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The Third Circle: On Education and Distance Learning

Jerry Farber
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 41, No. 4, The Academy under Siege (1998), pp. 797-814
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.2307/1389671
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1389671
Page Count: 18
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The Third Circle: On Education and Distance Learning
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Abstract

Has it been demonstrated that distance learning is as effective as face-to-face learning? This paper, proposing a "three circle" model of postsecondary education, argues that measurable competence, though a central component of education, is not in itself an adequate indicator of educational effectiveness. The model, supported by research into educational effects, is discussed in relation to the distinction between semantic memory and episodic memory, and in relation to the role of context in memory. Analysis of a widely-cited summary of 248 studies comparing distance learning and face-to-face learning concludes that these studies, which generally fail to go beyond measurable competence, and fail as well to support the newer interactive technologies commonly associated with distance learning, do not support any transfer of postsecondary education from the classroom to the screen. The limitations of distance learning are discussed in relation to their broader social implications. /// [Spanish] ¿Se ha demostrado que el aprendizaje a larga distancia es tan efectivo como el aprendizaje de interacción individual? Proponiendo un modelo de educación postsecundaria "tres círculos" ("three circle"), este trabajo argumenta que la competencia comparativa, aunque es un componente central de la educación, por sí mismo no es un indicador adecuado de la efectividad docente. El modelo, apoyado en la investigación de los efectos docentes, discute la relación sobre la distinción entre la memoria semántica y la memoria episódica y en relación al papel del contexto en la memoria. A través del análisi de una cita de síntesis extensiva de 248 estudios que comparan el aprendizaje a larga distancia y la interacción individual se concluye que estos estudios, los cuales generalmente fracasan en ver más allá de la competencia comparativa, y fallan también en el apoyo de las nuevas tecnologías interactivas que son comunmente asociadas con el aprendizaje a larga distancia, no respaldan ninguna transferencia de la educación postsecundaria del salón de clase a la pantalla. Las limitaciones del aprendizaje a larga distancia son debatidas en relación a implicaciones sociales mucho más amplias. /// [Chinese] (Unicode for Chinese abstract). /// [Japanese] (Unicode for Japanese abstract).

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