Distance Learning: The Shift to Interactivity with MasterStudy
In this age of online solutions, it’s no surprise to see that education has quickly become a large portion of the platforms we see on the internet today. With all of the buzz surrounding Learning Management Systems (LMS) and e-learning, it’s time to take a look at distance learning and what it really entails.
What Is Distance Learning?
By definition, distance learning is a method of studying where the lectures are broadcast or conducted by correspondence over the internet. This is also known as e-learning.
However, distance learning isn’t the same thing as online learning. Distance learning implies a geographical separation from the teacher. Online learning simply means an educational tool that is meant to be a supplement to direct teacher guidance is accessed via the internet. It is quite possible to learn online in the same classroom with the teacher.
Distance learning is a formalized teaching and learning program that is created to be taught with electronic communication. It is constructed in such a way that the students can be educated without any direct or in-person contact with the teacher of the course.
Does Distance From School Really Affect Learning?
The distance that a person, particularly a child, travels to school can absolutely affect the quality of their learning. If someone is constantly arriving tired because of a long commute, or must deal with high-stress situations to get back and forth, they begin the school day mentally exhausted. This isn’t a situation that is conducive to learning.
In addition, for students that travel long distances, ride school buses, or public transportation routes are their only way back and forth to school, it can often be impossible to attend any school functions or join any extracurricular activities because of logistics. This can cause the student to feel as though they aren’t involved with the school and students as other students are, which can cause feelings of exclusion.
What Are The Known Benefits Of Distance Learning?
One of the greatest benefits of distance learning is that all students, not just those in affluent areas and school systems, can reap the benefits of quality education. Instead of riding a bus across town or the county to get a better education, the student can remain in the safety of the home and get a quality education by using a distance learning program.
It doesn’t apply to only those schools that are local, either. Many universities have distance learning programs. Harvard has distance learning classes that someone in Zimbabwe could attend without the need to fly to Massachusetts. This is beneficial to so many people seeking an education that perhaps is unable to obtain in the geographic area where they are located.
In addition, access to study materials and other learning resources is now almost at the fingertips of anyone who would like to learn. There are many free and low-cost classes that students can take, and the books or reading guides can often be found for free online. Education isn’t just for those that can afford to travel back and forth to a school and purchase the books and guides that are necessary. Geographic location is quickly becoming an issue of the past for those who want to educate themselves.
What Technology Is Necessary For Distance Learning Programs?
For students, the minimum requirements to take classes via a distance learning program are fairly simple. A computer, either desktop or laptop is fine. Speakers, headphones, or earbuds, any of which will be fine. The student will need a web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, and Adobe Acrobat is also going to be a necessity. In addition, they will need an internet connection of 56k or greater.
Some options that aren’t mandatory but could contribute to the learning experience are a webcam, Windows Media Player, and MS Office. However, none of these are necessary to take an e-learning class with most of the major platforms.
How Do You Establish A Distance Learning School?
In order to start a distance learning program, you may look for assistance from the Distance Education Training Council (DETC). They have assistance programs to help you get a program started. In addition, the US Department of Education would need to accredit your program.
Once you have gained your accreditation from the Department of Education, there are plenty of websites that offer programs and modules for learning. They have classes that you may purchase, or if you have a background in education, you may consider creating the classes yourself.
How Is Distance Learning Changing The Way People Learn?
Distance learning is helping to ensure that even the students from the lowest income regions and homes have access to the best educators and classes that are offered. In addition to providing quality education for all students, it costs substantially less to provide an e-learning platform that it does to build physical classrooms and to staff those classrooms and school offices with administration staff.
In addition to providing grade-A materials and educators to all economic classes and communities, the expanding access to higher education and university level classes to those who would otherwise not be provided with the opportunity to learn at that level is beneficial to many people seeking to expand their horizons. It doesn’t have to be an unaffordable, stressful experience to take university-level classes or learn on an advanced placement level. It can be as easy as finding the platform where the course is offered and learning on your own time.
What Technology Does A Virtual School Start-Up Require?
For quality education to be obtained in an e-learning program, the program needs to meet certain minimum requirements. First and foremost, the school needs to have a customizable learning program. With a customizable program, students that don’t need to cover the basics or remedial lessons can move past it onto topics that are more challenging to that particular student. This helps to keep the students engaged, rather than getting bored and breezing through the lesson without any interest in the material.
A virtual school needs to have certified teachers and a system that can measure the ability of the teacher based on how well the students are performing in the course. After all, anyone can simply recite words in front of a webcam or stand at a whiteboard. It is the effective teaching habits of your instructors that will make the difference in your students’ performance, and it will also make the difference in continuing their classes or simply deciding eLearning may not be the best tool for them. With a system that can rate the effectiveness of your teachers, you will be able to see what is working, and what simply isn’t.
Online conferencing and meeting software is an absolute must. In order to connect with your students, parents, and meet with staff, you’ll need the ability to put everyone in a virtual classroom or meeting room for communication. Just because students aren’t physically being instructed in a classroom, that doesn’t mean they are not in your teachers’ homeroom. Parents should be able to have progress meetings, students should have the ability to schedule and attend additional lesson work with the instructors, and the staff should have the ability to virtually meet and discuss their thoughts and concerns.
A virtual school needs engaging content and high-quality instructional tools. There are many different options on the educational platforms, and when students are free to choose their coursework and where they obtain their education, engaging lesson plans are going to make the difference. In order to keep a student in attendance and excited to continue their coursework, they need to be taught with stimulating lessons, and lessons that they can apply to real-life scenarios so that they retain the information.
Learning Management Systems, such as MasterStudy, is the easiest way to bring engaging lesson plans to the online classroom. The MasterStudy plugin for WordPress is offered free of charge and lends a new level of teaching to your courses by simply giving you the ability to create the instructional tools that get your students involved in the course and help the lesson be understood. As far as learning management systems are concerned, MasterStudy is a great choice for a WordPress plugin option to really bring the courses and lessons to life in a way that helps to keep the student engaged.
Instructional Tools Being Widely Used In eLearning
There are many great instructional tools that are being used by teachers in online classrooms, and some instructional tools that are still coming to the forefront but cannot be overlooked because they are excellent aids to teaching. For example, tools like Turnitin, which will check a student’s paper against plagiarism, assist in getting papers graded more quickly, and can also improve the level of feedback about the paper so that the student has a better idea of the areas they can improve upon.
Another excellent instructional tool is Clickclass, and there are hundreds of other class building tools that are similar. These tools help to create, manage, and deliver the lessons in a specific course, making module organization and great content much easier to create and organize.
LiveBinder is another amazing instructional tool that is being raved about with the online teaching community. Instead of the physical 3 ring binders of the past, virtual binders help you collect and organize material online so that it can be accessed for reference or training. LiveBinder has some great prepackaged binders that include relevant material you can add to, and they have an exceptional library of reference material available.
Elearningbrothers is the home for templates, games, videos, layouts, and activities that you can use to give your own curriculum a more professional and engaging look. They offer a little bit of everything, and it is all great quality. There are hundreds of sites such as e-learning brothers that can take your learning modules to the next level in appearance and professional content.
Instructional Materials Are The Key To Success
The quality of instructional material that is being used in an eLearning course is the difference between a successful course and an unsuccessful course. There are plenty of instructional materials out there, but not every aid is beneficial to the material you’re teaching, or the style of the instructor. It’s important to take the time to thoroughly look into the instructional materials that you choose to supplement your course.
Lectures, digital media like videos and audio clips, open educational resources, or OER’s, such as articles, quizzes, and databases that are designed specifically to be teaching aids and instructional material are across the board in terms of quality, so it can be a challenge to find the material that best suits your course plan. The value that they add to a lesson plan is immense, so it is important to take the time to find instructional material and tools that assist in creating engaging content.
The MasterStudy plugin for WordPress is offered free of charge and lends a new level of teaching to your courses by simply giving you the ability to create the instructional tools that get your students involved in the course and help the lesson be understood. As far as learning management systems are concerned, MasterStudy is a great choice for a WordPress plugin option to really bring the courses and lessons to life in a way that helps to keep the student engaged. Add the interactive features like the messaging system, and the quiz posting section of the plugin and MasterStudy is everything that an educator could want to assist in bringing the online classroom to life.