As opposed to e-learning or blended learning, the distance learning involves a direct and constant contact between a learner and a trainer through various communication means, such as telephone or a visio-conferencing tool. It can be taken individually, one-on-one or in small group. The setting is a traditional classroom with modern communication tools.
Often, distance learning is associated with freelance teacher, as a convenient way for both learner and trainer to benefit from each other through a distance. Consequently, this implies also a feel of a lesser quality or rigor in the learning process, and will definitely highlight the personal relation between both.
General perception from professionals and individual, don’t give much credit to distance learning, and always resort to very traditional method such as the class setting and face-to-face tutoring.
The Linguaid study of 2012 highlight the potential of distance learning, with very little application in real life. Despite this conclusion, there is an obvious need to bridge the gap between traditional method and distance learning, and it is strongly link to the development of new communication technologies.
Few attempts with limited success with Skype are made. Unfortunately this tool poses a certain number of limitations. The most important, being its high consumption of bandwidth, making it difficult to use in countries where the connection is limited. Due to this technicality, majority of the companies don’t allow its use for obvious reasons, denying distance-learning access to employees.
Distance Learning through telephone is neither new technology nor methodology, and has been use for decade by several language centers around the globe. But this method suffers from an “old style“ image, despite its efficiency, as it forces the learner to focus on two key aspect of a language, listening and speaking.
Our era of ever growing new technology provides us with increasing number of communication ways. In the pas 20 years, the mobile technology went from the walkie-talkie type of mobile, to a smartphone that condense in less than a centimeter thickness, all the technology we would have dreamed of only 10 years ago.
It is then absolutely legitimate for the learning sector to evolve with its era. People are spending a tremendous amount of time holding and staring at their smartphone and tablet, looking for everything they need, want and wish for. Bringing language learning through this mean is an obvious step in the industry, as it follows the learner’s way.