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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)

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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).

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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.

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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).

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

Siemens, G. (2002, September 2). Instructional design in elearning. Retrieved March 17, 2012 from: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/InstructionalDesign.htm

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.

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References

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.