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Introduction To The Guided Distance Learning Mode

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.350.1 - 4.350.13

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Paper Authors

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Laura A. Miller

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Keith A. Miller

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David J. Beebe

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2532

Introduction to the Guided Distance Learning Model Laura A. Miller, Keith A. Miller, David J. Beebe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering / Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering / Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology / The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign / ABRIS Ltd.


The Guided Distance Learning Model presents a distance education course in a style resembling that of a traditional teacher-student discourse. Interaction between students and the instructor is facilitated through electronic mail, a course newsgroup and a chat room. Course material presented via the Mallard Asynchronous Learning Environment, is not designed to replace, but rather to supplement the course textbook just as an instructor might do with lectures in a traditional classroom setting. Graphs and figures from the textbook are clarified using additional text and graphics plus streaming audio. Real-world examples of the material are made available through streaming audio and video, as well as links to relevant web sites and biomedical companies. On-line quizzes allow both the instructor and students to assess comprehension and recognize problem areas. The students’ feedback is immediate, tailored to their response to each question. Students are actively involved in the learning process while being guided through the course material on a deliberate path set by the instructor. Students are able to proceed at their own pace and re-examine difficult material. The Guided Distance Learning Model was recently tested in a Medical Instrumentation course with a group of on-campus students at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Most students (70%) cited technical difficulties as the main problem with the use of the Guided Distance Learning Model. Survey results indicated that adequate interaction took place between the students and the instructor. In addition, the majority of the students surveyed (88%) agreed that the Mallard supplement helped them learn the course material.


Although there is arguably no substitute for an effective in-class lecture, it is not always feasible for students to attend courses at the hours they are scheduled. Distance learning provides an alternative to in-class lecture by accommodating students both on and off campus. Non- traditional students typically have specialized research interests or are located in remote areas. In addition, corporate professionals and employees committed to lifelong learning need access to education that is not constrained by location or time. In the past this type of education took the form of correspondence courses, videotapes and textbooks with very little interaction between the students and their educator. More sophisticated forms of distance education utilize television and computer interfaces for two-way audio and video instruction. Research in this area has shown that a well-planned distance education course could provide students with an education comparable to that of on-site instruction 1,2,3.

Miller, L. A., & Miller, K. A., & Beebe, D. J. (1999, June), Introduction To The Guided Distance Learning Mode Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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