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Transaction Distance Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

Distance education as we know it emerged in the 1960s, and although it predominantly consisted as a self-directed learning method (correspondence courses, with textbooks and previously prepared lessons), it presented opportunities for the working populace to receive an education; however, it was also the foundation of an emerging issue which accompanied distance education and continued to adversely develop as time progressed, yet modern online learning has been enhanced by the theories of illustrious scholars. Theories of Transactional distance and Andragogy have beneficially influenced the development of distance education into the 21st century's streamlined, learner-centered ...view middle of the document...

This particular feeling of isolation in DE has been coined the transactional distance (TD). Higher educational institutions have focused their attention to better understand the theories and how they have impacted the future of distance education.
Transactional distance is the physiological separation between the student and the instructor by space and or by time. Moore (1993) stated, "The transactional function is determined by the extent to which teachers and students interact…"(Peters, 2004, p. 28). If transactional distance develops due to interaction between the student and instructor, how can educational institutions narrow the spatial gap? There are three variables which have effected the transactional distance. The first variable is dialog. Dialogue is the process between the teacher and learner. If there is an absence of communication, the transactional distance will increase; alternatively, if there is discourse between the teacher and student, it does not necessarily define the quality of learning. Moore (1997) continued, "A dialogue is purposeful, constructive and valued by each party. Each party in a dialogue is a respectful and active listener; each is a contributor, and builds on the contributions of the other party or parties" (p. 24). And, with productive dialogue, the entire class will profit, for beneficial communications promote a profound understanding of any subject. The second variable is structure. Structure is not only the how the class is developed, but how the institution, instructor, and designer fashions and delivers the material and provides feedback to the student whether it is positive or negative. The final variable is learner autonomy. Learner autonomy is the extent to which the learner is afforded to take a proactive role in the configuration of his/her learning process generating ideas instead of reacting to the structured environment of a classroom. Autonomy is characteristically the reason a student enrolls in online learning.
Even in the traditional classroom setting, there are feelings of isolation; however, for the traditional student, many more precautions are employed to assure the student feels involved such as, seminars, learning communities, and alert programs; in contrast, there have been significantly less research conducted to improve the success of the online student. Teachers need to be aware of the signs of impending issues. Moore continued to express that if there the possibility exists to study the reasons for TD, educators need to...

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