How well supported does your personal theory feel? What research could you do in order to support your theory? What methods would you employ? Post a direct link
My personal theory of distance education (a super set of online learning) incorporates a number of essential elements. First off, you will only learn when you are motivated to do so. So stop for a minute and ask the question “How am I motivated”. The answer might come as a surprise. Remove the pain and make it fun. What can be painful about distant education? If you do not know how to close the distance gap and establish a communication channel, it will be very painful. The barriers have to be removed. As an example, if I am going to take an online course and I do not have the information necessary to get online, I will become very frustrated. The first barrier is just getting connected. I do not know the address of the online environment. Where do I get this information? Once I find the address, where are the keys to get in? If I do not know what my username and password is, then I am ready to quit. Now that I am finally in the learning environment, how do I make my way to the place where I am supposed to be. How do I interact and talk with the instructor and other students? How do i share information on the screen with others? All of these technology issues can totally demotivate the student from learning. So motivation is a key element.
So assume that there is no barrier to motivation. The next element of this theory is communication. Do I have access to share ideas and information freely with others. Can I be interactive in my communication. Having a system that comes close to real life interaction with another person face to face would be the best. If I were an apprentice, learning a trade, I would want my master craft teacher at my disposal and have the ability to interact, ask questions and share information easily with me. As the information was shared, it would stimulate me to ask even more detailed question and build upon my knowledge. Without communication, you are quickly lost. The guide has left you in the wilderness on your own. You need to be able to seek help when you need it. We all need to have a back up plan for help when we need it. Good communications is essential.
The third component of distant education is the quality of the content. Rich media that is interactive and illustrative is important part of learning. There is a lot of research that involves the value of sensory cognition. Many people learn from visual aides and having the ability to interact and experiment with the content.