In a world where boundaries are being transcended, ideas are converging and countries are becoming global melting pots of culture and genes, there also arises the very real problem of epidemics and socio-cultural clashes that were never faced before in history. This brought about an exploration into the use of distance education technologies for lifestyle change.

Analyzing Obesity Through The Lens Of Distance Education

For example, with a focus on obesity, probing into possible advances using the trans theoretical model, social marketing, and action research as a platform for addressing population scale issues.

Obesity affects over 100 million men, women, and children in North America alone and has reached what health professionals deem to be epidemic proportions. Being overweight can contribute to or cause chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Left unabated, it will lead to the premature death of millions.

Clinical practice relies primarily on individual interventions to bring about lifestyle change. However, this may not be sufficient to reverse the trend on a population scale. Distance education is one area that is seen by some as one of the tools that is capable of reaching such a large audience.

Using a mixed methods case study, a number of distance education tools and technologies were found to be very useful, some that could be promising but will require further study, and still others that don’t offer value and won’t for the foreseeable future.

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Distance Education and The Gender Imbalance In Post-Secondary Education

Another big sector in which distance education is being experimented with, is in the education sphere.  The gender imbalance in post-secondary education will, if not addressed, have serious negative consequences for decades to come.  Even though boys and young men are no less intelligent than females of equivalent age, they exhibit behaviours which contribute to the lower academic attainment in high school and thereby do not qualify for the limited number of spots in brick-and-mortar institutions.

But distance education is an instructional mode which may enable young males to obtain the advanced training required for a knowledge-based economy. Some educators also believe that distance-mode education may offer a satisfactory compromise to the segregation of girls and boys. With limited contact, the distractions that pertain to the typical behaviours of adolescents in contact with the other sex are reduced, but opportunities are still provided for the socialization of these adolescents.

Summary – The Value Of Distance Learning

The true value of distance learning includes: its ability to be consistent over multiple representations of the same course or program, its flexibility in adapting to a wide variety of delivery requirements, particularly with respect to geographical and temporal conditions, and the ease of adapting content to remain current.

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