Tetyana Zatonatska
Tomasz Wołowiec
Olga Anisimova


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Language: English
Abstract. The article examines the definition, key models and framework of distance education in the field of higher education. The analysis of the main stages of the development of the distance learning process, the main forms and models of its implementation is carried out. It is defined that distance education is any educational process the teaching of which is conducted mainly by someone remote from the learner in space or time, with the effect that all or most of the communication between teachers and learners is through an artificial medium, either digital or print. The history of distance education can be classified under three ages at the macro level and under five generations at the micro level. These ages and generations were shaped and determined by the dominant communication technologies adopted by distance education. With the advantages and capacity increase offered by technology, interaction became the central focus for distance education. The multimedia used in the previous age had become obsolete when compared to the new, higher quality computer-based multimedia, and synchronous and asynchronous instruction had grown to be as efficient as face-to-face instruction. Three historical approaches to the development of a theory of distance education were identified: theories of autonomy and independence, reflecting the essential component of the independence of the learner; a theory of industriali­zation showing the attempt to view the field of distance education as an industrialized form of teaching and learning and theories of interaction and communication. To illustrate the practical aspects of those theories, four learning concepts such as transactional distance, interaction, learner control, and social presence were introduced. It was established that distance education programs will continue to grow. One of the reasons for this growth is related to the ever growing global need for an educated workforce combined with financial constraints of established educational systems. Distance education offers life-long learning potential to working adults and will play a significant part in educating societies around the world.
Keywords: distance learning, distance education, theory of autonomy and independence, theory of industrialization, theories of interaction and communication.


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