Distance Education Research

Distance Education Instructional Design

Basic protocols or models available which address the fundamentals of instuctional design. These sources are very practical and should give you applications guidelines as you design your own instruction.

Dick, Walter; King, Debby. (October 1994). "Formative Evaluation in the Performance Context. Performance and Instruction," v.33 n.9 p.3-8

Koneman, Philip A.; Jonassen, David H. (February 1994). "Hypertext Interface Design and Structural Knowledge Acquisition. Proceedings of Selected Research and Development Presentations at the 1994 National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology." 16th Nashville TN.

Lohr, Linda; Morrison, Gary R.; Ross, Steven M. (1995). "Using a Hypertext Environment for Teaching Process Writing: An Evaluation Study of Three Student Groups." Educational Technology, Research and Development. v. 43 n. 2.

Starr, Roxanne Hiltz. (1994). The Virtual Classroom: Learning without Limits via Computer Networks.

Dr. Charlotte Gunawardena of the University of New Mexico has written a number of articles that address instructional design/teaching techniques for CC courses.


Telecommunications Delivery Modes and Student Achievement

Research on delivery modes and their correlation to student achievement outcomes has shown that students learn better via teletraining mode than face-to-face instruction (Chute, Balthazar, Poston 1989; Task Force on Distance Education, 1992) Telecommunications technologies that can integrate sound, motion, image, and text create a rich new learning environment awash with possibility and a clear potential to increase student involvement in the learning process.(Task Force on Distance Education, 1992)

Chute, A., L. Balthazar, and C. Poston. (1989). "Learning from Teletraining." In Readings in Distance Learning and Instruction, ed. Michael Moore. University Park: Pennsylvania State University.

Task Force on Distance Education. (1992). "Report of the Task Force on Distance Education," The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsyvania, November. Published electronically in DEOSNEWS 3:7 and 3:8 (July 1993, August 1993)

Maule, R.W. (1993). "Computers and Telecommunications for Distance Education," University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California.  

Maule states that certain concepts of traditional classroom learning that are absent in conventional distance learning modes can be accommodated with computer communications.


Interaction In Distance Education

Most distance education experts recommend that interactivity be planned or it is unlikely to be meaningful.

Detailed studies of student-teacher interaction conclude that increased interaction improves student achievement and attitudes toward learning. Flanders, N.A. (1970). Analyzing Teacher Behavior. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

The use of computer mediated conferencing for student and teacher interaction seems to have produced generally positive results. Harasim, L. (1990). Online Education: Perspectives on a New Environment. New York: Praeger., Waggoner, M. (1992). Empowering Networks: Computer Conferencing in Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

The amount of student-teacher interaction increased as the complexity of learning increased; meaning that there was more interaction at an application level than for memory tasks. Nichol, P. (1994). A Descriptive Study to Determine the Relationship Between the Nature of Student Interactivity and the Scheme for Learning in Courses Presented Over Live Television. Washington, DC: The George Washington University.

Extensive guidelines for interactive media: Locht, R.H. (1993). Interactive Television & Instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. Schwier, R.A., & Misanchuk, E. (1993). Interactive Multimedia Instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

The perception of interactivity may be as important as actual interaction. A study of learner perceptions in a course delivered by instructional television revealed the the critical predictor of student course satisfaction was not the extent of personal interaction, but the perception of overall interaction. Fulford, C. P. & Zhang, S. (1993). Perceptions of interaction: The critical predictor in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 7(3), 8-21.


Professional Development Cost/Benefit Analysis

Teachers are able to easily and quickly update their course materials and equitable distribute their time (Harasim, 1989; Hartman et al, 1991; Romiszowski, 1993; Townsend, 1984). Courses for professional development can be accessed at a savings in time and money to the teachers and their districts (Ahola-Sidaway, MacLean & Treuhaft, 1990; Johnston, 1992; Schrum, 1992). The net result is that the school or district can provide more services to more students withour first having to hire more teachers (Kaye, 1989).

Non-video online communications is the great equalizer. "Without nonverbal tools, it is difficult for a sender to convey nuance, communicate a sense of individuality, or exercise dominance or charisma" (Sproull & Kiesler, 1991, p.40). Online communications provides freedom from the often inhibitory socio-emotional factors such as rank or appearance (Hartman et al, 1991) in a setting where the focus is on content and not the sender (Johnston, 1992) may contribute to lowered learner anxiety (Feenberg, 1989) and a heightened sense of empowerment (Davie & Wells, 1992).


Computers and Writing

Carnegie Mellon and Penn State support several related projects. Some names associated with this topic are Kurland, Trigg, Davida Charney and Chris Neuwirth.

Basically, as one might suspect, there seem to be good and bad effects associated with using computers. One point is that the specific writing tools being used have a huge effect on the outcome, so it is hard to talk about computers "in general". However, some fairly general findings are:

People using computers to write tend to revise more, but the quality of the final product does not change significantly. However, if you just want to get people to practice writing, they do tend to write more. The down side is that people get caught up in activities like formatting and font styles which are peripheral to the goal of writing better.

Some systems designed to support particular tasks can be quite useful. For instance, there are some hypertext tools which guide novice writers through heuristic activities supporting critical thinking and analysis which seem to be effective sometimes. Practice is a very significant factor.

Cochran-Smith, M. (1991). "Word processing and writing in elementary classrooms: A critical review of related research." Review of Education Research, 61 (1) 107-155.

Bangert-Drowns, R. (1993). "The word processor as an instructional tool: A meta-analysis of word processing in writing instruction." Review of Educational Research, 63 (1), 69-93

Kozma, R.B. (1991). "The impact of computer-based tools and embedded prompts on writing processes and products of novice and advanced college writers." Cognition and Instruction, 8, 1, 1-27.

Lohr, Linda; Morrison, Gary R.; Ross, Steven M. (1995). "Using a Hypertext Environment for Teaching Process Writing: An Evaluation Study of Three Student Groups." Educational Technology, Research and Development. v. 43 n.2.

Snyder, I. (1993). Writing with word processors: a research overview. 'Educational Research', 35 (1), 49-68.

Recommended Reading

A large portion of this list was provided by Tina Joy Pitt, Director, The Distance Education Consortium.

Aoki, Kumiko, & Goto, Kunio (1995). "Educational Application of The Internet: International Joint Teleclass." [online] Available: http://info.isoc.org/HMP/PAPER/021/

Berge, Zane, L., & Collins, Mauri. (1995). Computer Mediated Communication and The Online Classroom: Volumes One, Two, & Three. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.

Brookfield, Stephen D. (1986). Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Buchanan, Phil (1995). Teachers and Internet: Charting A Course For Success. [online] Available: http://info.isoc.org/HMP/PAPER/038/

Eastmond, Dan. (1995) Alone But Together: Computer Conferencing in Adult Education. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Ellsworth, Jill H. (1994). Education On The Internet: A Hands-on Book of Ideas, Resources, Projects, and Advice. Indianapolis: Sams Publishing.

Galbraith, Michael W. (1990). Adult Learning Methods: A Guide For Effective Instruction. Florida: Krieger Publishing Co.

Galbraith, Michael W. (1991). Facilitating Adult Learning: A Transactional Process. Florida: Krieger Publishing Co.

Good, Thomas, L., & Brophy, Jere, E. (1994). Looking In Classrooms. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers.

Knapp, Linda, R., & Glenn, Allen, D. (1996). Restructuring Schools With Technology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Knowles, Malcolm (1973). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.

Knowles, Malcolm (1991). Using Learning Contracts. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Langenbach, Michael (1988). Curriculum Models in Adult Education. Florida: Kreiger Publishing Co.

Merriam, Sharan B. & Caffarella, Rosemary, S. (1991). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Paulsen, Morten, F. (1995). The Online Report On Pedagogical Techniques For Computer-Mediated Communication. [online] Available: http://www.nki.no/~morten/

Piskurich, George M. (1993). Self-directed Learning: A Pratical Guide To Design, Development, and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Rogers, Carl. R. (1969). Freedom To Learn. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company.

Connectivity Alone Will Not Save Education. [online] Available: http://info.isoc.org/HMP/PAPER/037/

Thomas, David, A. (1995). The Internet and K-12 Mathematics and Science Reform. [online] Available: http://info.isoc.org/HMP/PAPER/201/

Woolley, David (1996). Web Conferencing Discussion. [online] Available: http://freenet.msp.mn.us/people/drwool/webconf.html#new