Today the global education community has become the buzz term in the realm of education and training. Learners in every location around the globe must acquire new skills, be literate, and understand constantly changing dynamics in globalization (Schrum, 2000, p. 91). College courses taught in the United States of America can be taken by students in Asia. Likewise, courses taught in Europe can be taken by learners in North America. Although younger learners like to travel to a different university in a different country in order to obtain a much-desired degree and to get cultural immersion in order to learn a different language, nontraditional learners prefer taking courses offered by foreign universities or corporations in foreign countries via distance education technologies in their home countries. This is not to say that nontraditional learners do not like to travel to foreign countries. Rather, they have multiple work and family responsibilities (Wang, 2006) that prevent them from being away from home for a long time. Obtaining a college degree is a several years long endeavor to anyone.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Distance Education: Distance education can be defined as any form of education in which the teacher and the learner are separated in either time or space. Distance education was formerly called home study, and then correspondence education. Later, distance education was delivered via radio and TV broadcast in different countries. Currently, more distance education is delivered via Internet and computer communications technologies.
Border: Newbury House Dictionary of American English defines the word border as the legal line separating two states or countries. For example, we crossed the Mexican border into the USA. The word border can also be used as a verb. For example, the trees border the road on both sides. In this article, the word Border also means the legal line separating two states or countries. Although the legal line exists, it no longer separates a learner from a teacher because distance learning technologies have broken down this legal line. Learners may have their citizenship and passport. However, when they join the global education community via distance learning technologies, the legal line as defined by the word border no longer exists to some degree.
Pedagogy: This word is an uncountable noun, meaning the theory and method of teaching. As different fields develop, this word has taken on new meanings. For example, in the field of adult education, pedagogy means the art and science of teaching children. Others may just define the word as an activity involving the purposeful creation of learning experiences. In recent years, the word pedagogy refers to teaching children. Adult pedagogy means andragogy, which means the art and science of helping adults learn.
Computer Conferencing: This refers to an approach to distance teaching using a computer(s) to assist in the presentation of teaching materials or to assistant learners to work through an already prepared learning program. The term computer conferencing has the following meanings: 1. Teleconferencing supported by one or more computers. 2. An arrangement in which access, by multiple users, to a common database is mediated by a controlling computer. 3. The interconnection of two or more computers working in a distributed manner on a common application process. Instant Messaging and chat systems are multicasting approaches for computer conferencing.
Asynchronous: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word as of, used in, or being digital communication (as between computers) in which there is no timing requirement for transmission and in which the start of each character is individually signaled by the transmitting device. The term asynchronous is usually used to describe communications in which data can be transmitted intermittently rather than in a steady stream. Teaching and learning anytime anywhere is the typical asynchronous nature of distance education.
Synchronous: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word as happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same time. To achieve synchronous teaching and learning via the Internet technologies, teachers and learners can chat with each other or do videoconferencing.
Lifelong Learning: Until recently, there has been a tendency to treat this term as being synonymous with lifelong education. In fact, lifelong learning and lifelong education are totally different terms. Lifelong learning can be defined as follows: 1. The process of learning that occurs throughout the life span. 2. The learning that occurs variously in formal institutions or education and training, and informally, at home, at work, or in the wider community. Learning emphasizes the person in whom the change occurs or expected to occur. Learning is the act or process by which behavioral change, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are acquired whereas education is an activity undertaken or initiated by one or more agents that is designed to effect changes in the knowledge, skill, and attitudes of individuals, groups, or communities. Once the difference between learning and education is clarified, the meanings of lifelong learning and lifelong education become self-explanatory.