Theory and Practice of Distance Education

By Börje Holmberg | Go to book overview

4

COURSE DEVELOPMENT-FUNDAMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS

The presentation of learning matter has been described above as one of two constituent elements of distance education, the other being interaction between students and their supporting organization with its tutors, counsellors and its administrative infrastructure. Any discussion about how this presentation occurs, how its goals can be attained and what methods and media are used, should be preceded by a consideration of its basic character. In distance education it is brought about by other means than faceto-face sessions.


OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES

Evidently (see pp. 23 and 35), the presentation of learning matter cannot be confined to dissemination of information. As an educational endeavour it must engage students in an intellectual activity that makes them try out ideas, reflect, compare and apply critical judgement to what is studied. This necessarily includes making use of insights acquired in various connections and cannot be limited to purely intellectual experiences; there is an affective aspect to be considered, as there is in anything that engages the mind and develops the personality.

It is the task of course developers to assist students' learning by examining the learning matter by argument, reflection in writing or recording, and causing students to reflect. Reflection in this context has been understood as 'a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciations. It may take place in isolation' (Boud, Keogh and Walker 1985:19). These activities are compatible with

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