Distance Learning Distance learning is a type of education where instructors and students utilize the Internet, e-mail, social media, among others for lessons rather than being in a physical classroom. In other words, distance learning takes place when learners are separated from their instructors and peers (Bušelić, 2017). This implies that students receive their education virtually without any physical interaction with teachers or other students. The careful analysis of what and how students learn is a necessity for the design of effective online classes. The educational community can deliver higher-quality, culturally sensitive online instruction if they understand the cultural, learning and teaching features that govern the student environment in and out of the class (Gomez et al., 2016). Teachers should encourage and engage students, enhance critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities, reinforce cultural identities, and provide a sense of security and inclusion by implementing culturally responsive practices even when utilizing an online setting. Culturally competent teachers should guarantee that they are cultivating a supportive online environment for all students through thoughtful introspection of their own cultural viewpoints, biases, and prejudices. One factor which is critical in the success of distance learning is the number of participants. In a webinar with more than 15 students, not every participant gets a chance to speak out or receive one-on-one interaction from the instructor.In other words, the more extroverted students usually dominate during the session, while the insular students find it more rewarding to stay in their cocoons and participate less. In an online academic system, it may be difficult to engage the instructor and acquire relevant feedback due to the significant number of students in a session.
People learn differently, therefore there is no one size fits all scenario which can fulfill the needs of all students with the same effect. Depending on their learning style, some students may find it difficult to follow the lesson. They may also have unanswered questions or have trouble comprehending which can result in being easily distracted. The proliferation and easy access to devices of distraction can be too much to overcome at times. The second critical factor in distance learning's success is the time spent in each session. Sessions should not continue more than three hours because most individuals find it difficult to focus for that long in front of a laptop (Gomez et al., 2016). It is possible to attend two three- hour sessions on the same day, in the morning and afternoon, if they both include a range and variety of talks, tasks, and break-out activities. In other words, the curriculum should be provided in bite-sized portions, which provides the chance to practice and absorb each module before moving on to the next. In my opinion, weekly two-hour sessions offer the most significant learning outcomes. The third critical factor in distance learning success is, training exercises between learning modules. The golden rule of online lessons is that practice sessions must be held after each segment of learning. Practice exercises create a safe environment for students to make errors, enhance themselves and develop necessary habits and abilities. As an educator, I strive not to make errors or lose credibility in front of my students and peers. As a result, I rarely employ newly acquired abilities which are attained via training programs that do not offer practice exercises. I believe that online instructors should apply training exercises after each module to empower their teaching of students and impart new skills they can apply in a classroom or with coworkers.
Another critical factor in distance learning's success is the capacity of a distance learning environment to function. The adaptability of the course for an online setting affects professors who attempt to teach in a distance-learning context. In this case, some subjects are more conducive to this setting than others. Online learning can be substantially more difficult in courses where person to person contact is more conducive. Although chat rooms and threaded discussion groups can connect students across great distances in terms of time and location, they can still not completely replicate the dialogue that takes place in the classroom. In my professional teaching experience, although technology like threaded discussion groups and chat rooms can partially imitate interaction between students and instructors, there is currently no way to fully reproduce the intimacy of a participatory classroom environment. Human beings are evolved to be social. Innately, we are biologically driven to develop and form interpersonal connections. Face-to-face engagement should still be a crucial part of many classes. As an instructor, I evaluate my pedagogical strategies to see if they can successfully adapt the current courses for an online learning. The future of learning may very well involve web-based learning. Before the pandemic, there were online universities and degrees. Now more than ever, more courses and opportunities are now available online. The pandemic revealed that many onsite jobs can be performed remotely, and this has made it possible for people to work from home despite easing of regulations. The options in education now continue the pattern (Caduceus International Publishing, 2022). Most students and educators have successfully acclimated to online learning. The approach is preferable to not studying at all.
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