Learning Without a Real Teacher – From Correspondence to Tablet

It has always been a real problem. So many people in so many places want to get an education. They want to better themselves. They want to get a better job. They want to have access to opportunities once only afforded to the privileged. They want to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and be proactive about life. These people have ambition and drive. They dream about a better future for themselves and do something about it.

But there is a problem. It has always been there and doesn’t look like it will suddenly disappear. What’s the problem? Not everyone has access to a school, a college, or a university. Not everyone can get educated by a real, human teacher, in a real, physical classroom. So, what’s the solution? What have enterprising people been doing about this?

As far back as the 1800’s, people were learning from a distance, without a teacher. How? They were called ‘correspondence courses’ and one learned by ‘correspondence’ – by mail. The “tried and true” postal service delivered coursebooks to those who had the energy, drive and determination to plough through the material on their own, with no other guidance – and no teacher. Then came radio, and then came TV. As each media type developed and flourished, it was utilized for providing educational content – without learning in the presence of a real teacher in a real classroom. Distance courses grew. Computers and internet came along, and voila – a plethora of online courses and colleges sprung up. Distance learning was here to stay.

Now it is the turn of mobile devices. What can’t be taught face-to-face for everyone who wants an education is now being deployed on mobile phones and especially tablets. Distance learning has gone from mail to radio to TV to computers to phones and tablets. So, learning without a real teacher isn’t so new. It’s just the media and the way we learn that keeps on changing!

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