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Monday, 5 September 2011

Transactional distance a changing perspective

a psychological and communication space to be crossed, a space of potential misunderstanding between the inputs of instructor and those of the learner (Moore, 1980)

In preparation for my imminent return to studies at Manchester, I have been re-reading some of the course materials. I love this time of year as it is a great opportunity to revisit ideas and comments made half a year ago and see how similar they are now. It is fascinating to see how ideas have been altered or strengthened based on the praxis of real world application. One such idea hit home with me last week and ties together a number of themes that are running through the DNA of this blog.

I was taking part in an SL session with colleagues from Europe (including UK ) and USA. As the session progressed I was aware more and more of a distance between the participants and myself. Nothing extraordinary there as this space is generally apparent in many online sessions, what I found interesting however, was the fact that my sense of transactional distance was shifting…

I had never felt this in a session before. Initially, the space between the UK participants was there but small. The distance between Brighton and Wyoming was noticeable and apparent to the extent you could almost touch it. Knowing the location and nationality of a person influenced me greatly and I am not sure why! This never happened with the online sessions organised with the University of Manchester.

There is a lot to unpack here and includes ideas about formal / informal learning; a walled garden of education; sense of self online… I am going to reflect on these issues further as the weeks progress and I am really interested to see how my move of
3899.7 miles (6275.9 Km / 3386.5 Nautical miles) will change how I interact with colleagues, friends, in the same arenas as now. Will there be a difference…. Probably…why…. I am not sure…yet:)

Moore, M. G. (1980). Independent study. In R. Boyd & J. Apps (Eds.), Redefining the Discipline of Adult Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 16–31.