To try to answer that question is of course very difficult since distance education look different in different countries. There are different perceptions of distance learning, and hence, distance learning will look different in different countries. A generalization, of course, is to say that distance learning is here to stay, given the developments we have seen so far. We have distance learning courses in all sorts of areas and disciplines, in many different countries, and they are open to anyone who wants to apply.

One reason the distance learning will stay and be developed is, according to George Siemens, the fact that online communication has increased, and people are more used to be online and use different tools (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d). We also have corporations that have offices in many places that understand that they can save money by using online communication instead of face-to-face meeting, but also that it saves time to make courses for employees online.

If I take a look at my country, Sweden, and distance education, things look more pessimistic. It has long been a debate whether to keep distance at a higher level since it is perceived as being of poor quality. That perception comes from the low attrition rate in distance courses. A survey were done to investigate the perception of distance education among the people in the Government, and it showed that, in December 2012, it was only 41% who believed that distance learning is of high quality (DN, December 27, 2012). This is interesting since, during the year of 2010, a survey of distance learning in higher education in Sweden was done by the Department of Higher Education, commissioned by the Government of Sweden.

According to the report, distance education is an important part of the lifelong learning. Most of the students are older, have a family life and work that makes it difficult to move to study. The report suggests different reason for the high attrition rate in distance learning. Some students are not interested in the degree, but just want the knowledge, and another reason could have to do with that online courses are not prioritized. More reasons could have to do with technology being a problem, distance course required presence at campus, lack of socialization with other students, or that pedagogic was not as flexible as the student needed. The survey points out what is missing are a good distance pedagogy (Högskoleverket, 2011).

I believe that if distance education in Sweden to have a chance, it needs to have resources invested in several areas, but mostly about pedagogy. The government and universities must recognize the need for people who have knowledge of what is required to make distance learning to work. Universities that have distance learning also need to ensure that you have an organization to take care of support and training, with people who have specialized training for it, as an instructional designer. I can definitely see myself as a person at my university, to help teachers develop their courses for distance and get high quality on them.

References
DN.se (December 27, 2012). Nätstudier på frammarsch. Retrived from http://www.dn.se/ekonomi/natstudier-pa-frammarsch/

Högskoleverket (2011). Kartläggning av distansverksamhetne vid universitet och högskolor. Högskoleverkets rapportserie 2011:2 R. ISSN 1400-948X.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). The Future of Distance Education [DVD]. In Series Title. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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