner whether local or distant, and the expectation should be that the equivalent outcomes, rather than identical, should be expected of each learner” (2015).


Google Art Project can be linked through any CMS platform. Google Art provides the opportunity to participate in live ArtTalks streamed on their Google+ page, and teachers can create the own collection s of art, landmarks, and historic events to go over with the class at any time.

Google Art Project can also be accessed anytime, anywhere. There is a mobile app that can be downloaded to devices for ease of use. In addition you can get Google Cardboard for the students and they can experience virtual reality in a simple, fun and affordable way.


Technology has brought the traditional classroom to new levels within the last 20 years. The growth and success of distance education is closely linked to the design and quality of learning that has been enabled through technology (Siemens, 2002). It is the instructional designers’ responsibility to serve the learning needs of the student by providing effective instruction and interaction among students (Siemens, 2002).


Google Art Project. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2015.

Siemens, G. (2002, September 2). Instructional design in elearning. Retrieved March 17, 2012 from:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.).Boston,MA: Pearson

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Distance Learning

Why do you feel the definition of distance learning is always changing and what factors drive that change? Do you think these changes are based on a person’s profession or by how much technical knowledge he/she has?

Before starting this course, and before I was involved in instructional design, my definition of distance learning was very basic. It was the ability to learn and take courses outside of the classroom. My experience throughout my graduate degrees included four years of distance learning, however the distance learning I participated in included discussion groups with other classmates, skype calls, and email communication with the instructors. These courses allowed students to take classes outside of the classroom, while continually incorporating collaboration with classmates.

According to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012) distance education is defined as “institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors. Distance education is a method in education in which the learner is physically separate from the teacher.” Based on my personal experience this definition is an accurate description of distance education. In addition students have to be self-motivated and have good time management to complete course work in a remote setting.

As an educator, I personally believe that the human interaction in the classroom, collaboration, and face to face instruction are extremely beneficial. Even though distance learning allows students to continue education in a more convenient manner, I believe that there needs to be a careful balance to include personal interaction in the class. As a student of distance learning and an instructional designer I do see the benefit, but I believe at heart I will always favor face to face instruction. As for distance learning in the corporate world, this is the most cost efficient way to train employees. I work for a global company that utilizes virtual training on a daily basis. This is cost efficient and gives the company the ability to reach their employees all over the world. However, what I have experienced with this approach is the need for continuous follow up training because they do not pay attention.

After reading the new information from this week, and having a few years of experience in instructional design, I have additional thoughts on distance learning. When I first started in instructional design, the term e-learning was new to me. In additional to creating curriculums, and assessments, I have learned the difference between e-learning and distance education. I have also had to learn about the difference in education and corporate training. These have been hard concepts for me to accept as an educator, but I do see the benefit to corporate training e-lessons that can reach everyone all over the world. Unfortunately there still seems to be a need for repeated training, and the audience is at the mercy of the internet and connection speeds can be frustrating.

The article by Moller, Foshay, and Huett (2008) reminds us of how critical it is for instructional designers to become the individuals responsible for the course material development and not the instructors. While traditional classrooms can benefit from using electronic delivery methods, for example PowerPoint presentations, new programs can be used.

The definition of distant learning is always changing because the needs of our students are changing. We will see how the definition for distance learning will continue to change over the years to come. It is important to try and standardize virtual learning with consistent material and evaluations. The quality of the work needs to be consistent to provide the training that is being requested.

Distance Learning


Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: implications for instructional design on the potential of the web. TechTrends , 70-76.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance foundations of distance education (Vol. 5th Edition). Boston, MA: Pearson.