The Birth Of Distance Learning
The World Wide Web has been used for many purposes since it was created by academics to support military research and logistics. At first it was solely the realm of academics and military strategists. Then over time it became a source for gathering vast amounts of information and providing that to select individuals and companies. But the introduction and rapid expansion of personal office and home computers with Internet access quickly changed the Web's focus to commerce and communication. Almost overnight the Internet became a primary tool for communication, not only from the experts, but between ordinary people as well. And of course, the amount of information available grew as fast as the number of users.
So what you ended up with was vast amounts of information and the ability to communicate back and forth with people all over the world. The natural result was a need to try and bring the people together with the information and the World Wide Web was the perfect means to accomplish that task. Like many other aspects of the digital revolution this interaction was at first limited to the experts and academics themselves but a personal home computer and Internet access forced the academics to open up this process. After a while some of them realized that if the technology and interest existed, then why not utilize them to help people become better educated. So they tried offering a few basic distance learning programs online through various academic institutions and what they found was that the public's appetite for distance learning was almost insatiable.
Women who were at home caring for their children still wanted to get a better education. Veterans returning home from foreign wars and assignments wanted to upgrade their skills to build a new life after service to their country. People who lived in remote areas or lacked the ability to travel to larger university or college centers wanted access to the benefits of a higher education.
Even people who were already in the workforce wanted to improve their skills or learn new ones to compete for better jobs and a better future. The result was an explosion of opportunities and programs that offered distance learning designed to meet this growing demand. Today millions of Americans are benefiting from this new way of learning and even getting an online degree by studying and learning online. They are fulfilling their dreams and building better lives for themselves no matter where they live or even how old they are.
Distance learning may be phenomena of the Internet age but it is clearly rooted in the simple desire of human beings to learn and improve themselves. In the long run that's a very good thing, not just for the individual, but for our country and the whole world. .
By: Jeff Slokum
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