Instructional Design and Technology

Distance Learning

on September 9, 2012

Before the start on this online program of instructional design and technology, I had limited knowledge of what distance learning really was.  Throughout my education, grade school through postgraduate, I had only taken part in traditional classroom learning. I attended a college that did not offer online courses and if you did not report to class your grade was affected. As I entered into the world of education myself I was introduced to distance learning within the high school I am currently teaching. The school had a lab that was able to connect to others around the world. One of the classes that utilized this tool was the science class. Those in the medical field would be able to watch live operations. Other classes would communicate with NASA. Both allowing the students, from poorer backgrounds, to see more of what is to offer, giving them the opportunity to achieve more. 

In this weeks resources there was a definition of distance learning that says it all, distance learning is “institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunication systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors” (Simonson, 2012). I believe this is a good definition for distance learning, but there is still some flexibility with it. 

Distance learning does not just have to be a formal education. It has evolved to be formal in the education and training settings, but corporations can utilize distance learning as a tool to discussions and meetings around the globe. Using distance learning as a resource tool enables education and corporations to extend their knowledge beyond their walls. 

The definition of distance is always changing because the means of delivery are always changing.  Distance learning was first done by means of print (news papers).  In the late 70’s early 80’s we began to use computers and the Internet to learn from a distance (Simonson, 2012).  Today we can have entire classes conducted online and through video and chat.

As the evolution of learning comes about, the employers also need to realize the growth. Distance learning is not going away, it is only getting stronger and wider spread.  When employers receive resumes from potential employees that have online universities for their education, they need to realize that they have just as much credibility.  The “gatekeepers” (Columbaro, 2009) need to not weed out the online learners.





Columbaro, N. L., & Monaghan, C. H. (2009). Employer Perceptions of Online Degrees: A Literature Review. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, XII, (1).

Moller, L., Foshay, W. R., & Huett, J. (2008). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications for Instructional Design on the Potential of the Web. TechTrends , 63-76. 

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education fifth edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.




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