Supported (Hybrid, Blended) Distance Learning

In a post to the National Institute for Literacy Technology discussion list on July 16th, 2003, http://www.nifl.gov/nifl-technology/2003/0217.html I wrote:

The term “distance learning (DL),” for many people, suggests
correspondence courses, video broadcasts, or more recently independent
web-based courses. This is what some, Jere Johnston for example, call
“pure distance learning.” Hybrid distance learning or “supported
distance learning (SDL)” (Lennox McLendon used “supported distance
learning” in a discussion on the NLA e-list a couple of years ago and I
have used it since) is something different. It is a combination of
real-time learning, usually face-to-face but not always in the same
room (e.g. videophone has been used in Delaware’s adult high school
diploma program,) and independent, asynchronous learning, which is
provided by videotape, TV broadcast, the Web, computer software, and/or
print materials. The face-to-face instruction with a teacher or
tutor provides the “support,” makes pure distance learning into a
hybrid model. Supported distance learning is, of course, for people
who cannot, for a variety of reasons attend classes. But it is also
for those who do attend classes but want more instruction (greater
“intensity of instruction”) than is available through their class-based
learning. Supported distance learning can be provided by schools,
education programs, and higher education but it can also be offered by
companies and other employers, organized labor, libraries, and other
organizations.

Given the long ESL/ESOL waiting lists in many parts of the U.S. (L.A.,
Boston, New York, and in other cities and towns) it seems to me that we
should consider ESL/ESOL which may be provided in this innovative way
as one way to help us reduce waiting lists. But we also need to look
at how effective DL or SDL is — for whom, and under what circumstances
it is and is not effective, and how much it costs to deliver it
effectively.

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