University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Good afternoon everybody.

It is always our desire as higher ed Web people to be understood by others through our Web offerings and provisions. We are moving ever forward in attempts to further improve our Web site.

A piece of that is to abandon college jargon and become more understandable to our audience.

According to what you have experienced and/or researched, which term is the most understood by users to describe distance learning? Is it distance learning, online learning, eLearning or something else?

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I would say that Online Learning conveys a CMS, whereas Distance learning can include online learning, but can also be face-to-face at a distance. It all depends on what sort of educational program you are referencing.
I have been in search of student reaction to "distance learning". Do they know what it means or is it confusing? Is there a better term for "distance learning"? We have gone with distance learning without considering that until a student said she didn't know what it meant and wouldn't have taken it to mean online classes, telecourses, etc. I just wanted to see what others thought about this.
I used to work at a completely distance learning university. Our research showed, to the chagrin of our executive and marketing folks, that "correspondence" was the term most of our students most associated with what we did even though very little of what we did was via traditional mail. They understood "Distance Learning" and "Distance Education". We opted to use "Distance Learning" in most of our materials.
Thanks! All of these comments are very helpful.
Ya know, I had totally blacked-out the Correspondence School term. But IMHO, that term has gone the way of those schools.

I dare you to find anyone under 40 that would even know the term "Correspondence School", let alone the definition.

Distance Learning is also on the way out I think, with Online Learning taking its place. There are still hybrid systems (my employer included) that use both online and face-to-face in a blended manner that will always need the moniker "Distance Learning", but I think most programs that are totally online have moved away from the "Distance Learning" term.
One way to be a little more scientific about determining which phrase best connects with your audience is to look at search traffic and see what people are searching for. There are a lot of tools that can help with this.. one that comes to mind is Google Trends - http://google.com/trends
Thanks for the info. I know that this can give us an idea, and just as each country seems to have its own stats, I bet different regions in North America would have different results.

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