Creating Distance Learning Courses
At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
"Good instructional design is at the core of any quality distance education course. It is virtually impossible to create a distance education course without knowing and understanding instructional design…Higher education faculty in the US and elsewhere rarely take classes in graduate school that teach them how to design instruction. Their focus has been and will continue to be on the content they teach and research that supports it. Although this is what higher education has dictated to be the central theme of university teaching, and faculty often do quite well in the traditional classroom, the move to distance delivery presents a new set of issues that require some knowledge of instructional design. And, although faculty may be resistant to change in designing instruction, most will admit they are better classroom teachers as a result of the design processes they learn in developing a distance learning course." Distance Education: A Primer, Instructional Issues, University of Texas
are at least two main approaches to designing distance learning curriculum.
Each has developed from a major school of thought on how people learnbehaviorism
and constructivism. Although these approaches are sometimes presented
as mutually exclusive, each has its value for particular times and places,
and each has specific application in particular distance learning environments.
In both cases there is a common interest in outcomes - what will learners
be able to do or think at the end of a unit of instruction that is different
from what they were able to do at the start?
(narrative and examples are adapted from UWEO course DLDD 100, Teaching and Learning at a Distance,
authored by Dr. Stephen Kerr, University of Washington College of Education)
Deciding which of these instructional design approaches to take depends on the needs and inclinations of your learners, the content to be communicated, and your preference as an instructor. The kind of approach you adopt will affect how the course is structured, including the relationship between instructor and learners, the range and type of activities, and the assessment methods. These differences can be briefly summarized in a table.