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            As I take this time to sit back and reflect over the past eight weeks, I can't help but to see how much I have truly grown in my knowledge of distance learning. Distance learning is defined as institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources and instructors (Simonson, et al, 2012, p. 32). Distance learning is the present and will be the future of education world-wide. We live in a global society. No longer are engineering jobs limited to those who study and live in the United States. These positions are being sought for by engineers around the world. Some of who have completed their degrees at an online institution.

            Distance learning allows for so much flexibility, that a person can work their full time job, attend to family obligations, and have time focus on completing their degree in a convenient manner. It allows the student to access their course work regardless of where their location. Blended and hybrid models offer students the advantage of taking the course online while receiving some face to face instruction. The course offerings are becoming virtually endless  Who wouldn't want to chose this options? I am certain that distance education will continue to grow and become a top consumer investment in the next ten to twenty years. Some students for more comfortable in the online environment versus the traditional face to face education. Some people strive better in a independent environment where they can move at their own pace and build their confidence at their own pace within the class itself.
            As an instructional designer I believe there are several things that can be done to dispel the negative perception of distance learning. Ensuring the rigor of the course by setting clear and concise objectives will be beneficial to both the instructor and the learner. A syllabus to clearly list the expectations of the course. The syllabus would also list and organize the assignments and activities for the course. I also believe that have a resources link that will allow the students to reference and use when completing the course.  Kunuka, Rouke, and Laflamme (2007) suggest that engaging the learner requires instruction that is well structured, with clear responsibilities for students, and that provokes students to join in deeper levels of discussion. (Simonson, et al, 2012, p. 222).

            I believe that as an educator and instructional designer, that I will need to really incorporate my background as an educator when developing the implementation of the course. Learning theories will play a major part in the delivery method of course. I must provide instruction that caters to the variety of learners in the classroom. This also includes learning styles. I would also need to communicate and foster a sense of community in the course so that all participants are wanting and willing to engage in meaningful discussions."  I must also realize that students are coming in with prior experience. Some good and some bad. "It is the repsonsibility of the instructor when designing the course, to be certain that there are hints and suggestion, clearly articulated expectations, and information presented in multiple locations for easy access" (Simonson, et al, 2012, p. 225).

            In the future, it is my goal to continue to polish up my skills and finish the Instructional Design program here at Walden University. Keeping the tenacity and wiliness to learn and apply what I learn in my profession. As an educator I already incorporate a lot technology in the courses that I teach. I have learned to use what I know already from teaching and transfer that knowledge and technology to use in the ID field and vice versa. Providing meaningful instruction will always be the goal. Meaningful instruction creates positive learning experiences. This is how I will continue to improve distance education.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at            a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson

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