ERIC Number: ED436653
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Distance Education and Learner Autonomy: Some Theoretical Implications.
Bouchard, Paul; Kalman, Linda
As new communications media have developed, discussion of the definition of "distance education" (DE) has increased. The following defining features of DE have been proposed: geographically remote, two-way communication; use of one or more technical media; mass delivery; control of educational institution; and predominance of independent study. In each case, however, examples of programs qualifying as bona fide DE without being characterized by the specific feature can be cited. Some authors have attempted to reframe the concept of distance by emphasizing the pedagogical aspects of the teacher-learner transaction (transactional distance). Learner autonomy and learning as action are two other issues that have been discussed extensively in relation to DE. Learner autonomy is seen as a requisite in highly structured situations, where learners must compensate for the lack of pedagogical flexibility. Simultaneously, learner autonomy is seen as indispensable when learners must deal with a lack of structure. Some have suggested that the format of DE programs include a structure that encourages learners to become proactive in assuming various learning strategies, committing themselves to the lifelong goal of self-directed learning. In the absence of in situ teacher-learner interactions, DE programs rely on a correct understanding of learner autonomy for their effectiveness. (Contains 15 references.) (MN)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Definitions, Distance Education, Educational Technology, Foreign Countries, Independent Study, Learning Processes, Personal Autonomy, Teacher Student Relationship
Paul Bouchard, GIRAT, Department of Education, Rm. S-LB 579, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8 ($2).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A