Distance learning has grown at a high rate in the last decade. The article “Quality issues in distance learning” published by AACSB international defines distance learning as “any learning system where teaching behaviors are separated from learning behaviors” (p. 4). According to the article “Quality issues in distance learning” published by AACSB international “distance learning has become a pervasive and growing phenomenon” (p. 4) This article is based on the aspect of quality in distance learning. This is because while it comes with a couple of advantages the issue of quality can never be overlooked. The article thus looks at the different areas where quality is a major concern. In this case technology has been a major enabler, the design of a distance learning system calls for serious considerations ranging from the quality of design to its effectiveness.
The article investigates the importance of distance learning as compared to traditional methods of learning and the way it has changed the delivery of education. Quality in this article is a major concern because education has a measure which in most cases is based on quality. As a result quality according to the article calls for a high level of responsibility from the students and the school. The concept of distance learning according to the article also calls for discipline and motivation from the students because it occurs in many types of configurations. In this context Schmidt & Gallegos (2001) in their article published by AACSB international “Distance learning: issues and concerns for distance learners” indicated that “students who are best suited for distance learning are the ones who are self directed and self motivated” (p. 5). They therefore said that distance learning does not work for everybody (Schmidt & Gallegos, 2001).
The article also looks at other aspects of distance learning which should be included in the implementation of distance learning system, whereby it should be included in mission of a particular institution either explicitly or implicitly. This in turn will be translated on how distance learning impacts the institutions growth. The third aspect being addressed by this article about distance learning is commitment from the concerned authorities within the organization. According to the article “Quality issues in distance learning” state school should establish policies and infrastructure to establish this initiative (p.5). The article further shows that in order to achieve success “distance learning requires significant financial resources for technology and support” (p. 5)
In addition the article reveals that in distance learning requires substantial resource requirements for capital investments and for sustaining support (p.6). The article gives the various recommendations of how to effectively implement distance learning system within an institution. According to the article published by AACSB international “Quality issues in distance learning” positive economic outcomes are unlikely to occur quickly or may not occur at all. The article thus proves that schools organizations are supposed to enter distance learning for reasons based on promoting the reach of education to larger population at distant places rather than searching for financial windfall (p.6).
The significance of this article is that it gives an enlightenment of how distance learning can be designed and implemented to achieve quality. The article presents in a clear manner all the recommendations which can be used in order to ensure success of a distance learning system. Another importance of the article is that it reveals the scope of financial requirements from all the parties involved which include: the institution or organization, students, the administrators and all the other stake holders. For example of the important recommendations about stake holder involvement as stated in the article “Quality issues in distance learning” published by AACSB international is that “organization should systematically solicit information and perspectives from relevant stakeholders to provide guidance for distance learning planning, implementation, program evaluation, maintenance and improvement” (p. 6).
Another importance of the article is that it derives a clear understanding of how the distance learning system should be organized. This ranges from student, faculty and administrator commitment to distance. The third significance of the article is that it draws to our attention the curriculum and learning issues. It also portrays an understanding of the technology strategy which should accompany such programs. In this context the article “Quality issues in distance learning” states that the choice of the most viable strategy should be “governed not by the availability of technological solutions but the needs of the program, learning and communication approaches and the desired learning outcomes” (p.10). Therefore the article presents important aspects apart from how to achieve quality within a distance learning system.
The article has presented precise and insight information about distance learning. This is because of its organization as it gives recommendations on how to approach the various issues discussed and raised in the article. Knowledge wise the article has enabled me to gain an understanding of the various forms of interaction between the students and the systems and their benefits. It also gave me insight knowledge to the technological approaches whereby according to the article the institution should continuously improve the delivery of distance learning through better communications and technologies.
Through the article I researched the key policy development areas for distance learning as indicated by Danley & Fetzner (1997) in their article “Asking the Really Tough Questions: Policy Issues for Distance Learning”. They therefore indicated that the policy development ares in distance learning should include academic, fiscal, and geographic or demographics, governance, labor management, legal issues and student support services. All these key policy areas should be well documented during the implementation of distance learning.
Some of the most important areas where the article has clarified about distance learning include; resource sufficiency because the program’s effectiveness is influenced by availability of resources. In this context the article clarifies that access to and utilization of learning resources. (Quality issues in distance learning, 12). The article also establishes serious considerations should be put on confidentiality of client information, intellectual property rights and institutional locus of control. In addition the article gives new perspectives of approaching distance learning whereby it emphasizes on partnership agreement between the institutions and bodies providing the information among others. The article “Quality issues in distance learning” further clarifies that “all partnering parties should ensure that the rights and obligation of all parties are agreed to and made explicit at the outset” (p. 14). This means that there should be a signed agreement between all parties.
Innovative observations in the article cannot be overlooked. This is because it emphasizes that schools can use many different types of technologies for interaction between faculty and students (p. 4). Some of these techniques include; broadcasting, viewing lecture materials via videotapes of a classroom presentation and via the internet with text materials. Therefore the article “Quality issues in distance learning” indicates that quality distance learning requires careful attention to learning design, effective faculty training, organizational commitment to support the program adequately, selection of the appropriate delivery technology and focus on student learning outcomes” (p. 15).
The author has raised some important questions which I have perceived as open ended. These questions include what are the accreditation procedures, the admission requirements, structure of delivery learning materials, academic support, performance expectations from the students, interaction in terms of where, when and how, how to carry out technical support and payment policies for example the expected payment schedule (p.18).