There’s No Such Thing as Distance Learning

Web tools are eliminating the idea of Distance Education:

In 1779 Thomas Jefferson proposed a two track educational system with different tracks, his words for, “the laboring and the learned.” Scholarship would allow a very few of the laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, by “raking a few geniuses from the rubbish.” The distance in learning was designed to wedge an intellectual and institutional gap between the minds of those that worked with their backs for a living and those that worked with their mind. Frederick Douglass said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” The messy truth of the history of the US is that it needs mindless workers. The result of mindfully learned individuals could result in a revolt against an oppressive government.

Amy Collier gave a TEDx talk and posits that access, quality, inequity and relevance are the driving issues in education. The fact that only certain people have traditionally been able to access the resources, outlets, and support institutionally has been the number one leading cause for the idea of distance in learning. Why should there be distance in learning? There is certainly more than distance to time and space. Simonson would agree that distance can mean “…possible intellectual distance”, (2015, p.9).

There are two ideas that need to be taken away from all of this. The first, since Thomas Jefferson who is one of the founding fathers of the US and Public Education, had thus devalued the organic learning process by segregating access, quality, equity, and relevance, the public needs to decide what to do about these injustices and then determine what is the best course (pun intended) of action would be. The second, this is the information age and Weapons of Mass Distraction are on everyone’s desktop. The wedge is still there even in the age of information. Mark Burgess writes, “…information is not truly knowledge until someone relevant has a relationship to it,” (2015).

The Agricultural and Manufacturing Ages in the US have passed. In the Information Age, the world is a smaller place. Everything is becoming more globalized through technology and the world wide web. However, what is the value of knowledge? How does knowledge effect learning? What are people learning? How does what they are learning effecting how they perform? The US is still as capitalist as it has been since Jefferson. “Key motivating factors for corporate e-learning are predominantly economic… unfortunately in many e-learning implementations, effectiveness is either naively assumed or not particularly valued… more cynical practitioners observed that it often seems that managers or customers care only about the appearance of training.”(Moller, et. al., 2008).

The true worth of learning throughout the history of the US has been divided and devalued. Learning has always been and will become evermore critical. However, traditional education methods and processes have sacrificed organic learning for capital gains. The concepts of education, learning, training, knowledge, and information have been purposely muddled with devilish intent. Every individual person will have increased access to a world of information and it is the value and the purpose of learning. Those that design learning experience must realize, “interactive, real-time, on-demand, learner-centered, authentic and learner-constructed environments will characterize the educational environment of the future. Ultimately, the concept of distance will disappear as insignificant, and the idea of interaction will replace it,” (Simonson, p. 26).

This is an illustration of the future of what used to be Distance Learning:



Burgess, M. (2015). In Search of Certainty: The science of our information infrastructure. Segastopal, CA: O’Riley Media.

Collier, A. (Writer). (2013, June 20). The Brave New World of Online Learning: Amy Collier at TEDxStanford [Video file]. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from

Frederick Douglass Quotes (Author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass). (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2017, from

Historical Timeline of Public Education in the US. (2015, October 08). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008, September). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications for Instructional Design on the Potential of the Web. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12)

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education).

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education










Scope Creep is like…


Understanding scope creep is like understanding what happens when a middle age man decides to quit his job and change careers as a project to afford his family and himself a better living. To make things even more challenging for this gentleman, he is newly married and has a young son aged 2. He had just recently suffered a heart attack and is recovering satisfactorily but the stress of such sudden lifestyle changes is taking a toll. Oh yes, he has just moved back to Ohio from Florida and has not found a place to stay yet. But his project is to use his education to find better pay to get his family and his own life back on track.


When this guy first set out, he knew he needed to change careers but didn’t know what it would involve and how much he’d have to sacrifice. All of those setbacks and interruptions that he would have to endure to successfully complete the project of becoming an Instructional Designer with a Master’s of Science and Technology were not prevalent until he started to under take the tasks in the project. The more time he put in the more time was being demanded from his wife and son. His health was different now and he had to exercise and eat differently. His sleeping patterns changed, suddenly he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to just have blocks of uninterrupted time to understand new concepts and complete objectives like he could in undergraduate school.


Scope creep on a project is like this man that did not consider all of the different things that could go wrong and did not have any contingencies set up for himself or his family at first. But then as graduation neared opportunities for work increased and the sacrifices began to seem like they were all worth it. In the end, scope creep are the unexpected things that make completing a project difficult, or darn near impossible. Keys to dealing with scope creep start with resilience and ultimately hinge on resourcefulness. If this guy can complete this project not only will it be miraculous, but it will also show that when scope creep is inevitable it can be dealt with, even during the craziest moments.


To manage the situation better perhaps the gentleman could’ve waited for a better time to quit or for his family to be at a better point in their lives. However, from the way he saw it, things weren’t going to get better until he finished the project, in spite of any creepage.