Distance Education And Learning Style

Distance Education And Learning Style

Victor X. Wang (California State University - Long Beach, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-881-9.ch040


The father of adult education, Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997), predicted in the 1970s that teaching, especiallythe teaching of adults in the 21st century, would be delivered electronically (1970, 1975). His prediction came true. Distance education was created primarily to meet the needs of working adults who could not come to campuses to takes classes because of work and family responsibilities. Today’s academic institutions are in transition. Although colleges continue to attract 62% of high school graduates onto their campuses immediately following graduation, larger numbers of so-called nontraditional learners also are seeking degrees via distance education (Hammonds, Jackson, DeGeorge, & Morris, 1997; Palloff & Pratt, 1999). In response to Knowles’s prediction, giant online universities have been established to meet the increasing demand of degree-seeking working adults. For example, in 2002, the University of Phoenix, part of the Apollo Group, saw its enrollment surpass 100,000 students, making it the largest institution of higher learning in the United States (Bash, 2003). Without its new electronic delivery system, teaching of such a large number of students would be unimaginable. Thanks to the development of information technology (IT), it has solved many problems by changing the roles of students and faculty.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Style: According to Newbury House Dictionary of American English , style is both a countable noun and an uncountable noun, meaning the particular way that something is done. For example, her writing style very simple and clear.

Emotional: This strand refers to motivation, persistence, responsibility, and structure. For example, some people must complete a project before they start a new one, and others work best on multiple tasks at the same time (persistence element).

Psychological: The elements in this strand represent the following types of psychological processing: hemispheric, impulsive or reflective, and global vs. analytic. The hemispheric element refers to left and right brain processing modes and the impulsive vs. reflective style describes how some people leap before thinking and others scrutinize the situation before moving an inch. Global and analytic elements are unique in comparison to other elements because these two elements are made up of distinct clusters of elements found in the other four strands. The elements that determine global and analytic processing styles are sound, light, seating arrangement, persistence, sociological preference, and intake. Global and analytic processing styles will be discussed in detail in the next section.

Sociological: The sociological strand includes elements related to how individuals learn in association with other people: (a) alone or with peers, (b) an authoritative adult or with a collegial colleague, and (c) learning in a variety of ways or routine patterns. For example, a number of people need to work alone when tackling a new and difficult subject, while others learn best when working with colleagues (learning alone or with peers element).

Physiological: The elements in this strand include perceptual (auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic), time-of-day energy levels, intake (eating or not while studying), and mobility (sitting still or moving around). For example, many people refer to themselves as night owls or early birds because they function best at night or in the morning (time-of-day element).

Environmental: The environmental strand addresses elements of lighting, sound, temperature, and seating arrangement. For example, some people need to study in a cool and quiet room, and others cannot focus unless they have music playing and it is warm (sound and temperature elements).

Correspondence Education: Correspondence education is commonly defined as a method of providing education to nonresident students, who receive lessons and exercises through mails and, upon completion, return them for analysis, criticism, and grading to the college or university concerned. It is being increasingly used by students, business and industry in training programs, by men and women in the armed forces, and by the governments of many nations as part of their educational programs. It supplements other forms of education and makes independent study programs readily available.

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