Does Technology Improve Distance Learning

The implementation of technology for distance learning enhances both the convenience and availability of education of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) learners.  As access to high speed internet continues to grow, post-secondary administrators and EMS educators are increasing the number of educational courses as well as other offerings via distance learning.  The availability of this tool extends educational opportunities to provide access for new groups of pre-hospital responders who might not have had the opportunity without it.  Distance learning technologies for education that include self-paced videos, interactive case studies, patient simulations, as well as online assessment tools, helps to add to the availability of educational opportunities for students and their teachers.               

Concurrent with the explosive interest and use of online and distance learning, the call for accountability of effectiveness continues to increase.  Research indicates that distance learning does provide a viable medium of education.  In 1996, Jearld Schutte published a report on his use of computer technology in some of his sociology classes.  Shutte observed that students in his online class scored 20% better than those that attended his face to face classes (Nilson, 1998).  It is imperative to remember that distance learning is much more involved than simply posting some Powerpoints and documents online for your students to read.  In order for it to be the most effective, it must integrate audio, video as well as interactivity for both the student as well as the educator.  In 2009, the National Association of Schools and Public Affairs and Administration required “engage in ongoing assessment of student learning for all universal required competencies, all mission-specific required competencies and all elective (option, track, specialization, or concentration) competencies” (NASPAA, 2012, p. 30).

Author Bill Young is the program director of the EKU Emergency Medical program. CAAHEP-accredited since 1978, EKU offers top quality degree programs in emergency medical care.

References

National Association of Schools and Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). (2012).

Self-Study Instruction . Retrieved from  http://www.naspaa.org

Nilson, L. B. (1998). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. Bolton, MA: Anker.

Published on May 24, 2016