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Education In The 21st Century: The Problems And Prospects Of Distance Learning

2734 words - 11 pages

This paper attempts to identify some of the challenges impeding the effective implementation of distance learning. It explain the characteristics of distance learning and how emerging technology can be effectively employ to bring about the desired learning outcomes among learners. The study highlight the Pros and Cons of distance learning and suggestions for maximizing it advantages was discussed.


The term distance learning are interchangeably use as distance education, distributed learning, correspondent learning, web based learning and on-line learning. This and many other acronym are use to mean learning and teaching in which the teacher and the learners are at a different geographical location. According to Wikipedia definition of distance learning: it is a process of creating and providing access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance or both. Robinson (1997) define it as a teaching and learning system in which the teachers and learners are physically separated for some or all the time, and where learning materials take on some of the role of the traditional teacher. The Common Wealth of Learning (COL) in 2004 defines distance learning ‘as the delivery of learning or training to those who are separated mostly by time and space from those who are teaching or training. The teaching is done with a variety of mediating process to transmit content, to provide tuition and to conduct assessment or measure outcomes’ (Kutty &Siraj, 2007). Historically distance learning could be trace back to 1840 when Isaac Pitman taught shorthand in Great Britain via correspondence. In the 19th century, the emergent of postal services act as a catalyst for the thriving of distance learning. The invention of radio and television and other media in the 20th century leverage the acceptability of distance learning because these media were employed to teach distance learners and it enable those who are in a remote location to have access to education. The emergent of internet in the mid-80s have contributed in no small way to the success recorded in this mode of education in the knowledge explosion age (Kutty & Siraj, 2007; Glass & Sue, 2008). Research about distance learning has continued to keep pace with rapid development of the field. In the recent time, criticism has started trailing the quality of education that the students receive through this program because of the rate at which universities mount program on distance learning around the world. Some of the reasons advance includes the incompetence of the distance learner’s educator, the method of student’s evaluation and impersonations; this mode of education is regard as a lesser kind of learning, which symbolizes learning at the back door among others. These reasons are apparent shortcomings of distance learning that is making many educators to ask some fundamental questions such as; do we have to compromise standard in an...

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