How is Online Learning Different to other Types of Courses?
FORMS OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
There are a number of other ways students can study courses via distance education. These include the following delivery mechanisms.
Traditional Distance Education
This is a paper-based form of education. Traditionally, sufficient quantities of course materials (e.g. study guides, notes or text books) are printed to supply needs over several years. Some traditional correspondence courses have been known to use materials decades after initial printing. In today’s world of rapid change, material can become out of date rapidly, and this traditional approach is generally less than desirable. Other institutions will print notes as required from a data base that can be updated at will.
Provided adequate resources are allocated for maintaining relevance of content, this method can deliver very up-to-date material. If students take too long to complete a course, though, and are working with materials supplied to them a year or more earlier, this system can also have dated content.
Projects (mentor guided research)
This is more commonly used for delivering post graduate courses, and not by all universities.
It involves providing guidelines or instructions for the student, and assigning an academic expert to provide support as they work through a project.
The mentor may have well defined responsibilities, such as “to provide guidance and direction” when called upon, “to monitor progress” and “to record adherence to guidelines provided”.
Video or Audio courses
Audio education has been used to deliver some forms of education, in particular language courses (e.g. Linguaphone and Berlitz) for many decades. Video education though more recent, has still been used extensively over recent decades, if not to supply a complete course, at least in blended learning situations.
Real Time Conferencing
e.g. Short wave radio, telephone hook up, internet chat, video conferencing
This involves utilising instruction and information sources that are transmitted via the internet.
Online education can be relatively simple, or very complex.
In its simplest form, documents are simply viewed and read on web sites. These may have text, photographs and illustrations. There may be both information about the subject being studied, as well as instructions to follow, guiding the student through the learning process.
A very simple course may not even contain assignments that need to be submitted. It could be as simple as three steps:
Read the notes
Answer some questions
Go to a different part of the web site to check your answers are correct.
A step up from this may involve automating stage 2 and 3 so that the student can test themselves.
Complex online learning systems are not only more sophisticated in what the student works with; but also incorporate programming to support administration, allowing such things as the college to track the students work and automatically record progress.
To see some of the possibilities look at: www.acs.edu.au/presentation
Click on and work through the toolbar, starting with “The ACS Approach”
This is similar in some ways to online education, though it does not depend upon any type of link between the computer being used, and other computers. Courses are in electronic format, so that text and graphics are viewed on a computer screen. It may also involve video, automated assessments, access to an online library and other support facilities etc.
This involves using two or more different methods of delivery. It may involve on campus studies as well as distance education (e.g. periodic workshops, or some modules such as lab classes which can only be taken on campus).
Benefits of Home Study
- External Study with ACS Distance Education gives you the following benefits:
- More Choice -you are not limited to a small range of subjects available at a nearby college, offered at a time and place that suits your timetable.
- Time Flexibility -vary your workload to fit your other commitments with work, social and family life. Even vary the amount of hours week to week, and take a few weeks break whenever you need to.
- Save Time and Money -You don't have the time and financial costs involved in travelling to and from class.
- Location Doesn't Matter -You can live and study from anywhere; and you can even move around while you study (We have students in big sites and isolated deserts, and even some who work on cruise ships, or are backpacking around the world while they study.
- Support Unlimited -Communicate with tutors via phone, email, social media or even make an appointment and come and see us -no restriction like some other colleges have on when or how much support you receive to help with your studies.
- We emphasize Experiential Learning; and that makes your learning experience very practical and builds a lot of diversity into the whole experience.
- You Learn to Be Different -Successful individuals and enterprises today, are more often than not, ones that are outside the mainstream. If you study a different course, and develop a different skill set, you have a better foundation for doing things differently in the workplace or business -and that can be an extremely valuable advantage. Mainstream studies at mainstream colleges may be producing more tertiary graduates than ever; but there are more unemployed or under employed graduates from mainstream colleges than ever before.
- You Learn to Adapt -Today's world is continually changing driven by new discoveries and inventions combined with changes in the economy. Courses that teach you what you need to know today, may be useless tomorrow. Courses that give you a fundamental understanding of a subject, and an ability to build on that foundation, are preparing you for life.
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