As you create distance materials, you may have to walk this fine line between structure and control. Instructors want to provide structure, which typically reduces learners' anxiety, but instructors also must respect the fact that the learners are typically adults and want to maintain aspects of control about their educational experiences. Some suggestions to strike this balance are to:
Although the suggestions to deal with structure vs. control issues are easy to understand, balancing these two issues is quite difficult. Take some time and think about these questions as if you were the learner:
How much structure do
you want in these distance destinations in which you’re participating?
Is there too much structure? Not enough?
In this course, do you feel like you’re being treated like an adult?
You probably have a strong opinion about this. Now, start thinking like a creator of distance materials. You have to develop a course/lesson/module that will support people who are just like you, BUT also for people who aren’t like you. Some of the individuals using materials you design will be stronger learners and want less structure and more control, while others will be weaker learners, desiring more structure and less control. These are extremely tough design and instructional decisions to make. Here you should begin by relying on an audience analysis and your past distance education experiences (or the experiences of colleagues who have developed distance education courses) to determine what is appropriate for your distance course.
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