Distributed learning, otherwise known as distance learning is for learning when being present is not an option. It’s a form of multi-access learning that creates a more flexible learning environment to suit the needs of more students. For example, students with anxiety and health issues, or those living in rural areas may be unable to attend classes face to face. If the teacher has a closed modality in their classroom it becomes harder to keep up with class work.
Here’s telepresence robot, a great alternative for learning at a distance. Not only can the student video in but also move around and communicate with his surroundings.
Personally, I never experienced distributed learning until coming to UVIC. In my entire time from kindergarten to grade 12 there was never the opportunity to participate in the learning environment unless I was present. This was a closed system where everything that happened was within the walls of the school. It all changed when I came to university. A new way of connected learning was established for me to learn through. Platforms like Coursespaces allowed for a connection between class and home. I could receive assignments, complete, and submit them anywhere in the world as long as I had internet access. Another way this platform establishes class learning abroad is through blog posts. They allow for an online class discussion at a distance. I think distributed learning is ideal in this new age of technology. Every student has access to some form of technology and can utilize it beyond the walls of the class. It makes it possible to conference in to important lectures if away or sick, or unable to attend for any reason. It expands the possibilities of learning and allows for so much more flexibility to reach students that were never able to be reached before. When I was going through school teaching was classroom based. Even if resources were used online they did not translate into the world outside of the classroom. Everything was done face to face and it was hard to miss school for any reason. I think if teachers decided to strictly use face to face modality in the classroom and don’t post anything online, it makes it hard to access resources on what’s been missed. This modality is less inclusive and flexible and, as a result, some students would be unable to complete the requirements.
Distributed learning increases numbers in schools, while also meeting the needs of students. I think with the technological shift we are seeing in society it only makes sense to integrate it into the classroom. This shift in modality reaches more students and creates more avenues for success in a variety of situations that will continue to happen to students in the school system. Now place-based limitations are no longer a barrier, whether family obligations, travel, health issues, or other reasons. Students can receive the flexibility they require to receive a good education.