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Educational Mini-Clips in Distance Learning

Educational Mini-Clips in Distance Learning
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Author(s): Robin H. Kay (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch107


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It is undeniable that distance learning has grown rapidly over the past five years. With over 12 billion dollars spent on online learning in 1998 (Burgess & Russell, 2003) and a growth rate of 30%-40% per year since then (Harper, Chen, & Yen, 2004; Hurst, 2001; Newman, 2003), it is safe to say that distance education is firmly established in many businesses and universities. One well-established advantage of distance learning is that a student controls the time, pace, and pathway of learning (Burgess & Russell, 2003; Pierrakeas, 2003). This control over learning is very appealing to a user, particularly when customized or just-in-time support is readily available (Harper, Chen, & Yen, 2004). Providing effective, timely support, though, puts considerable strain on instructors and tutors, if they are available (Harper et al., 2004; Levine, 2003; Wallace & Wallace, 2001). It is challenging to provide just-in-time help because delay is inevitable. The use of e-mail or online discussion necessitates a time lag between question and response. Instant messaging systems (IMS) are another option, however, it is cost prohibitive to have instructors and tutors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, IMS might be limited in the type of question that could be answered – complex formulas and equations, for example, are difficult to explain using this medium.

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