In less than 20 years distance learning has morphed from mail based correspondence to electronic delivery, teaching just about anything. Today, thanks to eLearning, many on-line courses (accredited and otherwise) are available for a variety of programs from a number of institutions worldwide.
Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, before the dawn of widespread eLearning, distance education was accomplished by offering courses by mail. The method was simple: design a hard copy course materials package that was sent by the postal service to the student to read and do assignments. The students completed the assignments and returned them in the mail to the instructor. Programs varied from public school K-12 to accredited institutions. Enrollment was small compared to traditional classroom learning.
I took high school French by correspondence in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, I took AutoCAD and instrumentation courses through SAIT by correspondence. At both times I was in a remote community with no local learning center for adults. Correspondence education was one of the few options to learn without leaving the community.
Am not sure if there are many courses delivered in this manner today!
eLearning Experience Today
I am enrolled in the Vancouver Community College as an on-line student for PIDP 3100 and PIDP 3250. These are credit courses for the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program. My goal is to complete the diploma in about 12 months.
Not all courses are available online. For example, the program that I teach is not available online in British Columbia. The students are trades apprentices, and the program has a mandatory attendance policy.