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Guiding Principles for Distance Teaching and Learning
What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.
The American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) has identified basic assumptions and guiding principles for identifying and evaluating web-based courses and non-formal education programs. ADEC guidelines address web-based learning environments that are designed for distance as well as face-to-face students.
ADEC Basic Assumptions
- The principles that lend themselves to quality face-to-face learning environments are often similar to those found in web-based learning environments.
- With all forms of media converging to a digital platform, advanced educational technology may include a variety of learning environments and information appliances.
- While rapidly emerging technologies offer unlimited potential for virtual learning environments for both face-to-face as well as distance learners, practical application of existing technologies may often prove highly effective for various audiences and objectives.
- The learning experience must have a clear purpose with tightly focused outcomes and objectives.
- The learner is actively engaged.
- The learning environment makes appropriate use of a variety of media.
- Learning environments must include problem-based as well as knowledge-based learning.
- Learning experiences should support interaction and the development of communities of interest.
- The practice of distance learning contributes to the larger social mission of education and training in a democratic society.
ADEC Characteristics of quality web-based teaching and learning:
- Fosters meaning-making, discourse
- Moves from knowledge transmission to learner-controlled systems
- Provides for reciprocal teaching
- Is learner-centered
- Encourages active participation, knowledge construction
- Based on higher level thinking skills — analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
- Promotes active learning
- Allows group collaboration and cooperative learning
- Provides multiple levels of interaction
- Focuses on real-world problem solving
Read the complete text of the ADEC Guiding Principles
Contributed by Chip Donohue
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