The notion of distance learning is not a new concept. In fact, distance learning has actually been occurring since the early 1700s (Dumbauld, 2014), though some claim it wasn’t until 1840s, over a century later, when Isaac Pittman began teaching students shorthand by mailing homework assignment to students (Leeuwe, n.d.). Over the years as newer technologies came into focus, distance learning transitioned from being mail via sent “pony express”, to radio broadcasts and telephone correspondence, to television, and eventually to online learning via internet capable devices. As the available technologies continue to progress, the future of online learning could see such techniques as virtual reality science labs that could be completed at home, holographic field trips, or even, on a negative note, a decline in learning and schools all together as people are eventually able to download information straight from the internet to their brains! Below is a tetrad, based on McLuhan’s Laws of Media (Thornburg, 2013) for online learning.
Dumbauld, B. (2014, July11). A brief history of online learning [Infographic]. Retrieved from http://www.straighterline.com/blog/brief-history-online-learning-infographic/
Leeuwe, M. (n.d.). e-Learning Fundamentals: History of e-Learning. Retrieved from http://www.leerbeleving.nl/wbts/1/history_of_elearning.html
Thornburg, D. (2013). Emerging technologies and McLuhan’s laws of media. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.