The Evolution of Distance Learning

Young Girl Working on Distance Learning Class

Distance learning isn’t a new thing. There are examples of distance learning dating back as far as 1728.  It fills an important role: making education more accessible and widely available.  Students in these courses don’t need to commute and enjoy much more flexibility.  

Now, more people than ever are doing online classes.  And that number is very likely to continue to grow.  So let’s take a look at how the materials involved in this type of learning have improved over the years—and at what the emerging standards for these materials are today. 

Materials are Adaptable

One of the great strengths of remote learning is its ability to be more adaptable to the needs of its students.  Some students may find it beneficial to work through problems while reading the materials.  Others may prefer to read all of the materials first and then begin on their work. Technology has greatly expanded the options that remote learning can offer students.   Materials can now be presented in multiple ways, to ensure that every learning style is accommodated.  And accessibility practices can even further increase the reach of these materials. 

Automation in Education

Distance learning is now incorporating more automation.  Automation is a powerful learning tool.  It allows students to easily identify strengths and weaknesses and get extra practice.  It allows educators to ensure their students’ level of comprehension before moving on in their course.   Automation is something that can only be done with eBooks or digital learning materials.  And it’s a capability that educators, both in person and remote, are beginning to expect of their materials. 

As students spend less time with their instructors and more time with their materials, the demand for more dynamic materials has increased.  One positive side effect of this is a more accessible educational experience that is widely available and easily recreated.  This improved technology has made it much easier for educators to accommodate student needs. 

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