Distributed learning is a broad definition of an educational experience that encompasses online learning where there is a distance between teacher and student for the majority of time, allowing for in-person contact, a variety of technologies, methodologies and experiences blended together to create individualized learning that provides learner flexibility and efficiency for both teacher and learner.
This form of learning can take multiple representations depending on learner context and program/course structure differing depending on the situation. The distinction of “what is” distributed learning changes somewhat depending on the unique context, however the defining characteristics such as: distance between teacher/student, use of online technology, synchronous /asynchronous engagement, flexibility and access to support and materials remain consistent. The definition of this concept is really quite broad therefore I believe that as long as the core characteristics exist, many different contexts can be placed within the category.
Certainly, my understanding/interpretation of what constitutes distributed learning has grown over this past week. My vocabulary associated with distributed learning has grown and I have a much broader understanding of the role of teachers in setting the stage for successful DL experiences. I have also been able to better place myself as a learner in this course, and my teaching context as a teacher at VLearn, within the framework of distributed learning; better understanding my role in both contexts.
Hi Nic. I want to comment on your last paragraph. Taking a course like this online really does open your eyes to what DL is and can give you a taste of what our students at vLearn must feel. I’ve had a mixed bag of feelings so far (feeling behind, overwhelmed, catching up, making progress) and I’m sure my students feel the same way at times. I’ll be able to empathize with them should they feel the same way about one of my courses. I enjoy taking a course that has been put together by experienced educators in this field. It gives me something to think about when I put together my own courses and think about how to make them more engaging and meaningful. For one, breaking a course down by week as well as showing a schedule of what you should be working on is a good way to keep students organized and engaged.
Thank-you for the feedback Sasha. I agree that being in these courses certainly has put me in the shoes as a DL student and I can certainly empathize with our students. Clear communication and quick feedback from teachers is also especially important – at this point for me as positive (or negative if it may) reinforcement that I am on the right (or wrong) path. I still am not sure if I am adequately meeting course expectations to this point, and fear that perhaps I am not delving deeply enough into content and showing my learning adequately. I am also feeling somewhat confused about what assignments are coming and what I need to sign up for. Maybe we can chat about that this week at work? I will be there to work on university stuff Thursday afternoon – but don’t know what your schedule is. Lets just try and touch base when we can! I’ve still not worked out the postings on my blog either. I’ve looked at yours and love how organized it is. Maybe we could spend 15 minutes with mine and tweek it a bit if that works for you… Happy Sunday!