Thesis: Editorial Distance Education Theory

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Distance Education Theory

Moore opens his discussion with two important conceptual clarifications: that of distance learning and transactional distance. He begins by exposing the weakness of what the term "distance learning" denotes as he states, " [it] is troublesome since it suggests actions of one person, i.e. The learner, that are independent of the actions of teachers" when in fact a distance learning program is dualistic in nature as it involves both teaching and learning experiences (par. 3). In order to substantiate this claim, he drew upon the transaction literature which proves the existence of the interplay of multitude of factors in the education setting as "the teachers and learners, [transacts] in an environment that has the special characteristic of separation of one from another, and a consequent set of special teaching and learning behaviors" (par. 4). It is only the physical or geographical distance in Distance Education that becomes an avenue by which misunderstandings between the teacher and the learner can occur, hence the existence of "transactional distance." This shows that to simply dismiss distance education as a one-way education experience is a mistake in the offing.

Moore then took the article in a historical spin when he traced distance education alongside an important social phenomenon - industrialization. He claims that distance education is viewed as an industrialized form of teaching as this type of education required standardized, normalized, and formalized learning tools and procedures to capture a larger target market to which it will be sold. However, Moore cited a number of authors disputing the claim that distance education is simply industrialized education. These authors showed proof that the phenomenon of industrialization has huge effects -- deeply penetrating people's material and constructed realities, a social change that took effect in traditional education as well.

Moore's position in this controversy maintains that "... these effects of industrialization remain external to teaching and learning at a traditional university. In principle, they still take place in accordance with the same structural patterns that stem from pre-industrial age (par. 18)." By pre-industrial age, Moore refers to how "oral" of an activity traditional education is because it is an offshoot of traditional oral culture while distance education became possible because of technological efforts, which require playing along technical rules and language that is unbound by context.

Moore acknowledges the fact that theorizing in the sphere "industrialization" - a concept that was born more than a couple of centuries ago has its definite limitations. Things have drastically changed from then on, hence the need to introduce newer concepts to better… [END OF PREVIEW]

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