Distance education is now on the play among some of the universities and colleges around the world. This is very different from the usual room education where teachers and the learners have direct communication and interaction which are said to be the best way for an effective learning. Interaction through direct explanation about the subject matter and the evaluation if the learners understand the topic maybe derived through asking questions, recitations, quizzes, and giving examinations. Teachers in this kind of educating the learners usually are trained in the ‘hand-to-hand’ teaching wherein a direct engagement with the students is involved. Distance learning has been put up many issues and is doubtful with regards to its effectiveness.
Distance education at this time has been the fastest growing model of teaching in the world. The process of teaching is normally through media like telephones, CD-ROMs, online studio, computers and the like. The interaction between the teacher and the learners has been the most important tool for learning which this distance education lacks. However, there are ways to interact in this kind of education. Just like how technology introduced the distance education, technology itself also had to overcome such issues about the lack of interaction. Through the use of some technology, the interaction can be enhanced and thus improving the effectiveness of learning. Video technologies like broadcast video, cablecast video, satellite video, videoconferencing, cassettes, video disks, CD-ROM and multimedia are examples that can enhance the communication and interaction between the teacher and the students. Audio technologies are also used. Some examples are through the use of telephones, audio conferencing, audio cassettes, video mail, radio, records, and compact disks (Lane, 2001). Electronic mails, computer conferencing and bulletin boards can also be used for interacting and communicating. There are lots of ways to connect the instructor with their audience or the learners.
The use of these technologies really can enhance the communication and interaction between the instructor and the learners and can improve the learning effectiveness. But some studies about distance education claims that in the distance learning, the teachers are the key to success (Doerfert1, 2001). Still the teacher plays the most roles in the learning involved. A good teacher can overlap the importance of the technology that will be used. Also a good technology cannot overcome a poor teaching method.
Doerfert1, J. C. K. D. L. (2001). INTERACTION IN THE DISTANCE EDUCATION SETTING. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from http://www.ssu.missouri.edu/ssu/AgEd/NAERM/s-e-4.htm
Lane, C. (2001). Model Program – Interaction Through A Mix of Media. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from http://www.tecweb.org/eddevel/edtech/mediamix.html