Dr. Carla Lane, Ed.D., will present Reducing Transactional Distance Through Instructional Design Strategies and Mentoring/Coaching at the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) National Conference, April 27th, 2015, St. Louis.
Transactional Distance contributes to the online learners’ sense of isolation. The physical distance is overpowered by the emotional and interaction distance from instructors, peers, content, and the institution’s administration. Research is contributing to new instructional design strategies that reduce transactional distance which include active mentoring/coaching by instructors.
The results of several instructional design research studies will be presented.
Discussion of instructional design strategies that may reduce transactional distance.
A model will be presented to reduce transactional distance that is based on new instructional design strategies using an instructor who functions as a mentor/coach and utilizes situational coaching,
According to Lane, transactional distance is defined as a separation caused by the distance between the learner and the sources of learning in an online environment. It is quite different from the traditional classroom and works well with the Andragogical theory of adult learning. Instructional design strategies have been developed over the years to create a sense of community between learners and instructors. Yet, there are other components in the presentation of content which include the student work with content, collaboration with peers, and the policies put in place by the administration to govern the entire environment. Too often transactional distance is seen as only content based.
In fact, the environment is largely controlled by the instructor/facilitator. When acting in the role of the mentor/coach to individual students, the instructor/facilitator can individualize the entire learning environment for the student and thus reduce the transactional distance. Of course, instructors cannot manage individualized plans for large groups of students and so advanced instructional design strategies should be embedded in the course to contribute to the reduction of transactional analysis. The combination of the instructional design strategies and the instructor/facilitator acting as mentor/coach brings a new dimension to the online learning environment. Students feel that the environment has been customized for them and it becomes learner-centric in the strongest sense.
Several research studies have been conducted recently that focused on the instructional design methods that were defined as being most appropriate to effectively address the reduction of transactional distance in online learning environments. The strategies presented will cover learners and peers; learners and the instructor; learner autonomy and transactional distance; instructional design and transactional distance; and relevancy of transactional distance. All of these led to a greater satisfaction by the learner with the online learning environment.