I have had a few experiences with distributed learning (DL). When I was in grade 10, I finished the entire Planning 10 course through my school district’s DL program in about 3 weeks. After finishing that course, I started Chemistry 11 with another district’s DL program, but found there to be less support and contact from the teacher in this course, and ended up finishing Chemistry 11 in the classroom during my grade 11 year. After I graduated, I ending up taking a number of courses through the DL program at the College of the Rockies – KNES 205: Nutrition, PHIL 180: The Search for Meaning, ANTH 105: Aboriginal Health and Wellness, SOCI 101: Sociology & the Individual, ENGL 100: English Composition, EAP 110: Health Care in the School System, PSYC 102: Introduction to Psychology 2, ANTH 120: Indigenous Worldviews, and ENGL 102: Prose Fiction. I have actually never written out all of the online DL courses that I have taken before, and doing so made me realize that I am a little more well-versed in the field as a learner than I first thought!
My Feelings Regarding Distributed Learning
I have definitely found there to be pros and cons to distributed learning and its role in education, but it is important to remember that there are various forms that DL can take, and some are definitely more beneficial than others! Through my experience, I have done well when there is clear and direct communication with the teacher or instructor, as well as opportunities to meet face to face when needed. I had great experiences with the college courses that I took, and this is primarily due to the direct contact that I was able to have. My instructors were readily available through email and phone, and I ended up meeting up with each of them in person at their office hours at least once during the duration of the course. I didn’t end up finishing the Chemistry 11 course through DL, and this was due to a lack of contact and clarification from the instructor. I think that DL definitely has a place within our present-day K-12 and post-secondary education systems, but contact and communication, whether it be through email, phone, video-conferencing or face-to-face, is vital for success.
Modality in K-12 Learning
As the world continues to become more interconnected on a global level, the way that educators are able to reach their learners is shifting and changing. Introducing merged modalities in the classroom means facilitating an inclusive learning environment for every student – something I am a huge advocate for. We now have various formats for learning, including face-to-face, video conferencing, and online, and each of these formats can be blended with one another to create personalized learning environments that can work for every learner. Although face-to-face learning is ideal, that is not a reality for every single student and it is important to be open and aware of other options so that each student can be given equal opportunities to learning, regardless of their situation.