Evolve or Die

  • After reading the three articles by Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman, and listening to the Simonson video programs, compare and contrast the reasons these authors believe there is a need to evolve distance education to the next generation. Do you agree with their positions? Why or why not?

We currently live in a world driven by information and ease of communication. This has caused a massive shift in how we interact with each other and the world. This has also resulted in a major change in how many of us, and our children, expect to view and engage with content. Websites like YouTube create an environment were we can create and share our own content and experiences. For more please visit: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/youtube-changed-the-world/27206.

I believe that now is a great time to look at how we learn and make changes in education that reflect the way in which the world is transforming. Like (Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman, 2008) I too believe that ID can play a major role in this shift.

As an ID professional and technology advocate, I do think there is a real need to make sure what is being produced for technology in education is of the highest quality. Here is another article that speaks to quality control from the eLearning Coach: http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/quality-control-for-online-training/.

I believe that in order to make a lasting impact, there needs to be a commonly understood standard, one in which the public is also educated, that allows everyone to easily distinguish between quality and poor design. Most of us can recognize when we are taking a good class or when the class we are taking is poor quality and design. We simply need to define those good characteristics and educate people to expect that standard.

Simonson also talks about equivalency theory. At first glance I really like what this says about the content being equal but in a different shape. I would expand on that more as I believe that online learning through technology can not only cover the same material, but cover it in a deeper manner. This enables the learner to have a more meaningful and lasting learning experience. Simonson compares this theory to surface area in geometry, but I think that by using this comparison it is possible to design better volume in an online format with the right approach and recourses (Laureate Education, Inc. 2008)

I often hear talk about making the online version match or mirror the classroom experience and how some things just don’t translate. I believe this is true. I also think that we need to stop worrying about making the online experience match the classroom and ask ourselves how can we make it better?

I know of teaching institutions that have their instructors create and manage their individual online classes. I believe this is a mistake. The articles discuss this in detail and I believe a team approach to this design is better for everyone. When you divide this work amongst SME’s and IDer’s I believe the end product is of higher quality and better suited for the student (Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman, 2008).

I firmly believe that the way in which we acquire, use and disseminate information has fundamentally changed. As educators we can either get in front of this change and use it to drive our approach to education or we can let it pass us by. In the end it is our choice what we do, the world will evolve with or without us.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of distance education: Equivalency theory.Baltimore, MD: Author.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web. TechTrends,


2 thoughts on “Evolve or Die”

  1. Kylie,

    I agree that it is unnecessary to think that on-line classes should mirror traditional classrooms. I believe the challenge is for traditional classrooms to evolve and offer things that on-line classes do, especially in terms of discussion. In on-line discussions, all students must participate and respond to other students. In the traditional classroom, all students do not actively engage in discussions.



  2. Kayle,

    First let me say your passion for this topic stands out. I think you truly understand how important it is to have the proper instructional strategy for online education. I agree with your statement that there should be a team of leaders who put together an online course in order to ensure proper teaching strategies. Like you said, you cannot take what you teach from a traditional classroom and expect it to work in an online environment. Moller, Foshay and Huett (2008) talk about how important it is to train instructors to include the proper teaching styles for distance education. I think students can learn better an online environment as well because they can learn at their own pace, and have the time to research topics of interest. In the end, it is important to remember that students’ needs come first and that includes creating an online class that will give them the experiences they need to be successful in the future.

    Tracy N.


    Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, May/June). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 1: Training and Development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75.


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