Distance education has become one of the more prominent forms of study due to the ever-changing technology offered to this modern era of students; Technology has thoroughly improved academic success. Distance education has a glorious history that can be traced back to its roots in the early 1840’s. “It was Sir Issac Pitman, the English inventor of shorthand, who in 1840 devised his concept to offer education courses by mail, who, in a historical sense, ushered in the first phase of distance education (Matthews, 1999).
Since scholars have been implementing this form of study it has gone by various monikers such as: postal correspondence courses, independent study, off campus study, outreach education, and mostly recently online education. The one concept that all of these various names have in common are that the student is able to conduct studies over a distance. The technology has come a long way to allow these various forms, from simply mailing books and coursework in its induction, to audio classes and instructional videos in the mid 1900’s, and finally to online coursework in the post millennium.
Advantages of a distance education format included increased access to higher education, flexible scheduling of personal time, convenient location, individualized attention by the instructor, less travel, and increased time to think about and respond to questions posed by the instructor. (Matthews, 1999)” The technological advances in education have boomed in the recent years. Looking back to the early 1990’s, just 20 years ago, computers were an uncommon sight outside of universities and did not become a staple in public classrooms, library’s, and the middle to lower income houses until almost the turn of the century.
Looking back at the scholars of just 30 years ago, they were still doing research the old fashion way, in the library. “As of 2003; 93% of all public instructional classrooms reported having access to the Internet, an increase from 3% in 1994. In 2008, 97% of public schools had one or more computers located in instructional classrooms of which 98% of these had Internet access (U. S. Department of Education, 2010).
Technology reaches beyond the classroom to serve various different kinds of scholars, home school students, learners with disabilities, regular students, and students that live in a rural part of the country. These groups of students have the ability to search online databases and receive an education that their particular situations would otherwise not allow. The success of online learning curriculums at every level of education is the most recent example of impact that technology has had to both learners and educators alike.
The No Child Left Behind Act that was adopted by President George W. Bush in 2001 was vital to increase academic success, every school is required to close the academic gap and ensure every student, including the disadvantaged students, meet academic standards. Technology is particularly relevant to increasing educational standards. “Students whose teachers were high level users of technology scored significantly better than did the students whose teachers were low level users of technology in the classroom (Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology, 2005).
470 students were selected to take part in an experimental study predominantly based around how technology can be used to increase grades. On average those students that used technology during the progress scored15% higher than those students who did not use technology. Academic Performance has always been the gold standard when it comes to comparing schools and various other programs. Technology has been proven time and time again to increase academic success.
There are many questions still trying to be answered about the future of online learning. Considering current trends, it is safe to assume that the number of schools and programs that provide distance education courses will increase in the foreseeable future (Vernon, Pittman-Munke, Vakalahi, Adkins, Pierce, 2009). ” Even though education is primarily about the student, and what they are learning, one of the most important factors of education is the educator. The educator is one of the key points that various institutions are focusing on, ongoing education for the teacher is immensely important.
There have been various recent reports about online enrollments for higher education and distance learning, the results have exceeded projections with little to no decreases expected for the future. Using the Learning on Demand report: “- Over 4. 6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term; a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year. -The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1. 2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population. Allen & Seaman, 2009). ”
It has been found by Barnard-Brak, Lan, and Paton that “individuals who are self-regulated in their learning appear to achieve more positive academic outcomes than individuals who do not exhibit self-regulated learning behaviors (2010). ” This finding is particularly relevant to online learning, with the freedom of scheduling self-regulated learners can excel through their classes by being able to motivate. Technology is always changing and progressing. Education has always been one of the judging factors on one’s success.
The ability for people to continue their education is out there in one form or another, technology continues to make pursuing education much easier. Technology has come a long way particularly in the past 20 years. Academic performance is the driving factor behind all new education techniques, the positive performance that technology has heralded will dictate the path of education for the future. Distance education has come a very long way since Sir Issac Pitman pioneered the idea in 1840, it is currently one of the top ways for people to continue their education, and only has a bright future.