Distance education hasn't changed much especially if you consider that books were the first distance education (people could go away to another space to read them). Correspondence courses and other distance option were still didactic instruction. Education was all about marking things and passing or not passing students, rather than activating learning. We have come a long way.
Professor Curt Bonk talks about the changes that have happened over the last 70 years in particular, framing them up in a way that shows positively some of the major shifts that have occurred - to the point where now "anyone can...learn anything from anyone at any time". Teachers and lecturers are becoming curators, concierges, counsellors and coaches. "We are in the learning century" and maybe we will start recognise this. We still need to move away, though, from traditional ways of assessing and testing to flexible options so that learning takes place all the time.
We don't give enough credit to what, how and where people learn. Informal learning is happening on the fly, just in time, just enough. Technologies are wrapped around us at all times. Vygotsky's ideas of learning on a social plane are enabled further because of this. We can take full on classes on any devices - and with the advent of bendable screens this will open up new vistas. Some of the drawbacks with this is the constant checking of mobile devices even when surrounded by other people.
Flipping is part of this shift; the educators becomes the facilitator and guide of discussions. We can all learn informally by watching videos, even to the point of becoming a champion.
Imagine the point where students choose their teacher for the day - who may or may not be in the same country. Learning is likely to be more touch-centred. Gaming, augmenting and immersive technologies are potentially a way to engage people in (learning) experiences. Collaboration is going to be an increasing way for learners to have a voice, and helps learning to be more social - especially when using social spaces for collaboration. Often teams or groups will be global. Learning will be competency based and that is where credit will be given for what they know, and learning is on demand.
We have come a long way, and, in many places learning is happening in spite of formal education! If things continue to gain momentum as Professor Bonk suggests, we may see formal education 'catch up' - perhaps. Professor Bonk suggests that first we all need to be able to respond to the four horseman standing in the way "Quality, copyright, plagiarism, and assessment". Our learning and lives are changing...your thoughts?
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