Delivering Distance Education

Course CodeBGN108
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Lay a Foundation to Work in Distance Learning

Growth of Online Education
This is one of the strongest growth areas in vocational and tertiary education. There are two main reasons for this:

  • People are busier than ever before, moving location, working odd hours etc, so there is a greater need than ever for people to be able to study where and when they are able to find the time.
  • Technology has enabled distance education to be delivered more effectively than ever before.

Disadvantages of distance education are obvious:

  • The teacher/trainer cannot see the students face to face continually throughout every part of the course
  • The students cannot see and hear the teacher/trainer continually throughout all parts of the course.
  • Students need to maintain motivation without peer encouragement or teacher input
  • Students need to be more self disciplined in their approach to their studies

Advantages of Distance Education are both obvious and not so obvious.
Obvious advantages include:

  • The student has greater flexibility in terms of when and where and how often they study
  • The tutor has more flexibility regarding when and where to assess or to respond to students.

Not so obvious advantages are:

  • The student does not get bored with the teacher.
  • The student cannot lose attention in the midst of study through others in the class
  • The teacher cannot be so easily upset, disturbed or stressed by particular students
  • There is a reduced likelihood of teachers/trainers becoming overly stressed and letting that stress impact on the quality of training.
  • The student is more likely to have the undivided attention of their tutor whenever they interact (eg. Through written communications, phone calls, or meetings).
  • There may be greater equity. The course may be better documented than a lecture; hence, if developed properly, there is less chance of a lesson not succeeding. For example, in a classroom, everything depends on the lecturer. If they have a bad day, are sick or over stressed, this can reflect in the way they deliver the lesson. However once written, a distance education lesson will be delivered with the same consistency to all students who attempt it.
  • Students can feel that they have a closer relationship with their tutor/teacher as there is no classroom competition for attention.


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Distance Education
    • Trends in Education
    • Changes in the World and their Impact on Distance Education
    • Growth in Distance Education Industry
    • Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Education
    • Forms of Distance Education
    • Traditional Distance Education (paper-based education)
    • Mentor guided projects or research
    • Video or audio courses
    • Real Time Conferencing
    • Online
    • E Learning
    • Blended learning
    • What Style of Study Works Best
    • Adapting Teacher-Learning Models to Distance Education
    • Exposition Model
    • Behavioural Model
    • Cognitive Development Model
    • Interaction Model
    • Transaction Model
    • Comparing Online Education with Traditional Distance Education
  2. Getting the Student Started
    • Profiling Students who are New to Distance Education
    • Making the Transition
    • Getting Past the First Lesson
    • How to Do Assignments
    • Time Management
    • Writing Style
    • Completing Assignments
  3. Supporting Students
    • Introduction to Nature and Benefits of Support Services in Distance Education
    • Types of Support Services
    • Guidelines for Counselling New or Prospective Students
    • Guidelines for Completing Assignments
    • Help with Research
    • Student Feedback
  4. Real Time Support
    • Introduction
    • Dealing with Practical Work
    • Telephone Conference
    • Online Chat
    • Video Conferencing
    • Mentoring
    • Workshops and Attended Events
    • Conducting Structured Exercises in Small Groups
    • Listening Skills
    • Empathic Listening
    • Conflict
  5. Managing Resources
    • Scope of Resources
    • Cost of Resourcing
    • Considering Resourcing Options
    • PBL Project to manage resources for a specified distance education course.
  6. Assessment
    • Introduction
    • Various Approaches to Assessment
    • Grading
    • Types of Assessment for Distance Education
    • Submitting and Processing Assignments
    • Marking Exams
    • Exam Procedures and Processes
    • Plagiarism
    • Practical Examination
  7. Student Administration
    • Introduction
    • Advice for Prospective Students
    • Enrolment Procedures
    • Student Records
    • Managing Feedback and Course Improvement
  8. Communication Skills
    • Introduction
    • Interpersonal Communication Skills for Distance Education
    • Classroom Education does not Suit Everyone
    • Understanding What Impairs a Student's Focus
  9. Supporting Graduates
    • Cost Vs. Benefit
    • Alumni
    • Direct Support
    • Assistance with C.V.'s
    • Networking Services
    • Career Advice
    • Ongoing Use of Student Services
    • News Bulletins


  • Identify differences between various modes of distance education and other forms of education.
  • Determine appropriate methods for communicating with, and motivating action from, new distance education students.
  • Provide effective support services to students undertaking distance education studies.
  • Explain the ways that teachers and students can work together by using effective listening skills, problem solving techniques, empathy and other interactive strategies to maintain effective and meaningful relationships in the learning process.
  • Manage physical and human resources within a distance education program to achieve appropriate benefit for cost expended.
  • Conduct effective assessment of distance education students.
  • Conduct effective administration of distance education students.
  • Improve students’ and teachers’ ability to communicate effectively in a distance education environment.
  • Provide support for graduates upon or following completion of a distance education course.

The ‘tools’ available for educators to communicate with distance education students in the past were very limited. In the middle of the 20th century, most distance educators communicated with students through the postal system alone. Some also used radio transmissions internet chat or video conferencing over the internet


The situation today is very different in several ways:


1. More Tools for Distance Education

Many new tools have become available for Distance Educators to use (eg. Internet, Fax, email, telephone, more extensive courier services, better air services, etc)

2. Classroom Education more Costly

The cost of classroom education, particularly in developed countries, has become increasingly prohibitive, often resulting in a depreciation of standards and services.

3. Greater Social Acceptance of new Technologies

New technological tools have become increasingly widely available around the world.

4. Globalisation Opened up Markets

Courses can be offered to a wider demographic of people living in many different countries.

5. Busier Lifestyles

There is an ever increasing need for greater flexibility in education –which did not exist in the past. People’s lives and their life choices are constantly changing and this is being reflected in the variety and scope of educational courses being offered.

6. Self Directed Education is more effective

Research is actually showing that student centred education and self directed education is more effective and graduates have better career prospects.


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