ERIC Number: ED396715
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jun-21
Distance Education: By Design or Default?
Ely, Donald P.
Technology is often the driving force in the distance education movement, rather than the needs or educational problems that exist and need to be addressed. This paper considers the questions that should be asked before deciding that distance education is an appropriate solution to an education or training problem. The most successful distance education programs in the world are those that respond to real needs and offer an alternative to learning which would otherwise be denied or prohibitive in terms of cost and time. The popularity of distance education and the attempt to immediately utilize new technologies often bypasses an initial analysis and needs assessment. Questions to consider before implementing a distance education program include: what is the purpose, for whom, why, how will distance education improve the quality of teaching and enhance the benefits to learners, and at what cost? The survival of distance learning will depend on the ability to raise the right questions, seek cost-effective alternatives to traditional instructional practices, and to design engaging events that will bring about active, involved learners. (Author/SWC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (Tallahassee, FL, June 21, 1996).