Ken Allen had a post entitled "Classifying elearning." This post is about what my first thoughts were when I read the title.
There are 3 different ways I thought of classifying elearning: by structure, by level of education, or by tools. Of course, there are many more classification systems out there, but these are what came to mind from my own teaching.
Classification by administrative structure
I begin my introduction to distance learning course by going over the different ways in which distance learning can be organized. There are five models:
Synchronous online: Instructor uses real time technology such as chat to students who access the course at a given time. This is especially changing due to mobile technology and access to social networking sites.
Asynchronous online: The use of mostly Learning Management Systems in which there is interaction between the instructor and student and other students. Normally, all members of the class will have interaction only online.
Blended learning 1: This is when there is some classroom instruction augmented with online (either synchronous or asynchronous--usually asynchronous) instruction.
Blended learning 2: this is when the instructor is at a different location (perhaps with a live class) and gives instruction to another class at a remote location. The remote location may have a cooperating teacher or they may have just a technician or moderator.
Learning objects and self regulated learning: This form has been around for a long time, but technology has developed it so there is more opportunities for students to learn with out an "instructor". Rather, they use interactive media, have learning assessment at remote locations, and/or develop their own Personal Learning.
Categorizing by level:
Each level of distance learning has different needs and goals:
Elementary: make connection to the outside world, access locations and experiences not available in school, develop communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills
Middle and High School: Developing social skills, access to expertise and complex problems, learner support outside of class, making connections with the outside world
Higher Ed: Access to expertise, developing regional or international research communities and agendas, access to resources and complex problems
Adult or Community: creating dialogue within a community and consensus building, developing best practices and support system, combining and organizing distributed knowledge for redistribution, access to resources and expertise
Categorizing by Tools:
Garrison and Anderson use a useful system to categorized based on the type of tool. First generation tools were those used for one on one dialogue (mail). The next generation allowed for the broadcasting of instruction. It was one way communication, but to a large group. This included radio and television broadcasting. The last generation that they identify is what I would term as the LMS generation. These are tools that allow for two way communication and group learning. However, this is all managed through the instructional design using online technology. I see there being an emerging generation, networked learning. This allows for students to manage their own learning with access to multimedia learning tools. This also allows for both formal and informal learning.
In fact, Ken was looking at classifying elearning in a totally different way. I see his classification more about the instructional design of elearning. But I will leave that discussion for another posting.
D. Garrison & T. Anderson (2003) Elearning in the 21st Century. London, RoutledgeFalmer.
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.