Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Distance Learning Models

Online Courses

  • Eighty to one hundred percent of content is delivered online.  
  • The learner is separated from other students and the instructor by time and physical location. 
  • Students feel less of a sense of community and less connected with the instructor and other students.
  • Educational resources such as textbooks or articles may be provided digitally.  
  • Instructional content may be delivered through video or other multimedia formats. 
  • Communication is conducted through discussion forums or email.


  • Student/Instructor- Scheduling flexibility
  • Student/Instructor- Current Course Resources
  • Administrative- Requires less funding over time (campus maintenance and expansion)


  • Student/Instructor- May feel isolated due to lack of face to face interaction
  • Student/Instructor- Technology issues or failure
  • Administrative- Large upfront cost for development

When implementing an online course model the following factors should be considered.  

  • Courses need to be well planned and developed prior to implementation.
  • A course management system needs to be selected.
  • Multiple methods for student and instructor interaction need to be offered.


  • Thirty to eighty percent of content is delivered online.
  • Part of the course is taught face to face and part is taught online. 
  • Students feel a stronger sense of community and more connected. 
  • Some education resources such as articles may be provided digitally.
  • Communication is partially online.  Discussion may start, develop, or conclude in an online discussion forum depending on the instructor’s preference. 
  • Student/Instructor- Increase in interaction between student and instructor
  • Student/Instructor- Scheduling flexibility
  • Administrative- Higher percentage of student retention
  • Student/Instructor- Requires time spent acquiring technology skills
  • Instructor-  Requires additional planning time to adapt activities to an online environment
  • Administrative- Time and money spent on technology trainings for students and instructors

When implementing an online course model the following factors should be considered.  

  • Time must be spent prior to offering the course developing online activities that meet the instructional goals.
  • Instructors need training to acquire teaching skills for an online environment.
  • Technology training for instructors and students needs to be developed and offered.

Web-facilitated Courses

  • Up to thirty percent of content is delivered online.
  • The course is taught face to face with some content provided online. 
  • Students have a strong sense of community and feel more connected to the instructor and other students.
  • Course information such as a syllabus, resource list, or project guidelines is available online.
  • Individual communication between student and instructor may take place through e-mail.


  • Student/Instructor- No communication barriers caused by technology
  • Student/Instructor- First hand, real time, spontaneous discussions
  • Student/Instructor- Course and project information is provided in a consistent location online and available anytime


  • Student- Possibility of passive learning versus active learning increases
  • Student/Instructor- Learning style needs are difficult to meet due to class size
  • Student/Instructor- Higher order thinking opportunities are limited

    When implementing an online course model the following factors should be considered.  

    • Instructional goals, textbook, and content outline need to be chosen prior to offering the course.
    • Instructional lessons and activities can be developed as the course progresses.

    Web-facilitated courses are becoming the norm in K-12 education.  Course syllabuses, curriculum content updates, activity and project guidelines, and student grades can all be accessed online.  Communication between teachers and parents is frequently conducted through email.  School and district information is made available through a website.  Due to the number of students enrolled in public schools with varying income levels, access to technology and technology skills requiring hybrid and online courses is impossible.  Some K-12 institutions offer these types of courses on an optional basis.


    Cook, D. (2007). Web-based learning: pros, cons, and controversies.  Clinical medicine, 7(1), 37-42.  Retrieved from 

    Garnham, C. & Kaleta, R. (2002).  Introduction to hybrid courses.  Teaching with technology today, 8(6). Retrieved from

    Ritter, C., Polnick, B., Fink, R., & Oescher, J. (2010). Classroom learning communities in educational leadership: a comparison study of three delivery options. Internet and higher education, 13(1-2), 96-100. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

    Technical and Vocational School Guide.  (n.d.).  Online vs classroom education.  Retrieved from 

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