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«Submitted to: Office of Economics for the White House & Select Members of Congress Submitted by: John G. Flores, Ph.D. Executive Director United ...»

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Distance Learning:

Enabling the Race to the Top

Submitted to:

Office of Economics for the White House &

Select Members of Congress

Submitted by:

John G. Flores, Ph.D.

Executive Director

United States Distance learning Association

Date: November 16, 2009

Distance Learning:

Enabling the Race to the Top


About this document

About the USDLA

For more information

Distance learning is …

… for every learner, everywhere

… leveraging every available technology to enhance learning…........... 6 … already making a difference for millions of learners every day.......... 6 … critical to American competitiveness

… already green

Distance learning has potential…

… to create millions of great jobs

… to deliver unique advantages over “old-school” models

… to take “assessment” to a whole new level

… to increase student achievement and performance

… to produce better teachers, schools, and principals

… to deliver more per dollar invested

… to contribute to national security

Key challenges and opportunities

Ensuring interoperability of technologies

Eliminating the “digital divide” (aka “the last mile”)

Re-tooling our workforce (including teachers)

COPYRIGHT © 2009 USDLA PAGE 1 OF 18 P / 3-DEC-09 Increasing expectations and standards for quality

Structure of educational agencies

One size does not fit all

Teacher training

National efforts needed

A voice for the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market 15 National standardization and accreditation

Creation of a National Normative Database

National distance learning summit

Strategic partnerships, alliances, and ventures

International collaboration

Vehicle and budgetary reforms to promote lifelong learning............... 17 Conclusion

–  –  –

About this document This document was prepared by the United States Distance Learning Association to provide an overview of the current state — the realities, possibilities, and promise — of distance learning today.

About the USDLA USDLA Sponsors and Members are operating in and influencing the majority of an estimated $913 Billion dollar U.S. Education and Training Market.

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) members are the decision makers influencing the design, implementation, and investment strategies for distance education and training programs globally. Founded in 1987 as the first nonprofit Distance Learning association in the United States, USDLA supports Distance Learning research, development and praxis across the complete arena of education, training and communications. USDLA was founded on the premise of creating a powerful alliance to meet the burgeoning education and training needs of learning communities via new concepts of the fusion of communication technologies with learning in broad multidiscipline applications. The distance education and training constituencies served, and the percentage of membership, include: pre K-12 (26%), higher and continuing education (63%), corporate training (19%), military (11%) and government training (19%), home schooling (7%), telemedicine (6%) and other (8%).

Mission: To serve the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity.

In addition, USDLA is focused on international technology based Distance Learning and

partners with leading distance learning associations around the world including:

Observatory of Borderless Higher Education (OBHE)  European Distance Education Network (EDEN)  Canadian Distance Leaning Association (CADE)  Brazil Distance Learning Association (BDLA)  Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) via the World Bank  European Association for Distance Learning (ICDE)  African Distance Learning Association (ADLA)  International Association for Distance Learning (IADL) 

–  –  –

… for every learner, everywhere One of the biggest and most common misconceptions is that the term ―distance learning‖ applies only to K-12 learners and only to K-12 learners in rural areas. In reality, distance learning today is not just for kids.

It’s about using available technologies and technology infrastructures to make more effective learning opportunities more accessible to all learners, whatever their age, location, or reason for learning.

For example, distance learning is used by (the):

U.S. government to train military  State governments to train emergency responders of all kinds  Red Cross to train volunteers  Healthcare associations and providers to educate their employees and patients  Associations to train and certify entire industries and economic sectors  Corporations to train their workforce, consumers, distributors, and partners  Virtual schools to train the next generation of teachers  Organizations to cut greenhouse gases.

Distance learning:

 allows for a personalized learning experience with regard to the individual interests, achievement level, life circumstance and goals of each student.

 may be accessed from anywhere, at any time, and at any pace, in accordance with the individual needs of each student.

promotes 21st century skills such as collaboration, civic literacy, global awareness and a  constructivist pedagogy facilitating the use of higher order thinking such as creative problem solving.

 most closely resembles the manner in which work will occur and economies will expand in this century, remotely and in collaboration with multiple and diverse stakeholders.

 easily allows for the process of learning to be captured, researched, and archived for continual enhancement and expansion.

 allows for greater quality control and adherence to best practices in teaching and learning as curricula are guaranteed, instruction closely monitored, and assessment rubrics common and consistent.

COPYRIGHT © 2009 USDLA PAGE 5 OF 18 P / 3-DEC-09 … leveraging every available technology to enhance learning… Another common misconception is that ―distance learning‖ refers only to video conferencing or some other specific type of technology. In fact, the term ―distance learning‖ encompasses the full array of current and emerging technologies organizations are using to deliver educational experiences and products.

Distance learning includes e-learning, texting, social networking, virtual worlds, game-based learning, webinars. It’s the Internet. It’s Google. It’s broadband and satellite and cable and wireless. Corporate universities. Virtual universities. Blended learning, mobile learning. It’s using our phones and computers and whatever technology comes next, in new ways.

Distance learning brings education and training to where students or trainees are connecting their world to worldwide learning communities.

… already making a difference for millions of learners every day Distance learning has advanced nationally and globally to a much higher degree than many people realize. For the 2006-2007 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education reported that An estimated 12.2 million learners registered in college-level credit-granting distance  education courses… Approximately 11,200 college-level programs were designed to be completed totally through  distance education… 66% of the 4,160 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the  nation offered college-level distance education courses… In addition, many more millions of learners are taking advantage of online learning programs offered by K12 institutions, corporate universities, associations and non-profit organizations. For example, More than 2.3 million hours of distributed learning takes place in the U.S. Military every  year o Deployed military personnel are in more remote areas of the world than our U.S. based learner populations o Accountability and quality of this instruction is measured in terms reduced U.S. military casualties and military efficiencies U.S. Nurses complete more than 1.7 million hours of distributed learning every year to  maintain their certifications and enhance their employability o Accountability and quality of this instruction is measured in countless lives saved and patients who regain their health everyday More than 3 million U.S. skilled workers annually complete technical industry certification  courses (programming, database management, network administration, information technology, HVAC, telecommunications, automotive repair, building trades, etc.) through distributed learning.

–  –  –

… critical to American competitiveness In today’s fast-paced global, economic environment — which requires constant innovation, upskilling, and reskilling — lifelong learning is imperative, and distance learning is the only efficient, scalable, sustainable way to build and protect the value of our current and future workforce.

Some historians trace the failure of the Soviet Union to Russia’s pre-revolutionary hesitance to implement a national railroad and highway system. The United States today is similarly at risk of losing economic advantage to nations that are more aggressive and swift in their advance along the Information Superhighway.

In the current Knowledge Economy and Conceptual Age, distance learning arguably also presents our richest opportunities for new business and product innovation. Here is just a tiny sampling of how other nations are using distance learning to obtain competitive advantage.

China now has three of the world’s mega-universities, institutions in which over 100,000  students use largely distance learning methods. Its Ministry of Education is actively promoting innovative forms of distance education and hopes its strategy for promoting lifelong learning will be adopted worldwide… Korea via the Korea Education & Research Information Service with 16 Metropolitan &  Provincial Offices of Education (MPOE) deployed a Learning System model using 16 different Learning Management Systems (LMS’s) to connect 6,147 Cyber Teachers, 1.6 million students and 2,692 parent tutors for an estimated cost savings of $40 billion dollars per year by using the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) (U.S. developed) standard.

Europe is aggressively collaborating to achieve integrated distance learning policy and  infrastructure across the European Union, including working out the issues in cross-national credentialing, and is behind numerous cross-national commissions and summits on distance learning topic… India is home to at least 11 open universities in India providing distance education for those  who are interested in taking up professional courses or any other educational course of their interest, and over 50 distance learning organizations catering to the needs of higher education in India.

Latin America. The Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicacion Educativa (ILCE) is an  international organization comprising 13 countries collaborating to provide distance learning programs throughout Latin America...

Mexico launched the National Online University this Fall and enrolled over 35,000 students  in two weeks… COPYRIGHT © 2009 USDLA PAGE 7 OF 18 P / 3-DEC-09 … already green Distance learning has a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional educational delivery mechanisms and promotes increasingly green enterprise innovation.

Learners and instructors who participate in distance learning travel less often and far. The designers and manufacturers of distance learning products and services are increasingly able to work from home, reducing need for travel and heating and air conditioning office spaces. Digital education products produced by a number of companies are inherently ―paperless‖ and reduce economic and environmental costs of transporting and storing textbooks.

A few interesting statistics include (Survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives):

Global Knowledge prevents more than 4.4 million points of CO2 /month (20 pounds of CO2  equals burning one gallon of gasoline).

Global Knowledge saves more than 200,000 gallons of gas per month  35 percent of organizational travel departments now require carbon emissions information be  provided, up from 20 percent in 2006, 36 percent reported reduced travel as a measure for supporting sustainability, up from 23  percent a year earlier.

Distance Learning supports these green initiatives.

 COPYRIGHT © 2009 USDLA PAGE 8 OF 18 P / 3-DEC-09


… to create millions of great jobs A common myth is that distance learning replaces workers. Actually, as with every major technology innovation, distance learning is creating some of the most interesting, flexible, and rewarding jobs on the planet.

Distance learning requires every type of knowledge worker, and lots of them, from business, technology, and education leaders to professional writers, artists, software engineers, teachers, trainers, sales people, project managers, advertising and marketing specialists, and hundreds of other professions whose names are only now emerging. Distance learning professionals are developing highly transferable skills, frequently able to work from their homes, and producing products that advance our national interests.

… to deliver unique advantages over “old-school” models

Unlike traditional educational models, distance learning:

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