Ingirige, Bingunath and Goulding, Jack Steven
Maximising Social Interactions and Effectiveness within
Distance Learning Courses: Cases from Construction.
Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 4
Advanced Internet technologies have revolutionised the delivery of distance learning education. As a result, the physical proximity between learners and the learning providers has become less important. However, whilst the pervasiveness of these technological developments has reached unprecedented levels, critics argue that the student learning experience is still not as effective as conventional face-to-face delivery. In this regard, surveys of distance learning courses reveal that there is often a lack of social interaction attributed to this method of delivery, which tends to leave learners feeling isolated due to a lack of engagement, direction, guidance and support by the tutor. This paper defines and conceptualises this phenomenon by investigating the extent to which distance-learning programmes provide the social interactions of an equivalent traditional classroom setting. In this respect, two distance learning case studies were investigated, covering the UK and Slovenian markets respectively. Research findings identified that delivery success is strongly dependent on the particular context to which the specific distance learning course is designed, structured and augmented. It is therefore recommended that designers of distance learning courses should balance the tensions and nuances associated with commercial viability and pedagogic effectiveness.
Uncontrolled Keywords (separate with ;):
Distance Learning; Construction Education; Synchronous; Asynchronous Tools; Social Interactions