Barriers to distance education question

Mar 18, 2015


I have a grad school assignment about barriers to distance education.  Are there any distance learning managers available to answer what they think are barriers to distance education and why?  I wasn't sure where to post this request.



1 Reply
Bob S

Hi Doug,

There is a lot of research around the pros and cons of e-learning/distance learning out there for you to comb through.  But one piece that gets mentioned as a challenge but sometimes not fully explained is around live practice and expert feedback. These two factors taken together can be hard to address effectively in a distance learning methodology.

You can build "simulations" and "scenarios". And they can be good, sometimes very very good.  And yes you can provide true live expert feedback via chat functions, webinars, etc.  But from my perspective the things you do to make one of those better inherently limits the other....

For example, if you want really immersive and life-like practice for a soflt skill such as selling skills, you might create lots and lots little video clips that branch depending on how the learner responds. Great right?  Yes but.... that makes it really hard to provide anything other than canned feedback based on choices selected. Where's the "great, but be aware of your inflection when you respond to the objection"  or "nice job, can you tell me why choose to go this route with the programming?"

Conversely, you can provide great feedback from experts via a live webinar for example, but then how do you effectively present all of the practice scenarios to be worked through in a life-like way in a webinar with lots of people working through them independently?  How do you effective role plays via Skype conference? What provision do you make for someone to work through a diagnosis more methodically before offering opinion when everyone else is waiting?

Call it role plays, call it hands-on practice, or whatever you like, but it's in this arena that ILT training still holds an edge.... live, individualized feedback directly after meaningful practice.

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