Keraminiyage, Kaushal, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2006) Social aspects associated with modern distance learning programmes. In: CIB W89 International Conference on Building Education and Research (BEAR), 12th April 2006, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.. (Unpublished)

The repositioning of the distance learning as a mode of course delivery is largely backed up by the recent advancements in communication technologies. It is widely visible that the modern Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) tools are being predominantly used within these distance learning environments. Primarily these Computer Mediated Communication tools were often developed with the priority given to address the structural and management issues visible within Distance Learning environments. However, the focus of any teaching or learning mechanism, distance or otherwise, needs to be able to facilitate the learner’s actual learning process. Within traditional learning and teaching environments, social aspects of a classroom setting (e.g. guidance and support, body language, feedback, interactions with other learners etc.,) are regarded as important learning facilities in addition to the traditional audio and visual communication facilities. However, these social aspects have not received adequate consideration in existing distance learning tools and have initiated a very limited number of discussions within the Distance Learning literature.
Further, with specific to construction education, these social aspects may become more desired as the subjects are of a more diversified nature in terms of technological, environmental and management oriented. This paper therefore investigates the case of a DL setting within a construction school in the Higher Education (HE) sector of the UK to identify the extent to which the current Computer Mediated distant learning tools address the wider aspects of supporting a classroom situation during its operation so that appropriate improvements can be made in utilising these tools to deliver construction related distance learning courses.


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