Facilitating Learner Adjustment to the Distance Learning Environment
A Teaching/Learning Conference addressed the challenge of facilitating learner adjustment to distance learning. By understanding the concerns of both students and faculty regarding the distance learning environment, professional development specialists may find ways to ease the transition from traditional teaching/learning environments to the "virtual environment." Students take distance education courses because of conveniences in time and location. Apprehensive at first, students soon develop coping mechanisms and learning strategies. However, to make this adjustment, they must have supportive faculty who involve them in the learning process as much as possible. Faculty, in turn, must acquire skills that help them adjust to new teaching surroundings and deal with fears regarding interpersonal shortcomings, job security, and the use of new technology. Faculty must realize their integral role in distance education, overcome their fears--which are often magnified in new environments, and develop these skills through training and practice. Distance education guidelines and training components are included in the appendices.