From Distance Education to Open and Distance Learning: A Holistic Evaluation of History, Definitions, and Theories

From Distance Education to Open and Distance Learning: A Holistic Evaluation of History, Definitions, and Theories

Aras Bozkurt (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8431-5.ch016

Abstract

As pragmatist, interdisciplinary fields, distance education (DE) and open and distance learning (ODL) transform and adapt themselves according to changing paradigms. In this regard, the purpose of this study is to examine DE and ODL from different perspectives to discern their future directions. The study concludes that DE and ODL are constantly developing interdisciplinary fields where technology has become a significant catalyst and these fields become part of the mainstream education. However, mainstreaming should be evaluated with caution, and there is a need to revisit core values and fundamentals where critical pedagogy would have a pivotal role. Besides, there is no single theory that best explains these interdisciplinary fields, and therefore, there is a need to benefit from different theoretical approaches. Finally, as a result of constant changes, we should keep the definition of both DE and ODL up-to-date to better explain the needs of the global teaching and learning ecosystem.
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A Brief History: Roots Of Distance Education

The history of DE dates back to the 1700s and 1800s and reflects an egalitarian approach to education (Casey, 2008). Its history can be classified under three ages at the macro level and under five generations at the micro level. These ages and generations were shaped and determined by the dominant communication technologies adopted by DE (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Ages and generations of DE

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Key Terms in this Chapter

Andragogy: The term is derived from the Greek words “anere,” meaning “man” and “agogus” meaning “to lead,” and refers to a theory of education for adult learners.

Student: An individual who demands knowledge as part of a planned and organized learning pursuit and who is attending an educational institution.

Connectivism: As a learning theory applicable to the digital knowledge age, connectivism focuses on where knowledge derives from and how learners interact on networks, and it further argues that knowledge exists and is distributed on networks, and therefore, learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse these networks.

Open University: These types of higher education institutions embrace openness in education as a core value and provide flexible learning opportunities through distance education or open and distance learning, with minimal or no entry requirements.

Mobile Learning (m-learning): As an extension of e-learning, it is a learning paradigm that uses mobile technologies to provide a just in time, just in place, and just for me experience.

Pedagogy: The term is derived from the Greek words “paidos,” meaning “child” and “agogus” meaning “to lead”; which combined gives us ‘to lead the child, and it refers to a theory of education for young learners.

Heutagogy: The term is derived from the Greek word for “self”; with “agogos” meaning “to lead” and based on theories of self-determined learning,

Ubiquitous Learning (U-Learning): As an extension of e-learning and m-learning, it is a learning paradigm that uses ubiquitous technologies to provide a seamless, just in time, just in place, and just for me experience.

Rhizomatic Learning: Rhizomatic learning focuses on how learners navigate through the network and pursue knowledge as a creative quest for learning.

Electronic Learning (E-learning): It is a learning paradigm that uses educational technologies in employing the principles of multimedia learning.

Open and Distance Learning (ODL): Any learning activities within formal, informal, and non-formal domains that are facilitated by information and communication technologies to lessen distance, both physically and psychologically, and to increase interactivity and communication among learners, learning sources and facilitators.

Openness (in Education): This term has many forms and dimensions, but in essence, it supports the idea that knowledge is a public good and anyone who demands it should have access to it without being faced with any barriers.

Distance Education (DE): Planned and organized teaching and learning in which learners are separated from teachers or facilitators in time and space.

Giga University: A giga university is a higher education institution with 1M or more students and is capable of providing educational approaches to masses.

Mega University: A mega university is a higher education institution with 100K or more students and is capable of providing educational approaches to masses.

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