Distance learning is a way of learning anytime and in anyplace, many times referred to as e-learning. The demand for distinct learning is continually increasing across all age groups. Because of the high demand and wide speared availability of distance learning it is important that digital immigrant feel accommodated and confident they too can be successful in a distance learning environment. Digital immigrants are those who were not born into a day and age of computer games, email, the Internet, online shopping, cell phones and cyber everything. However, at some point in their lives these digital immigrants have adopted many of these new technologies into their lives to some extent. Digital natives have always know life to involve technology, in turn their thinking and processing is different due to a innate reliance on technology. In education as well as in most other aspects of life, digital immigrants and digital natives should be able to systematically use technology to make life experience easier and less hectic. Like with any new skill, those less familiar will require more training. Therefore, in the case of distance learning, tutorials would serve as a modification to assist digital immigrant. With proper training and support digital immigrant can and will achieve the same degree of success as digital natives, just as cultural immigrants and cultural natives are capable of achieving equal success.
According to Pensky (2011), Digital wisdom is a twofold concept, referring both to wisdom arising from the use of digital technology to access cognitive power beyond our innate capacity (knowing how to digitally enhance the capacities of the brain) and to wisdom in the prudent use of technology to enhance our capabilities (using the digitally enhanced capacities to find better solutions to the practical problems we face). Digital wisdom can be accomplished through digital learning by imbedding two components into the learning process. First, it is necessary to imbed training and tutorials in any distance learning environment. These tutorials will be beneficial to both digital immigrant and digital natives. Tutorials serve as a period of instruction beyond the content. The tutorials would focus on the digital component of distance learning. Second, a human contact via face-to-face, telephone or email would be a necessary component for success. When a digital immigrant has a question, concern or needs to have any of the digital components more clearly articulated communication with the instructor is hugely helpful. Two-way communication and regular feedback will empower students from all digital backgrounds.
Distance learning can incorporate passion and empathy between and among the instructor and all students by making the digital learning class environment feel more welcoming and safe. Passion for learning and passion for trying new and exciting things is a true motivator for learners of all ages. Using technology in an effective and meaningful ways is great way to evoke passion in student while digging deeper into curriculum and core content. Try creating a blog or wiki or even create a QR code to showcase student work. Empathy is the most humanist quality of an educational experience. Empathy is how one truly understands the feeling of others. Technology can enhance many aspect of education, but empathy is the one aspect that cannot be replaced by an app or a digital device. However, with carful attention empathy can be establishing though distance learning activities. Such activities include personalized introduction letters from the teacher or professor, video clips of class lecture and words or encouragement embedded in the LMs. Finally, as a professional one should always analyze and reflect after a lesson, unit or course and come to an end. Through this reflection and analysis you will become more in touch with successes and obstacles.
Kelly, R. (2009). Seven Easy Ways to Personalize Your Online Course – Faculty Focus. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/seven-easy-ways-to-personalize-your-online-course/
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon (MCB University Press), 9(5). Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky – Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants – Part1.pdf
Prensky, M. (2012). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning, 67-85. doi:10.4135/9781483387765.n6