Distance Education System: Meaning, Features, Technology Application and Resources
School children in a virtual classroom learning of a Distance Education Management System. Image credit: onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu
Distance & Information Education:
Distance Learning System: Introduction, Meaning, Management, Features, Structure, Implementation, Technology Application, Resources, and Support Providers
Introduction to Distance Learning Management System (DLMS)
Distance learning is already part of many institutions’ programs, and could even become a larger part of the future of education and training. Educational technology is bridging the physical spaces between educators and students even though skilled teachers continue to be an integral part of their students’ lives.
Meaning of Distance Learning System (DLS)
Having introduced DLMS, it is imperative to have its definition. So what is the meaning of Distance Learning System?
Distance Learning System is a computer- or internet-based process of learning, training, learning, or running educational programs or courses. It can also be defined as a way of gaining knowledge, abilities, and skills through given information and instructions while applying different technologies and other modes and forms of distance education.
Distance Learning System involves the use of modern information and communication technologies (physical and non-physical electronic communication technologies) in remote learning and impliedly a distance learning management system (DLMS) whereby internet-facilitated teaching and learning activities take place simultaneously with both teachers and learners separated in time and place live and direct in a virtual classroom setting.
Distance Learning Management System (DLMS)
What is Learning Management System?
Learning Management System (LMS) is definitely for schools that offer online learning courses or programs because LMS, which emanates from e-learning, is a software application tool used in school education and training and development programs for designing, creating, delivering, and management of learning content.
When distance learning involves live webinars and virtual classroom learning via the internet mode taking place simultaneously with the instructors and fellow students, it is known as online distance learning or online learning.
So, virtual classroom learning is a more officially-established mode of online learning and online courses are delivered with the use of a Learning Management System or LMS.
Virtual Classroom Learning
Virtual Classroom Learning is an online learning session that is conducted via the internet in form of web conferences, live broadcasts, or teleconferences. Virtual Classroom Learning eliminates the lack of social interaction during studies since it gives students the opportunity to participate in learning activities together with their peers.
Features of a good Distance Education Management System (DEMS): What to look out for
There are certain features to look out for mostly in a distance learning management system or program that will make it worthwhile for a school or district to run.
Distance Education Management System should be easy to use
Students should be able to run their distance education programs with ease. Adopted multimedia distance learning system compatible with teaching and learning should be simple, reliable, and user-friendly for learners, otherwise, it won’t be worthy of the purpose.
Invariably, an LMS should be simple to access and use in order to encourage learners to participate. The design of the LMS should be friendly in appearance and functionality — based on user requirements.
A set of certain essential features with a clear interface should be able to create and share media contents; do audio screen-recording as well as digital whiteboarding and annotation. It should also be able to direct instructor-learner communication effectively.
Distance Learning Management System should be rich in program resources
The program and course content of any good distance learning management system must be rich. As most distance learning systems are made to be fairly flexible in this regard, the courses have a lot to do with curriculum content and not just the system or computer device. How will the course content meet the individual needs of students?
The program schedule of the Distance Education Management System should be flexible
How flexible is the distance education system? Is the DLMS flexible enough to be considered? Is it a synchronous or asynchronous course? Does it offer video conferencing or a hybrid or correspondence program? What is the duration of a program? Does the course’s schedule match mine? These and many more related questions can a student ask before enrolling for distance education.
Program content and flexibility are important factors to consider when choosing a DLMS coursework.
Distance Education Management System should have a well-developed method and system of assessment and evaluation
A good DEMS should have a well-developed method and system of assessment and evaluation. A good online learning management system should contain students’ data collection and compilation features and a provision for instructors or teachers to disseminate feedback through individual student’s line of communication.
The Structure of a Distance Learning Management System (DLMS) with respect to programs, courses of study, and curriculum
In as much as the structure of distance learning varies among support providers, it characteristically revolves around an online learning management system (LMS) where teachers can give instruction, assignments, and distribute news and information, among others and get feedback from students in return. Therefore, it is equally important that school administrators choose a simple, reliable digital learning platform.
The Benefits and Advantages of Distance Learning Management System (DLMS)
Many benefits and advantages of the Distance Learning Management System (DLMS) abound which are worthy of consideration. The majority of the benefits are:
- A typical DLMS provides a login menu for account holders and learners to sign in to the learning management system program of the school or organization or learning facilitator.
- Learners can view their syllabuses and curriculum and support course materials as well as their grades. LMS which has been described as a virtual classroom platform can also provide the contacts of teachers and course mates to students.
- Teachers can post students’ coursework periodically and other necessary information, like notices, announcements, needed by the students and students can access their assignments, quizzes, and tests for completion in a distance learning program.
- A good online Learning Management System should include insights into students’ or learners’ progress through built-in analytical tools and resources that will help administrators to develop course lessons, activities, and assessments.
- A good designed Distance Education Management System (DEMS) makes it simple for learning facilitators to deliver learning content with ease; students and instructors to have impactive online collaboration and should have a well-developed method of assessment and evaluation for a successful implementation of a distance learning program.
- A well-crafted DLMS provides learning resources online like calendars, a how-to guide, or a study guide to students, and other learners, word processors, and parental integration detailing the ins and outs of technology tools in its learning applications software.
- It should provide experiences that are adapted to individual learners. A good LMS helps to make learning interesting, engaging students learners so they take a more active role in their own development through the duration of the program.
- A learning management system imparts on students’ distance education and training with modern features like onboarding, support guides, webinars, and interactive videos, instant messaging, emails community of experts, blog posts, and e-book.
Role & Application of Technology in Distance Education System (Distance learning system technology)
Technology plays a key role in effective learning in a distance education management system, and the success of any distance learning program depends, to a large extent, on the educational technology used to deliver the content and the learning enhancement tools the system supports.
Technology tools that enable efficient facilitation, application of, collaboration, and engagement with students, faculty, and the content in an online environment essentially promotes a good learning experience.
Each distance learning system technology draws on particular technical skills and similarly, offers a different type of social interaction.
The technology that offers a social experience most similar to that of the traditional in-person classroom is two-way interactive video courses.
In a distance learning program, the learning management system is offered as a resource in any technology tools platform and the application software offers a study portal right from the registration of the students to certification.
How to choose and implement a Distance Learning System
How can schools, districts, or school administrators choose a viable distance learning system and implement it for a successful program of study?
The features of any student-centered learning experience of any DLS that will make it choice should include multiple types of course or program activities, control of the learning process, and student management.
A reliable DLS should also feature an integrated payment processing system for proper accountability. DLMS platform can provide students with the possibility to create unique interactive learning experiences.
5 Steps to implementation of DLMS in school districts
Step 1: Access to computers and laptops
The school and the regulatory agencies must first ensure that each student within the district has access to a conventional computer device like a desktop, tablet, or laptop computer. The use of a mobile phone as a computer device may be quite inconvenient for learners.
Step 2: Access to online curriculum and syllabus
The school administrators grant the students access to an online curriculum and syllabus via a suitable and usable computer device. Registered students can log in and access resources.
Step 3: Choose and implement virtual classroom platforms
Once the students access to the online curriculum using a computer device, they go on to choose a virtual classroom platform on the online learning management system.
Step 4: Implement online lessons to meet students’ needs
Implementation of distance learning through meeting individual student’s curricula needs. The school district, administration team, and educators work collaboratively to design online curricula and syllabi for different programs that will assist the teachers to know what to teach for any academic year.
Step 5: Develop an assessment and evaluation system
Implementing distance learning at school districts finally involves developing an assessment and evaluation system to enable online learning teachers to collect, compile, and disseminate data of students via their individual lines of communication.
Distance Learning Management System Resources and Support Providers
Compiling a list of all online distance learning resources either subject wise or course wise is an enormous task because there are thousands of distance learning courses offered globally.
We shall discuss further in this post a few of DLMS Resources and Support Providers, some are part of the most common ones. The resources are for instructors to communicate through different means of communication (email, video, direct messaging, audio, etc.) directly with learners to share lessons and/or content.
Virtual classroom online learning platform
Learning experiences in the virtual classroom include programs students can complete mostly as coursework, including exams, directly online.
Google Classroom and Flipgrid are some of the reliable resources students typically find their interfaces intuitive and simple. Google’s entire G Suite platform, its collection of work-based application software programs, also keeps distance learning on the go.
Just like Google Classroom, Remind application software connects students and parents with the classroom to share files, links, and other instructional resources from personal devices as attachments, or through a previously-established cloud sharing system such as Google Classroom, Google Drive, Office 365, etc.
LearnWorld also offers virtual classroom learning as a distance learning program activities and students’ management processes. With LearnWorlds’ learning management system, students can not only add courses and activities in embeddable content like text, quizzes, assignments, live webinars, interactive videos, audio recordings to their training sessions, but complete write examination online.
School administrators gain full control of their resources and onboarding with Moodle Free Open-Source Learning Management System and it enables students to create an online private learning space full of engaging activities and materials.
Distance Learning Management System resources include but not limited to journals, interactive videos, recorded lectures, quizzes, discussion forums, webinars, live Q&A sessions, interviews, ebooks, emails, instant messaging, postal correspondence.
This blog post on ‘Distance Learning System: Introduction, Meaning, Management, Features, Structure, Implementation, Technology Application, Resources, and Support Providers’ is categorized under Distance and Information Education.
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