Just a few decades ago, distance learning existed only in the imaginations of science fiction writers. Of course, computers were as big as a house and only those same science fiction writers wove stories of a world in which computers were commonplace.
While technology has not taken the strides some predicted and we Earthlings didn’t colonize the moon by the year 2000, there are many who probably never expected that most people log onto the Internet on a regular basis.
The great advances in technology have created a couple of new situations. As with any new gadget, there has to be someone who can work on it. When cars first hit the scene, those who could understand the workings of a gas engine were in great demand.
Even more demanding was the need for training to stay abreast of the development of the automobile. The same is true today of the computer technology.
But the techs of today have a great advantage that wasn’t available when auto mechanics were trying to learn. They have computers and access to instant communication through computer networks.
That means that the very subject they need to learn more about is instrumental in keeping them up-to-date in their field. Like those who are already busy with adult responsibilities, computer techs have limited time for training, classes and certifications.
But they have a definite need for those things, many on a continuous basis. Distance learning and elearning can be the answer.
While it’s always been possible to learn without being in a classroom, the opportunities to do so were limited by a number of factors. One of the biggest problems with learning outside the classroom has always been the fact that students didn’t have an opportunity to actively participate.
If a student simply reads text and takes a test to discover whether he retained the knowledge, he’s likely to get something from the course. A student who is allowed to talk to others, ask questions and observe the questions of other students is much more likely to gain the knowledge.
Even elearning (typically in the form of online courses) offers the opportunity to do interactive activities and students usually get feedback along the way to help them stay on track.
Distance learning and elearning are no longer fictional ideas, but have become a reality that is opening doors to many who would otherwise have missed an opportunity. And by offering technical training to those who work closely with computers, the distance learning and elearning options will likely continue to grow.
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