Elements of Distance Education

Dr. George Siemens noted a growing acceptance of distance education (DE) in business and education (Laureate, 2008).  Collaboration has evolved over time because the delivery tools have changed.  DE may have started with postal mail between a professor and student, but it has evolved because of the Internet tools available.  Barnes and Lescault (2011) surveyed college students on their use of social media tools and noted that 98% of students have a Facebook account and 84% have a Twitter account, which are two of the well-known social media tools.  Twitter has already surpassed 500 million users (Pelzer, 2012), and Facebook had 900 million users by March 2012 (The Associated Press, 2012).  Allen and Seaman (2013) tracked student enrollment in online education for ten years and noted increases every year.  Technology use is increasing, and the avenue to collaborate are increasing.  The development of technology has aided in furthering the collaborative efforts in businesses, education and other fields.

Students and businesses have yet another tool to use for collaboration.  Wikis are used to edit and collaborate over documents that contain text, and Adobe has furthered that idea of collaboration by allowing people to share and collaborate over their video edits.  Adobe has a tool called Adobe Anywhere, and it allows people to collaborate over distance on video files based on Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Prelude (Miller, 2013).  This might not sound like a big deal, but this enables students and businesses to collaborate on their video edits regardless of distance.  Students can now work together on their video edits as a group homework.  They can receive feedback instantaneously through their collaborative efforts.  Gone are the days of group members who take turns while laboring in a school computer lab to complete a final video.  These students can now work simultaneously to edit one video file as they collaborate virtually from anywhere.

For more information about Adobe Anywhere, check their website: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeanywhere.html


Allen, E., & Seaman, J., (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf

Barnes, N. G., & Lescault, A. (2011). Social media adoption soars as higher-ed experiments and reevaluates its use of new communications tools. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Retrieved from http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesandresearch/socialmediaadoptionsoars/

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2008). The future of distance education [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Miller, R. (2013). Adobe announces new video production collaboration tool: Helps video production teams work together.

Pelzer, A. (2012). Twitter will break through the 500 million user mark on Wednesday. RAAK. Retrieved from http://wewillraakyou.com/2012/02/dynamic-chart-shows-twitters-exact-growth/

The Associated Press (2012). Number of active users at Facebook over the years. Yahoo Finance. Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/news/number-active-users-facebook-over-230449748.html



left comments on similar blogs at

William http://williambellblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/elements-of-distance-education-diffusion



Jeanna http://jwagnerwalden.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/the-next-generation-of-distance-education


The Next Generation of Distance Education

Module 1:  After reading the three articles by Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman, and listening to the Simonson video programs, compare and contrast the reasons these authors believe there is a need to evolve distance education to the next generation. Do you agree with their positions? Why or why not?

Dr. Michael Simonson (Laureate, 2008) and Moller, Huett, Foshay, and Coleman (2008) similarly noted that distance education (DE) must evolve in order to provide an authentic and legitimate place for learning, and cost is a factor in its adoption.  They differ on the rate of diffusion of DE and what must be done to enter into the next level of DE.  Overall, I agree with their positions, and I will focus the discussion on their similarities and differences.

Technology is here to stay.  The children of today are immersed more in social media than generations that are older than them (Allen & Seaman, 2013).  We are at the cusp of having DE become a mainstay in education.  Check out the statistical trends of online education.  The stigma of having an inferior online degree as opposed to a stellar brick-and-mortar school is vanishing.  Online degrees are treated as equivalents to their face-to-face counterparts.  In fact, Taylor, Parker, Lenhart, and Patten (2011) noted that 86% of public universities offer an online class.  In the realm of businesses, DE as a training tool reduces the cost of training because of its scalability and reduced travel cost (Moller, Foshay, Huett, 2008a).  However, the cost of an initial transition to DE is relatively high (Moller et al., 2008a).  Simonson noted that DE will increase quickly and little must be done to promote it (Laureate, 2008).  Because of the sudden growth of DE, Simonson noted that face-to-face instruction has to evolve and be equivalent in an online environment (Laureate, 2008).  As technology permeates through schools, teachers and instructional designers can work together to create dynamic and engaging DE (Huett, Moller, Foshay, & Coleman, 2008).

Moller, Foshay, Huett, and Coleman have different views on how DE will gain momentum when compared to Simonson.  Moller, Foshay, and Huett (2008a) noted that traditional learning models have to change to meet the needs of students in DE due to the social nature of the students.  The type of interaction (e.g. student-teacher, student-student, student-content) for distance learners is still in need of research to determine what works best in DE (Moller et al., 2008a).  Collaboration between teachers and instructional designers is essential in making DE palatable; otherwise, individuals may not find DE beneficial for their organization (Huett et al., 2008).  DE has to be carefully crafted in order to win over those who are considering DE as a part of the future for their organization (Huett et al., 2008).  On the contrary, Simonson noted that DE would occur anyway since it is near the critical point of its adoptions (Laureate, 2008).

I agree that more people will use DE as people become familiar with the technology tools used in DE.  I side more with Moller, Foshay, Huett, and Coleman in that DE has to be crafted carefully to avoid losing the interest of people.  The content of the material may have to change a bit as it is transitioned from a face-to-face environment to DE.  Regardless if the growth is dramatic as noted by Simonson or based upon a gradual acceptance, DE will increase in its use and the field of education needs to ready.


I’ve posted on

jeanna wagner https://jwagnerwalden.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/the-next-generation-of-distance-education/comment-page-1/#comment-3

alison parker http://principlesofdistanceeducation.wordpress.com/

ena smith-goddard:  http://ena-spoonfulofsugar.blogspot.com/2013/06/educ-8842-principles-of-distance.html#comment-form


Allen, E., & Seaman, J., (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Coleman, C. (2008).  The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web.  TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning52(5), 63-67.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer).  (2008). Distance education: The next generation.  United States: Walden University

Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008a).  The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web.  Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning52(3), 70-75.

Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008b).  The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web.  Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning52(4), 66-70.

Taylor, P., Parker, K., Lenhart, A., Patten, E. (2011). The digital revolution and higher education: College presidents, public differ on value of online learning. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP-Online-Learning.pdf