Thus, in the beginning, posting printed material from teachers to the students and receiving answer scripts from the student through the same mechanism was the only known method for such learning. But, in modern times, the things have moved from printed material being posted through ‘snail mail’ to virtual classrooms and web 2.0 technologies.
Today, distance learning would most probably be a learning modality that is practiced through a computer which can either be web based or else through a standalone learning management software. The term distance learning and e Learning can hardly be separated these days and, in addition, m Learning or mobile learning is rapidly gaining ground as one of the future distance learning modalities.
Undoubtedly, the distance mode had brought relief to many who were busy with their work and is unable to attend a class room session of teaching and even had encouraged many to take up courses that would enhance their knowledge and skills. Supporting this trend, many educational institutions worldwide had taken up distance learning as a preferred mode of delivering their courses with the intention to reach for a wider audience as well as to expand their credentials beyond the traditional boundaries of learning.
At present, there are many distance learning software being used by these educational institutes and adopting to use these software would be one of the challenges in undertaking distance learning. Unless the usesr or the learners adapt themselves to these software, the effectiveness of such learning activities cannot be substantiated as being true. In such circumstances, the dropout rate of the students could also rise which might put the sustainability of the course in jeopardy and could cause a huge financial loss to the students as well.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the students as well as the administrators to figure out ways to improve students ability to handle these distance education software. Following are some measures that can be used in improving the student compliance with the distance education software and thereby minimize the issues described in the previous sections.
-Getting training on handling the software
Simulations, video demonstration as well as web tutorials can be used to practice handling the software before embarking
on the actual training programme. Similarly, bridging courses can also be used as a method to enhance the students ability to interact effectively in the actual online training.
-Building up a routine
Adapting to a learning mentality and a behavior to suite the study programme would be another important aspect in handling distance learning software. Time management and scheduling, sticking to deadlines, avoiding delaying activities that needs urgent attention as well as building motivation to learn are essential aspects for following a distance learning programme.
-Improve typing skills
Another aspect that needs development is the typing skills. If not, it puts lot of burden on the learner and would reduce the effectiveness and response rate of such learners. Thus, in order to effectively interact with distance learning software, good typing skills would be rather important.
-Have the proper equipment
Unless the learnesr possess compatible machines and devices, they would not be able to handle the software effectively and therefore the administrators must make sure that they specify the minimum requirements to follow the course in relation to technological aspect along with other pre-requisites.
-Read the instructions and messages
Following the instructions and important messages would be the key in handling distance learning software effectively to gain the best out of the course. Therefore, areas which are devoted to important notices and indicate course instructions should be familiar to the learner.
Apart from these, there may be specific requirements depending on the software such as in the case of virtual reality and simulations. In such instances, the students would have to develop additional skills in order to handle this high fidelity software that would make the learning more effective.