Modes of Delivery and Learning Objectives in Distance Education

By Yang, Jack Fei; Hsiao, Ching-Mei et al. | International Journal of Instructional Media, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Modes of Delivery and Learning Objectives in Distance Education

Yang, Jack Fei, Hsiao, Ching-Mei, Liu, Huan-Yuan, Lin, Nick Chao-Ming, International Journal of Instructional Media


South Dakota is one of the leading states in distance education development in the U.S. Since 2003, the South Dakota distance educational system has applied different distance modes of delivery which include the following primary approaches:

1. Correspondence Courses: a print based asynchronous distance learning system.

2. Telecourses: an one-way audio & video based synchronous distance learning system.

3. Digital Dakota Network (DDN): a two-way audio, video, computer & Internet based synchronous distance learning system

4. Online Courses: a computer & internet based asynchronous distance learning system.

Different modes of delivery have the potential to provide different accessibility, interaction, and efficiency. To develop appropriate and optimum distance modes of delivery requires expert attention to the planning and design of learning experiences, including a clear vision and purpose for learning, as well as educator skill in instructional design and technical resource management.

Research on comparisons of distance modes of delivery have continued for the past several decades. Literature generally has concluded that learning effectiveness will not be influenced by different modes of delivery (Clark, 2001; McIsaac & Gunawardena, 1996; Moore & Kearsley, 1996; Russell, 1999; Sherry, 1996). The distance education research direction has shifted in the new millennium away from media comparisons to explorations of variations in instructional design, teaching methods, and media attributes analysis in order to investigate different levels of learning effectiveness, student and teacher satisfaction, interaction patterns, and learning efficiency (Kozma, 1991). The debate about the best media for learning, has suggested that the instructor's desire to interact with learners is the key to influencing learning. Different modes of media have not been found to influence learning effectiveness, but different media attributes will influence other learning factors such as attitude, levels of interaction, motivation, and efficiency.

The traditional media comparison studies have emphasized review of modes of delivery as variables for comparison. Researchers have commonly ignored other compounding factors such as teacher, learner, and objectives which will also significantly influence learning (Clark & Sugrue, 1990). In order to design appropriate distance educational system research, it is necessary to adopt appropriate instructional design models. Instructional design steps should focus on several important questions: Who is the learner? What are the learning objectives? What instructional strategies fit the available delivery resources? When educators consider broader issues beyond the learning effectiveness of a course, issues such as access, equity, cost and quality all need to be considered.

Instructional design literature indicates that the determination of learning objectives is one of the most important steps for developing distance education. Bloom's taxonomy is the most classic learning objective theory, with cognitive learning objectives consisting of six levels from lower to higher levels as follows: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

The consideration of levels of learning objectives will contribute in the selection of the appropriate instructional methods and modes of delivery (Strauss & Frost, 1999). There is a need in distance education research to focus on cognitive efficiency (Clark, 2001 ). Other issues such as mode accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and interaction ability all need to be considered in considering distance delivery mode selection.


Klasek (1972) stated, "For instructional media to become an integral part of the learning process, a particular medium for instruction must be considered only as It is able to assist the student in fulfilling an instructional objective" (p.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Modes of Delivery and Learning Objectives in Distance Education


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?