Social and political advances

Social and political advances, the need to train to enter the world of work, the lack of conventional systems adapted to the changes of current life, and the unstoppable growth of the sciences of education and technology have made the development of distance education around the world. Online education systems, like miswebmail,   make the world very easy.

However, distance education has gone through an incredible evolution until reaching what we know today by this concept. Do you want to know what it was like before to study at a distance?/It can be said that it has been since the middle of the 19th century that the history of this teaching modality began. Next we will point out the main historical milestones of distance education.

correspondence education 

With the advent of writing and the invention of the printing press gave way to the emergence of correspondence education. Next, the use of communication media was put to the benefit of education and with this scenario we could already have the start of the modality. These factors, closely related to each other, together with the philosophical theories that eliminated the existence of privileges and allowed knowledge to be a right of all men, supported the development of distance education.

  • At the beginning we talked about socio-political advances. Well, in this sense, there were several interesting events:
  • • The demand for education increased thanks to the overcrowding, the demographic explosion and the democratization of studies. We began to see crowded conventional classrooms that impeded the individual relationship of the teacher with the student.
  • • In addition, the great wars and revolutions prompted some societies directly affected by them to seek new accessible and efficient educational paths.
  • • Some people who lived in areas far from conventional educational centers, especially in rural areas, made up underserved layers of the population without the possibility of having an education. Emigrants, housewives, inmates, hospitalized also fall into this group.Given all this, it became necessary to create institutions available to these groups or adapt existing ones to meet this new demand.

There is an additional factor that is based on the learned idea that it is necessary to learn throughout life. Currently the shared and fairly general idea is that education is not limited to the school period, but that there is always something new to learn. This idea of ​​permanent education marks a new milestone in education and generates a new educational panorama as new situations arise: people who must combine their personal life with study or their work with study, etc. Conventional structures, definitely, could no longer respond to this idea.

 additional factor  

We had said that another of the factors that gave rise to distance education was the advancement of the science of education. Indeed, more planning was started and methodology was emphasized, where the teacher, at adult study levels, no longer has such a relevant role because people prefer personal, more reflective and individual learning.

 Along with this advance in human thought and in the opening of the range of ways of learning, technological transformations arise. These make it possible to reduce the distance. Technical advances occur both in the area of ​​communication and in computing, with recording equipment, text transmission, etc. However, all this development can be divided into three parts:

1) Correspondence teaching

This type of education was born at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, after the development of the printing press and the postal service. Some training programs proposed a written text (sometimes handwritten) that was sent by mail to the students, thus trying to reproduce a normal face-to-face class in written form. They soon realized that this type of learning was quite difficult because it was not accompanied by student help guides, nor did it have exercises, evaluations, etc.

 The relationship of the student with his study center was too basic and, therefore, the figure of the teacher began to be rethought more towards an idea of ​​a counselor who could give answers by mail to the students’ doubts, in addition to correcting the evaluations and returning corrected completed work. The contact between the student and the teacher was thus established, although not in person. In England, in the year 1840, Isaac Pitman created a shorthand system that allowed the exchange of information with cards for students. 

This fact can be considered as the beginning of two-way communication within distance education. Around 1830, with the birth of the telegraph and later, in 1876, with the invention of the telephone, distance communication began to be used verbally. As early as 1856, the French professor Charles Toussaint and the German Gustav Langenscheidt gave their foreign language classes by correspondence for the first time and founded the first institute of this type in the world. The ticker, created in 1910,This stage was undoubtedly the longest of all. Next, new technologies promote more modern and effective forms of distance learning.

2) Multimedia education

At the end of the sixties the British Open University was created and this date is taken as a reference for distance education with multimedia elements. Radio and television were already present in the vast majority of homes in Europe, thus creating an environment prone to the use of new media for education. The written text, the fundamental basis of learning since always, began to be supported by audiovisual resources such as cassettes, slides, videocassettes. 

The telephone was already used so that the tutor or teacher could communicate with the students, etc. In this second stage, the traditional concept of class is already broken, because the possibilities of interaction without attending a classroom are multiplied remarkably thanks to the design and production of teaching materials that each time improves more and more.

3) Distance education today

Although in recent years distance education has also changed, it can be said that the stage of telematics teaching is also the current one. This third generation of distance education began in the 1980s with the evolution of informatics and flexible computer-assisted teaching programs. 

A later moment is the one in which he begins to work through virtual campuses, something that did not exist at first.Although all these advances cannot be dated exactly, it is true that at present, they can all occur, although it is proven that telematics education that makes use of all the technological tools that modernity put at our disposal, is the most effective for the students.

Distance university

The distance university systems that are now so common originate in the United States in the 1960s and in the 1970s they reached England and therefore Europe. It was from the creation of the university extension movements that distance education began at university levels. The idea that classes can also be taught to those students who do not have the facility to go to class became more prevalent, so there began to be a growing group of free students who registered at the University but studied independently and then take exams at the same University. 

This system was adopted by the University of London, although the teaching it imparted was given by outside institutions, authorized by them but autonomously, although later the students had to take an exam at the university headquarters. In Spain, in the year 1962, the radiophonic Baccalaureate stage began and in 1968, it became the National Institute of Middle Distance Education.

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