The Evolution of Distance Learning in Higher Education

Distance learning is not a new phenomenon by any means. This concept has been around since the early days of formal education. But the computer age ushered in a new era of distance learning, which was further boosted by the internet age.

But in 2020, the evolution of distance learning reached exponential levels. Tech companies are now tripling their efforts to meet the current demands of the reimagined academic system.

In this article, we discuss the history of distance learning and explore future changes awaiting online education.

online-learning

A Brief History of Distance Learning

Some people credit the coming of the internet as the precursor to distance learning. But some clarification is necessary to trace the roots of online learning.

Distance learning refers to any form of education outside the walls of a traditional academic institution. Essentially, this education format doesn’t require a student’s physical presence in a classroom setting.

On the flip side, online learning is any form of education that takes place via the internet. By definition, any distance learning approach that existed before the internet cannot be classified as online learning. Instead, they all form part of distance or remote learning.

See the difference?

Correspondence Education

Correspondence learning refers to a form of education without face-to-face interactions. Teachers used to send schoolwork to students, who then returned the completed work. This back-and-forth was facilitated by postal services in the early days.

Imagine how difficult and time-consuming it was to complete a course if the teacher had to correct the work ten times.

Nowadays, correspondence education is still applicable to situations where students communicate with teachers via email or text messages alone.

Learning from Home

When schools started gaining popularity, royals often hired specialized tutors for their children. These tutors lived with them in castles and focused on educating members of royal families. This was the first instance of organized learning from home.

Later, homeschooling became a fringe option for families that didn’t fancy sending their children to crowded schools — for health and personal reasons. These parents also hired teachers to provide a state-approved syllable for their kids. Sometimes, they even handled the teaching themselves without a certified educator.

Today, e-learning online education has become more popular than ever.  Students can now acquire e-learning creative education without seeing their classmates at least once.

Correspondence learning in the 1800s

Let’s take a trip back to the origins of e-learning and education.  In 1840, Sir Isaac Pitman used the postal service to keep correspondence with his students. He would send out shorthand courses to his pupils and receive the solutions by mail a few weeks later.

Later in 1873, Anna Eliot Ticknor adopted Pitman’s model in creating the “Society to Encourage Home Studies” in Boston, marking the start of correspondence learning in America. In essence, this laid the foundation for homeschooling.

Distance learning from the 1900s – 1980s

Radio and television technologies came into existence in the early 20th-century, but they didn’t become teaching tools until the late 1920s. 1n 1948, the Federal Communications Commission supported an NBC mass education project focused on distance learning. The project was headed by John Wilkinson Taylor, who was also the president of the University of Louisville.

During the 1960s, television programs like “Dr. Posin’s Universe” and “Out of This World” became household entertainment. The Emmy-winning Dr. Posin presented scientific content that played on TV networks in America.

However, these courses were never accredited by universities because they didn’t meet academic standards. But the invention of the personal computer and electronic mail marked another turning point in remote learning. Instead of using the postal services, students could now communicate with teachers via email.

This was the first step in e-learning school education.

E-learning in the 1990s

Although sending emails became possible in the 1980s, the internet age made it a widespread phenomenon. Once the internet became part of everyday life, people could now send messages instantly over dial-up connections.

By 1999, the first fully online university — Jones International University — gained full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The learning curriculum featured video conferencing, phone calls, and other online education e-learning tools available at the time.

Eventually, institutions around the world began to emphasize e-learning in teacher education. This change in approach addressed the changing academic and socio-cultural landscape.

Eventually, other advanced academic solutions found more use in the school system. Homeschooling even became more mainstream because students could now connect to lectures from different parts of the world.

The COVID-19 Transformation of Distance Learning

Before 2020, the growth of distance learning was gradual and on pace with technological advancements. But once the lockdowns started, educational systems across the world had to make rapid changes to accommodate new regulations. And these adjustments were centered around eliminating physical contact in school.

online-learning

Furthermore, the absence of technology to address issues like lab practices and medical practicals highlighted the unreadiness of colleges to move to remote learning. To address these gaps, institutions are currently investing in various digital solutions. The estimated investments in e-learning solutions will reach 350 billion USD by 2025.

Also, teachers now need to acquire advanced technical skills to use classroom management portals. These skills will also help them address technical issues during classes.

However, these changes are unfavorable for e-learning for special education. Disenfranchised students without learning aids now struggle to keep up with their peers. As a result, academic performance in e-learning special education is witnessing a rapid decline.

As the global pandemic persists, students struggle to learn courses that require face-to-face interaction. E-learning in medical education and applied sciences are struggling to cope with the pressures of the lockdown.

The Future of Distance Education

At the moment, this online learning trend will continue even when the pandemic subsides. Students from low-income households will drop out in massive numbers because of financial constraints. Also, teacher training programs will focus on technical skills alongside teaching abilities.

distance-education-tech-trends

More so, e-learning sites online education will gain more popularity, especially among students uninterested in full-scale formal learning. Platforms like Coursera and Udemy will become mini-universities for skill acquisition.

Furthermore, cybersecurity will become a pressing subject for school administrators. Since most academic portals run on centralized platforms, they are prone to malware attacks. Therefore, schools will have to organize online orientation programs on ways to avoid ‘phishing’ and ransomware attacks.

Ultimately, the current situation and response will provide a crisis playbook for future pandemics.

Final words

We’ve not seen the last of distance learning’s evolution. If history is any indicator, future technological advancements will also affect distance learning in higher education. But at the moment, schools should focus on the best ways to improve student performance across the board.

Upgrading the Future of Defense with Data Science Training Institute in Hyderabad

We have entered the second decade of the 21st century and thinking of setting up colonies on the moon. The technological advancement has been huge in the past decade, with the latest technologies becoming obsolete within a matter of months. We live in the age of the internet where everything and everyone is connected every moment with the help of the internet.

The average number of people using the internet has risen considerably in the past few years thanks to the decreasing prices of internet services and automation of most work processes. The majority of the jobs and professions has evolved and become more advanced, so they continuously use the internet for their work process. We buy most of our things be it our party clothes or even our daily groceries from online sellers. The world is now running on another fuel and that is the internet.

With all these increased consumption of the internet, another factor has entered the play and that is the concept of Data Science. Whenever we use the internet or any digital medium for any purpose some data is generated.

data-scientists

 

Once the scientists and engineers solved the problem of storage of the exorbitant amount of data that is produced daily, we moved on to devising new and innovative ways to utilize this data and obtain the necessary and useful information.

Data Science Certification in Hyderabad is the implementation of various analytical methods on the data to reveal useful information. It is a wide area and consists of a large number of methods and processes.

Application of Data Science in Defense Sector

The threats from terrorism and trade wars are now more than ever and since the major portion of national income of any country goes into improving the defense systems of the nation, it is understandable that technological advancements would also be applied to the systems to make them stronger.

Constant research and development by the data scientists have provided us with much-advanced technology that can be efficiently implemented in the defense systems. Data science has radically changed the landscape of defense and military industry of almost all the major nations in the past 2 or 3 years. Many technologies that we had seen before only in Hollywood sci-fi movies are a reality now and most of them owe their existence to data science.

Every potential threat to the security of the nation is also equipped with modern technologies and hence to tackle them, we also need to make technologically advanced defense mechanisms.

data-science-defence-sector

Some of the common applications of data science in defense systems are as follows:

  • For improving transportation and logistics. Various data about previous transportation and logistics could be processed with the help of data science and we can obtain the most efficient routes and techniques.
  • The most popular use of data science is to extrapolate the enemy history data to extract various patterns in their attacks and routes and we can take the measures to prevent them accordingly.
  • Data science is used to reinforce cybersecurity to provide better protection for the sensitive information that might be hacked from any digital platform.
  • It can be used for threat monitoring 24/7 and also for detecting potential threats.
  • Data science is increasingly being used for creating virtual medical assistants for soldiers to provide the most effective care and medical help on the battlefield.

Every day the data scientists are working hard to come up with new and more efficient applications of data science in the defense systems. The market for data science is ripe right now and if you are a data scientist or interested in becoming one then you should be putting your pedal to the metal and explore the applications of Data Science Training Institute in Hyderabad in defense.

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