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Distance Education in Theory and Approach. Tuesday, December 03, 2013 | 10:00 am –11:30 am. Presenters. Sevaughn Banks, Training and EBP Specialist , CalSWEC Tim Wohltmann, Distance Education Specialist, CalSWEC. Webinar Overview.

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Distance Education

in Theory and Approach

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 | 10:00 am –11:30 am

  • Sevaughn Banks, Training and EBP Specialist,CalSWEC
  • Tim Wohltmann, Distance Education Specialist, CalSWEC
webinar overview
Webinar Overview

This webinar is designed for people considering the use of web-based modes of training and education delivery. The webinar will take a critical approach to examining fundamental concepts associated with teaching and learning in a distance education paradigm.

defining distance education webinar objectives
Defining Distance EducationWebinar Objectives
  • Describe the history of distance education and its impact on current practice
  • Highlight theories underpinning distance education, a taxonomy of theory and illustrate their impact on contemporary practice
  • Define key terms in distance education history and practice
  • Outline common delivery methods
key terminology
Key Terminology
  • Macro
    • Distance Education
    • eLearning
    • mLearning
    • Modality
  • Mezzo
    • Information Communications Technology (ICT)
    • Pedagogy vs Andragogy
    • Synchronous vs Asynchronous
    • Hybrid vs Blended vs Flipped Classroom model
  • Micro
    • Course authoring software
    • Learning Management System (LMS)
    • Course Management System (CMS) or Content Management System
    • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
orientation to education at a distance
Orientation to Education at a Distance
  • What is Distance Education?
  • What is the impact of “Distance” alter the nature of “Education”?
  • How does “Learning” feel about that?
images of distance education
Images of Distance Education

If you could define “distance education” in a picture, what would it look like?

beginning with a definition
Beginning with a Definition

In a very basic iteration, distance education is a paradigm in which a learner is physically separated from the source of instruction by time, distance, space.

how does distance impact education
How does “distance” impact education?

The gap existing between an instructional resource (ex: a teacher to whom you might ask questions) and the student is central to building a conceptual framework for distance education.

  • Multiple elements present in an educational paradigm
  • Multiple elements influence learning outcomes
  • Distance alters the elements present


Have you..?


Correct? Incorrect?

How do I…?

defining distance education via transactional distance theory
Defining Distance Education via Transactional Distance theory

Distance creates a relational gap between learner and instructor, creating varying amounts of learner autonomy and “transactional distance” (Moore 1972)

learning distance mastery
Learning  Distance ? Mastery
  • How can deeper, higher-order learning be achieved?
  • How much guidance, structure, dialog, interaction are needed between learner and teacher?
intersection of history and theory
Intersection of History and Theory
  • How can we distinguish the phases of evolution of Distance Education as a field or practice?
  • What is the relationship between the phases of evolution, the theories and the approaches to distance education?
  • What is a “modality” or “mode” in the distance education context?
  • How do they differ from one another?
  • Why are some chosen over others?
modality defined
Modality defined

A Modality typically refers to the way in which distance education course or content is delivered. It might also be referred to as:

  • Delivery or distribution method
  • Programmatic “approach” or structure
  • Type of content

There may be a single, or multiple, modality(ies) used in a given distance learning paradigm or program.

modality confusion
Modality confusion

The terms ‘modality’ or ‘mode’ may sometimes be used interchangeably to refer to different levels of analysis or activity

how do we distinguish modalities and approaches from one another
How do we distinguish Modalities and Approaches from one another?
  • Macro level descriptors are most common
  • Context / Industry-specific
  • Tool-based

Like an abstract piece of art,

there are many ways to

look at and describe

delivery methods

or modalities.

modalities at the macro level
Modalities at the Macro Level
  • Concern larger program-level considerations
    • Will there be an instructor?
    • Will it be asynchronous, synchronous, both?
    • Will there be in-person elements?
    • What percentage of instruction will be online?
    • If in-person elements are present, do the online elements only supplement that? Or, are the online elements essential to in-person instruction?

(South West Oklahoma University)

instructor led vs self guided
Instructor-led vs Self-guided

Picture of announcement board from Instructor-led fully online course inside LMS

instructor led vs self guided1
Instructor-led vs Self-guided

Picture of

user interface and

content slide from

self-guided fully online course

synchronous vs asynchronous
Synchronous vs Asynchronous

Picture of a web conferencing session in a synchronous fully online course

synchronous vs asynchronous1
Synchronous vs Asynchronous

Picture of disscussion forum from an asynchronous instructor-led fully online course

synchronous vs asynchronous2
Synchronous vs Asynchronous

Picture of a self assessment activity from a self-guided asynchronous fully online course

hybrid blended3
Hybrid / Blended

Group collaboration spaces

ePublishing of course materials

Wikis / blogs

flipped inverted classroom
Flipped / Inverted Classroom

In a ‘Flipped’ or inverted classroom model, the more passive learning elements (such as lectures or readings) are moved online and completed prior to in-person elements.

flipped inverted classroom1
Flipped / Inverted Classroom


flipped inverted classroom2
Flipped / Inverted Classroom


web enhanced

Paradigms in which the main source of instruction occurs in-person and where access to supporting resources or learning tools is provided additionally outside of the classroom.

  • Allows learners to:
  • Receive Announcements
  • Read Syllabus
  • Electronic access to materials
  • Submit Assignments
  • Complete formative assessments
  • Use tools like course calendar or grade book to manage performace
other approaches to conceptualizing modality
Other Approaches to Conceptualizing Modality

Distance Education programs may also be grouped, analyzed and understood by modalities common to particular types of organizations or via approaches focusing on particular tools / combinations of tools. For example:

  • Education vs Training
  • Non-profit organizations vs Technology-based initiatives
  • High vs Low bandwidth
  • Mobile vs Fixed desktop
  • New vs established media
mezzo micro level variables context vs tool
Mezzo & Micro level variables: Context vs Tool
  • Mezzo: Learning context, sector or organization type
    • Education (K-12, Higher Ed)
    • Professional (Corporate Training or Continuing Ed)
    • Non-profit / research institute
    • Open Access (MOOC / Open Educational Resource)
  • Micro: specific technology used to distribute content (hardware / software)
    • Mobile (podcasts, games, apps, web 2.0, augmented reality, ePublishing)
    • Audio/ Video (ITV, interactive video, web conferencing, screencasting, lecture capture, gaming / simulation, interactive rich media)
    • Audio (podcast, IRI)
    • Text (eBooks, interactive ePublishing platforms, discussion forums, blog, wiki, knowledge base forums, web 2.0)
moving away from modality
Moving away from Modality
  • The rise of “localness” = access to learning, all the time, everywhere
  • Blurring of lines between traditional education, online education and variants in between
  • Popular modularization of technology and learning
  • Interplay between Education and Technology spurring innovation on both sides

  • History& Theory?
  • Modality / Delivery Method?
what s up next
What’s up next?

Webinar 2 will examine Hybrid / Blended modalities and, specifically, the ‘Flipped Classroom’ approach

Questions to be answered:

  • How does one flip their classroom?
  • What do they look like in practice?
  • Do they work? What is the impact?
  • Where to start?
  • Myths and FAQs

+ Mark February date on calendars!

thank you further follow up
Thank you & Further follow-up

Sevaughn Banks

Tim Wohltmann