Distances et savoirs.

Volume 5 – n° 3/2007, pages 427 à 458
ENTRETIENS ET CONFÉRENCES

“The Theories and the Theorists:
Why Theory is Important for Research”

With Børje Holmberg — Michael Graham Moore
Otto Peters

Ulrich Bernath
Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in Open and Distance Learning
Wichelnstrasse 27a, 26122 Oldenburg
Ulrich.bernath@uni-oldenburg.de

Martine Vidal
Cned, Direction générale
2 boulevard Nicephore Niepce
Téléport 2, BP 80300
F-86963 Futuroscope-Chasseneuil cedex
martine.vidal@cned.fr
English text follows next page
Distances et savoirs, fidèle à sa mission de mémoire et d’exploration, a souhaité
que ses lecteurs assistent, certes avec bien des distances notamment linguistiques, à
une conférence remarquable qui amenait à dialoguer trois des personnalités ayant
le plus profondément influencé la recherche sur l’enseignement à distance ces
dernières décennies : Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, et Otto Peters
1
.
Pour des raisons pratiques l’ensemble des propos édités sont dans la langue des
interventions, seul le professeur Michael Graham Moore s’exprimant dans sa
langue maternelle.
Le quatrième « atelier de recherche » du réseau European Distance and E-
learning Network (EDEN), sur le thème « Recherches sur l’enseignement à distance
en ligne et sur le e-learning : créer la différence » s’est tenu à Castelldefels,
Espagne, du 25 au 26 octobre 2006. Un des moments mémorables de cet atelier fut
la session spéciale à laquelle participaient les professeurs Børje Holmberg, Michael
Graham Moore, et Otto Peters, intitulée : « Théories et théoriciens : pourquoi la
théorie importe-t-elle pour la recherche ? » Une transcription spécialement éditée
pour Distances et savoirs en est présentée ici.

1. Les biographies des professeurs Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, et Otto Peters se
trouvent en fin de texte.
428 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
Cette session était structurée afin que chacun de ces trois représentants majeurs
des théories concernant l’enseignement à distance s’expriment sur les questions
suivantes :
– une première question « qu’est-ce qu’une théorie ? » fut posée, avec la requête
que chaque intervenant ne parle pas plus de cinq minutes,
– Holmberg, Moore et Peters ont alors exprimé leurs vues concernant leur
propre théorie,
– il fut ensuite demandé à chacun d’entre eux de faire part de leurs réflexions
concernant les implications de leurs théories respectives pour la recherche sur
l’enseignement à distance en ligne et pour le e-learning, ainsi que pour le
développement des théories dans le domaine de l’enseignement à distance, en
évoquant les perspectives qu’ils envisageaient pour de futurs développements. Il ne
fut accordé que cinq minutes à chacun pour ces différents points,
– les auditeurs furent alors invités à une discussion générale et les intervenants
à conclure leurs propos.
Ulrich Bernath, ancien directeur du Centre pour l’enseignement à distance à
l’Université d’Oldenburg, Allemagne, et à présent Directeur de la « Fondation
Ulrich Bernath pour la recherche en Enseignement Ouvert et à Distance » et Albert
Sangra Directeur d’EduLab, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, à l’Université
Ouverte de Catalogne (UOC) présidaient la session. Martine Vidal, co-rédactrice
en chef de Distances et savoirs, et Ulrich Bernath en ont édité la transcription ; des
références ont été ajoutées par les intervenants.
DOI:10.3166/DS.5.427-458 © Cned/Lavoisier


The 4
th
EDEN Research Workshop on “Research into Online Distance Education
and E-Learning: Making the Difference” was held in Castelldefels/Spain,
October 25-26, 2006. A special session with Professors Børje Holmberg, Michael
Graham Moore, and Otto Peters on “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is
Important for Research” was a memorable programme highlight. An edited transcript
of their contributions shall be presented here.
The session was structured. Each of the three outstanding representatives of
distance education theory spoke to the following:
– at first the question “What is a theory?” was raised with the wish to not exceed
five minutes each;
– then Holmberg, Moore, and Peters provided insight into their respective theory;
– finally each of them was asked to reflect on the implications of their respective
theory on research into online distance education and e-learning as well as the
development of theories in the field in distance education with an outlook into future
developments. Only five minutes were given to each for reflecting on these various
issues;
Entretiens et conférences 429
– after all the audience was invited for a discussion, and the panellists for
concluding remarks.
Ulrich Bernath, former Director of the Center for Distance Education at
Oldenburg University/Germany and now Director of the Ulrich Bernath Foundation
for Research in Open and Distance Learning, and Albert Sangrà, Director of
EduLab, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, at Universidade Oberta de Catalunya
(OUC) chaired the session. Martine Vidal, chief editor of Distances et savoirs, and
Ulrich Bernath edited the transcript; references have been added by the panellists.
On “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is Important for Research”
with Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, and Otto Peters
The 4
th
EDEN Research Workshop on “Research into Online Distance
Education and E-Learning: Making the Difference” was held in Castelldefels/Spain,
October 25 – 26, 2006. A special session with Professors Børje Holmberg, Michael
Graham Moore, and Otto Peters on “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is
Important for Research” was a memorable programme highlight. An edited
transcript of their contributions shall be presented here.
1 - At first the question “What is a theory?” was raised with the wish to not exceed
five minutes each
Børje Holmberg on “What is a theory”
Scholarly theories imply a systematic ordering of ideas about the phenomena of
our field of inquiry and are usually of two kinds. One is concerned with
understanding, the other with explanation and prediction. Basically Moore’s and
Peters’ theories are of the former kind, mine of the second.
Peters regards distance education as an industrialised type of teaching and
learning. He has shown that it is characterised by rationalizing, division of work
between several cooperating people, mechanising, planning, organisation,
production-line work, mass production etc. This is his description and understanding
of distance education.
Moore regards transactional distance as the generally descriptive feature of
distance education, on the basis of which distance education functions.
‘Transactional Distance is the gap of understanding and communication between the
teachers and learners caused by geographic distance that must be bridged through
distinctive procedures in instructional design and the facilitation of interaction’
(Moore and Kearsley 2005 p. 223). Here again we have a theory attempting to
describe and understand the concept of distance education.
430 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
My theory is of a different kind. It implies that the application of a
methodological approach - empathy-creating conversational style – leads to
increased motivation to learn and better results than conventional presentation of
learning matter. This is a predictive theory that generates inter-subjectively testable
hypotheses which can be – and have been - empirically tested (Holmberg B.,
Schuemer R. and Obermeier 1982, and Holmberg B. 2003)
This is not to say that Moore’s and Peters’ approaches are devoid of predictive
elements or that mine does not contribute to the understanding of distance education.
Nevertheless it places our theoretical approaches in their basic categories. These
categories were, as far as I know, first identified by Droysen in 1858 and later
described by Wilhelm Dilthey (cf. Bollnow 1967).
Otto Peters on “What is a theory”
I should like to answer this question on a more basic line. Quite often it is useful
to go back to the etymology of the word. It was already in use by philosophers in
antiquity. The Greek word theorein meant to look upon, to observe, to consider,
to contemplate; and the noun theoría meant looking at, looking more closely,
observation, consideration, insight and scientific contemplation. The goal of these
activities was to ascertain truth. The basic meaning of the word is still valid and
underpins most of our modern definition of theory, including the theories conveyed
by the members of this panel.
If we examine present-day theories it is easy to see that their general goal is to
accomplish an understanding of reality. The possible functions of theory can be
indicated by stating that they can be basically descriptive, analytical or explanatory,
and to a certain degree predictive as well, and inherently prescriptive. A theory is a
unit of knowledge that comprises facts, assumptions and hypotheses. This unit shows
how facts can be subordinated to general principles or laws and how they relate to
them. A scientific theory must be consistent with the facts, otherwise it is mere
fiction. Theories can be verified by experiments or by methodological observation.
Usually theories focus on one selected aspect of a phenomenon under consideration.
This means that several or even many theories can be constructed dealing with the
same phenomenon. The reason for this is that the originators of theories have
different purposes in mind, and different outlooks. Hermeneutics can help us in
developing a theory as well as interpreting the results of its verification.
“Theoretical inquiry is central to the vitality and development of a field of
practice – not to mention its recognition and credibility from those not yet initiated
into the field. The theoretical foundations of a field describe and inform the practice
and provide the primary means to guide future developments” (Garrison, 2000). It
influences practice and research, reveals new knowledge and suggests alternatives.
Entretiens et conférences 431
Let me conclude with two definitions, one is by McMillan and Schumacher
(1984, 11): a “theory is an explanation, a systematic account of relationships among
phenomena”, and the other by Garrison (2000): a “theory is a coherent and
systematic ordering of ideas, concepts and models, with a purpose of constructing
meaning to explain, to interpret, to shape practice”.
Michael Graham Moore on “What is a theory?”
In response to the question of what we believe theory to be, I am on record as
saying that all that is published in the field, is the theory of the field … I’ve
compared theory to a map. A map summarizes what is known and it shows what is
not known. The principal value of the theory, the knowing what is known, for us
people who aspire to research, is in so far as the theory indicates the areas for further
exploration, for further inquiry. I would go so far as to suggest that without theory
there cannot be research; there can be number counting, data gathering, but there
cannot be research without theory.
Finally to further illustrate the point as the reviewer of journal articles, I find that
the most common reason for rejection is that people provide data without theory, in
other words they don’t say what is already known before they describe what they have
discovered. It is like going on a journey without a map. Students, unless advised
otherwise, are very anxious to go gather data without adequately establishing why that
data is important, in other words providing the theory. The theory can be provided
through an extensive review of literature or, on occasions, one can refer to a summary
that has acquired authority over the years. I would not advise a student to explain from
literature why distance education is like an industrial model. He or she need only say “I
am going to start off on the basis of Peters’ theory”. Taxonomies are examples of a
summary of literature that can be offered as theory. So the theory is the statement of
what is known as the prelude for research that is discovering what is not known.
2. - Then Holmberg, Moore, and Peters provided insight into their respective
theory
Børje Holmberg on his theory of the empathetic teaching-learning conversation
I’ll start with how it started. It is a very naïve story, very, very simple. In the
early 1940’s I saw a correspondence course in French which fascinated me. It taught
the student the simple things that beginners have to fight with in French, for example
the order in which the personal pronouns are placed in French: “je lui ai écrit une
lettre, je la lui ai écrite,, je l’ai envoyée, il me l’a dit etc. etc”. And this was done in
such a way that the author made the students follow his presentation; it was a sort of
conversation with the student, it was not a teacher talking to students, it was a
teacher talking with students. I thought it was fascinating to see that such a dreary
432 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
subject could be dealt with in this way, with what I called a conversational way. That
was my first observation.
Then at a very early stage – I mentioned the idea in a book of mine of 1960 – it
struck me on the one hand that many distance-education courses were little more
than school books with self-checking exercises and recurring tasks for submission to
the distance-teaching organisation, on the other hand that the atmosphere and style of
helpful face-to-face teaching could easily replace this schoolbook style in the way
the author of the French course had done. It is generally accepted that friendly
atmosphere, helpful suggestions and encouragement support study motivation and
facilitate success. This led me to the very natural conclusion that if we cater for this
empathetic approach in distance education the outcomes of the study will improve.
The medium used to bring about empathy is normally friendly conversation. This is
the very simple background of my theory of teaching-learning conversations in
distance education.
Basically the theory implies that what applies to the creation of empathy in face-
to-face teaching also applies to distance education – provided special measures are
taken to make sure that students are engaged in decision making, that the style of
presentation is lucid, problem-oriented and conversation-like, that friendly non-
contiguous interaction between students and tutors is brought about and that liberal
organisational-administrative structures and processes are created.
This appears evident, doesn’t it? Every educator knows that a friendly tone is
conducive to good learning. So why on earth point it out? A study of existing pre-
produced distance-education courses and of the practice of ‘correcting’ assignments
submitted shows clearly that there is every reason to point out the advantages of
empathetic conversation-like presentations and student-tutor interaction. The
regrettable fact is that still very many, probably most, distance courses have little of this
conversational character. Too often they are merely handbook texts and the interaction
with tutors consists mainly of correction and little teaching or explanation.
Naturally at academic and similar levels students have to read difficult and
complicated scholarly presentations. There is no reason, however, why these should
be distance-education texts. Such presentations are available on the market in book
form. By distance education we can provide empathy-supporting, conversational
guides to the study of these difficult scholarly tests and thus help students to study
them. That is a parallel of what is done in traditional teaching. Full explanations,
relevant examples, useful comparisons etc. given in a helpful and friendly way
should, I think, alleviate and guide the study. This is what is done by a good lecturer
in traditional teaching. Why should we deprive distance students of this kind of
learning support? It can be provided in print, online or by speech in recorded form.
At elementary levels the whole of a course can be – and in my view should be –
developed as a conversation, preferably of a Socratic type, to help students reach
their goals. Here we have a good correspondence course like the course in French
that I mentioned as our model.
Entretiens et conférences 433
The friendly atmosphere is essential also in the interaction between students and
tutors. Helping (teaching) students is the main purpose of this interaction. This
naturally means teaching, explaining and providing examples etc. Awarding marks
(grades) is only a possible secondary part of the tutor’s work.
My modest theory simply means that a procedure that has proved helpful in
traditional education is applicable also to distance education. Empathy between
those who teach and those who learn is universally a good basis for learning. Easily
understandable, conversation-like presentations and friendly interaction help
students to learn. Empirical investigations support these assumptions.
This theory of mine has been much discussed, as far as I know not rejected, but
received with varying degrees of enthusiasm (cf. Keegan 1993 and later editions).
Among those who are little enthusiastic I count my two respected fellow presenters
in this debate.
Otto Peters on his theory of distance education as the most industrialized form
of education
At the beginning I should like to express my feelings of disappointment and
sadness. You may be asking yourselves why this is. It was only the other day that I
read an article written by D. Randy Garrison (2000), a well-known distance
education expert. In it, he characterizes “Peters’ industrial model” as an
organizational model, saying that it is about organizing the educational process to
realize economies of scale. After 50 years of discussion I am still misunderstood in
such a massive way.
I should like to explain my emotional reaction by telling you something about the
genesis of this theory. The irony of Garrison’s statement is that I am a pedagogue,
and not an expert in organization. I was a pedagogue in the 1960s when I tried to
analyze educational approaches. In doing so I came across what was called at that
time “correspondence education”, a form of education that was ignored by
educationists and the scientific community. I was not involved in correspondence
education myself, it was only my scholarly interest as a pedagogue that induced me
to see what was happening in this peculiar form of education. I tried to analyze and
describe it by applying those pedagogical criteria that were used by pedagogues at
that time. This means that I analyzed it with regard to objectives, content, methods,
and media as well as to students and teachers. When I had finished I was extremely
dissatisfied. My mistake was that I had applied criteria developed for face-to-face
instruction in schools and at universities. Consequently distance education appeared
merely as a special form of classroom teaching. I had the feeling that this
interpretation did not do justice to this entirely different form of teaching and
learning, and looked at it more closely in order to find out characteristic differences
between the two forms of education.
434 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
After studying the teaching and learning at correspondence schools,
correspondence colleges, at UNISA, at European and U.S. universities, and at
universities of the former Soviet Union I found that all of them had something in
common: their teaching and learning are highly “industrialized”. No one had realized
this then. Even worse, I was to learn that there were even experts who not only
ignored but also tended to deny this characteristic feature of distance education.
Therefore I tried to convince these experts
– that distance education is a form of teaching and learning that sprang up and
developed only in the industrial age and is an expression of industrialization,
whereas classroom education represents a pre-industrial (artisan) form of teaching
and learning,
– that the first owners of correspondence schools were entrepreneurs who found
it adequate and profitable to apply methods of the industrialization of goods to
teaching and learning,
– that there are about ten formal criteria that the two processes have in common,
among them division of labour, use of technical media, mass production and
rationalization,
– that a thorough analysis of this theory shows several dimensions: historical,
cultural, sociological, anthropological, economical and educational.
All of these descriptive elements suggest that this theory is well-grounded.
My main point was to show that such an entirely different structure of education
requires new and unique learning and teaching behaviors. This is a genuine
pedagogical aspect. It is important to become aware of it. I intended to show aspects
so far unknown in academia. Why can education be distributed to many students
who live apart from each other, and why can education be mass-produced and
distributed everywhere? These are things that were very challenging and
educationally of great importance. I became aware of a downright revolution in
education, not noticed up to then, and my theory wanted to point to this
extraordinary development.
Let me explain this theory further by referring to two presentations at this
workshop. Børje Holmberg referred to ten criteria that the production of goods and
the production of education have in common, among them division of labour, use of
technical media, mass production, rationalization, the use of scientific approaches
and scientific methods. Betty Collis demonstrated in her keynote speech how much
scientific knowledge and how many scientific methods are used in order to secure
the quality of distance education. The application of scientific knowledge is relevant
for the development of industrial production processes.
I should like to point to aspects of the theory that have been completely ignored.
“Industrialized education” not only means what I have just described, it means much
more. Distance education is a product of the industrialization of society. Only
“industrial man” was able and willing to study at a distance, in the same way as
Entretiens et conférences 435
“post-industrial man” is able and willing to study in online learning. The change of
the very nature of knowledge is a product and consequence of industrialized
learning. The emergence of entirely new forms of learning in online learning is
another result of this development. My theory focuses on these radical changes,
which had never been seen and experienced before. I am interested in these
significant pedagogical changes, and not in organizational issues. If you have ever
looked at the table of contents of my book, Distance Education in Transition
(Peters, 2004), you will see that all articles deal with pedagogical issues that became
significant because of the industrialization of education and they do not deal mainly
with organizational strategies.
Why is it adequate to interpret distance education by applying this theory? It
helps us to understand the reality of learning and teaching at a distance. It raises our
awareness of its specific character, the essence of this form of learning, and of the
social processes on which they are based. It is now crystal clear that this form differs
from all pre-industrial forms of learning and teaching, it relates distance education to
the history of learning in a special way, to the world of industrial production, to
commercialism, consumerism – and to the humanitarian mission of distance
education. It helps us to imagine possible future developments of learning.
The theory was conceived in the middle of the 1960s and first published in 1968
(Peters 1968, 1973). German scholars clearly did not appreciate it as they were not
familiar with distance education and its specific problems at all at that time. But
what was more important: they were seized by the 1968 students’ movement, which
focused on the emancipation of traditional students from suppression by academic
hierarchies. They felt that social processes cannot be planned and calculated at all.
They rejected the use of technology in general, but especially in teaching and
learning. There was no response from German-speaking educators.
The first English description of the theory was published by Mackenzie and
Christensen (1971). Sewart, Keegan and Holmberg (eds.) (1983) published a
translation of the respective chapter of my book “Die didaktische Struktur des
Fernunterrichts” (The Pedagogical Structure of Distance Education) (Peters 1973).
Keegan’s book “Foundation of Distance Education” made a lasting impact on
distance educators. In it he devoted a whole chapter to the industrialization of
distance education (Keegan, 1986) and discussed it at international conferences.
At that time, the theory was especially convincing to experts who were involved in
establishing open universities in the 1970s and 1980s. These new universities combined
technical, organizational, management and pedagogical innovations. Open universities
appeared to be the empirical proof of the theory, as they are the most industrialized
distance learning institutions. Keegan (1994) reinforced this impact by editing a book
that carried selected and translated writings of this author. It is subtitled “The
Industrialization of Teaching and Learning”. In subsequent years his strong impulses in
the literature provoked animated international discussions. Since then the theory has
been dealt with in all scholarly books on distance education and is included in many
436 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
digitized MA courses on Distance Education, the last and most striking example being
the virtual MDE course “Foundations of Distance Education” jointly offered by the
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and the University of Oldenburg.
Michael Graham Moore on his theory of transactional distance
Historical perspective: I went to Africa in 1963 after three boring years as a high
school teacher in England. I asked my boss what my job is going to be, and he said
my job is to do the education of adults, and if no one else is doing it, you can do it. I
had a quarter of Kenya and nobody else was doing it, so I did. That is where I
discovered the power of radio, and I discovered correspondence education. I decided
to mention correspondence when I heard Dr Otto Peters’ a few minutes ago
emphasis on correspondence. That’s also were I began.
In 1965 I spent a month on board a ship coming around the Cape of Good Hope
writing a correspondence course. That led me into contact with one of the great
American university correspondence schools. And through that I ended up going to
the U.S.
When I did my doctorate in education in the U.S., I found that in the literature
there was virtually nothing about the pedagogy of what we then called
correspondence education, or the teaching and learning through the radio, which in
Africa I had found be such a powerful medium. So I began to do research on this
same phenomenon of when people are at a distance as we now call it, but we did not
then: What’s going on, on the part of the learners and on the part of the teachers.
Now I suppose I am a bit biased because it was more on the teaching than on the
learning side then, now of course the two are separable.
I gave a presentation in 1972, Dr. Holmberg was then the vice-president of ICCE
[International Council for Correspondence Education] and that was my coming out
party. I gave a presentation on what I had done in the two years previously. I defined
what happened in a classroom as “contiguous teaching”, and I defined distance
teaching. I defined “distance teaching” as “instructional methods in which the teaching
behaviors are executed apart from the learning behaviors, so that communication
…must be facilitated by print, electronic, mechanical, or other devices” (Moore 1972).
I said we need a theory in the English language, we did not have a theory, it was
not in the literature and I identified the macro factors, which was the terms that I
discovered in my study of comparative education, which at that time was a growing
field also. So we need to describe and define and discriminate between the various
components of this field
To illustrate the theory of transactional distance, I am building on a presentation
by Marrily Stover (UMUC). She has described what I did then, -- which was looking
at a large sample of what were called American independent study programmes,
delivered through various technologies.
Entretiens et conférences 437


First steps

Moore started by gathering a large sample of “independent study” programs.
These included programs delivered by:

– TV and radio
– Correspondence
– Programmed instruction
– Computer-assisted instruction
– Telephone
– Dial access audio tapes
Independent learning on campus

I had classified them according to the extent to which there was individualisation on
the part of the student. I then conceived the idea of constructive interaction, but one of
my advisors did not like me using the word interaction for reasons I can’t go into, but
dialogue is essentially constructive interaction between teacher and learner, so I
classified these programmes, although here it shows technologies, typically
programmes delivered through one technology tend to fall into a cluster above or below
those or another, although in reality they would also be considered overlapped.


He classified them by the extent to which generally the learning program was
individualized

More individualized programs were usually:

– Correspondence
– Programmed instruction
– Independent learning on campus

Less individualized programs were:

– Computer-assisted instruction
– TV and radio
– Telephone groups
– Dial access audio tapes

It broke about something like this. And bear in mind, this analysis was of over a
thousand documents describing programs before we had computers, so I had the help
of a librarian, and bless her I don’t know where she is now. She helped me organise
all these cards, with all the data on, and we came up with this kind of classification
of these programmes according to the extent to which they had this phenomenon of a
dialogue and structure. The more structured being the less individualised, and the
438 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
less structured vice-versa. These are continuous variables, these are not discreet
packages. A programme has more dialogue or less dialogue, not either or, or the
other. To put it on a graph it looks like this:

He then classified whether the programs involved dialog
(“constructive interaction”) between teacher and learner
Independent learning on
campus
Individual telephone
Individual correspondence
Group telephone
Group correspondence
Computer-assisted instruction
Programmed instruction
Dial access audio tapes
TV
Radio
Textbook study
High dialog
Low dialog
High
individualization
Low
individualization
High
individualization
Low
individualization


It’s quite simple, showing transactional distance (as I came to call it in the 80’s),
which I can’t at the moment elaborate on, but the change of name came at the time of
the publication (Moore 1980); and again showing how they stand and vary according
to technology,

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How the variables of dialog and structure determine
transactional distance can be shown in a simple graph.
How the variables of dialog and structure determine
transactional distance can be shown in a simple graph.

Entretiens et conférences 439
Typical programs by technology used (Moore, 1972, 1973)
Dialog
more
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Transactional distance
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on campus
correspondence teaching
telephone
6. programmed instruction
7. computer-assisted instruction
audio tapes
9. TV
4. GROUP
5. GROUP correspondence
3. individualized
2. individualized telephone
8. dial access
10. radio
11. Textbook –self-directed
independent reading
personal tutorials


Now, if we rotate this diagram we can move on to the second set of variables that
I was interested in, which is from the learner’s side, and that was the extent to which
the learner has control or is not going to have control, or what I called autonomy,
because I was very excited like most people in the early 70’s by the humanistic
psychology - I had read Carl Rogers (1969) and his book “Freedom to Learn” and
Malcom Knowles that kind of stuff. So to what extent was the student involved or
engaged in the decision making about what he or she was learning.
I had a typology that showed autonomy of the student in deciding what to learn,
how to do it, how much to do it:
440 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
Autonomy and transactional distance
D
i
a
l
o
g

m
o
r
e
le
s
s
S
tru
c
tu
r
e
m
o
re
l
e
s
s
T
ra
n
s
a
c
tio
n
a
l d
is
ta
n
c
e
C
a
p
a
c
ity
fo
r in
d
iv
id
u
a
liz
a
tio
n
m
o
re
le
s
s
the level of autonomy
required of the learner
increases as transactional
distance increases.
the level of autonomy
required of the learner
increases as transactional
distance increases.
T
ra
n
s
a
c
tio
n
a
l d
is
ta
n
c
e
A
U
T
O
N
O
M
Y


This led to, and leads to hypotheses consistent with what my colleagues have
been saying. As I said that in my front statement about theory, if the theory is not
telling you what is not known then it is really not doing us anything. So whole kinds
of predictions can come or hypotheses can come and form the interrelationship
shown by the model.


Determinants of autonomy
GOALS
E
X
E
C
U
T
I
O
N
E
V
A
L
U
A
T
I
O
N
8. NNN (no autonomy)
1. AAA (fully autonomous)
2. AAN (autonomy in setting
goals and execution)
External certification programs
3. ANA (autonomy in setting
goals and in evaluation)
Programmed learning
4. ANN (autonomy only in
setting goals--uncommon)
6. NNA (autonomy only in
evaluation—most rare)
7. NAN (autonomy only in
execution--by far the most
common situation)
5. NAA (autonomy
in execution and
evaluation—
uncommon)
Autonomy itself is a three-dimensional
concept. It shows for any program the type
of control that the learner is allowed in:
• establishing goals
• executing the learning program
• evaluating progress
Autonomy itself is a three-dimensional
concept. It shows for any program the type
of control that the learner is allowed in:
• establishing goals
• executing the learning program
• evaluating progress
Entretiens et conférences 441
Examples of hypothesized relationships of autonomy, structure and
dialog
When autonomy is low the need for structure is high
When structure is low the need for autonomy is high
Programs with low dialog require a high degree of learner autonomy.
Programs with low dialog and low structure require a higher degree of learner
autonomy.
Learners with high autonomy require less dialog, less structure
Etc
Highly autonomous learners may engage in auto-dialog
Course designers can develop very highly structured courses, with little room
for learner autonomy in setting goals, execution or evaluation.
Or can develop very unstructured courses, allowing learners to exercise a high
degree of autonomy.
An autonomous learner could put together a highly structured learning
program for him/herself —or could make a loosely structured program.


Another way of looking at it is as a set of platforms … this is another illustration
of the model:

A 3D Model of transactional distance
Dialog more less
Structure
more
less
Autonomy permitted/
required by the
teaching method
less
more
Transactional
distance
high
low
Transactional distance can be
viewed as a set of tiered platforms.
As one steps away from the origin
(dialog or structure), the steps also
increase in height (autonomy).
Transactional distance can be
viewed as a set of tiered platforms.
As one steps away from the origin
(dialog or structure), the steps also
increase in height (autonomy).


As you step away from the origin, and then the steps increase in height this is the
autonomy permitted or acquired by the teaching method. Different teaching
programmes can be viewed as glasses stacked on these tiers, the glass represents the
degree of the autonomy that’s permitted and the liquid then shows the autonomy
that’s required. For instance, a course taught online, technology that allows a low
degree of structure and a high degree of dialogue, permitting a low degree of learner
442 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
autonomy, could be designed with a high structure and a low dialogue and requires a
high degree of learner autonomy. It depends on the designers. The fact, that what we
consider is the capacity of the learner for how high he or she can reach. So using the
construct we see that we can design courses for different degrees of autonomy by
varying the dialogue and structure, and from a research point of view we can explore
and test many interactions within and between these variables, which gets us back to
the original investigations.
I want to mention one elaboration: Farhad Saba, San Diego State University, has
done more work than anyone in further exploring this, and his is a rather complicated
model based on systems’ dynamics. He is working on the hypothesis of the
relationship of transaction systems to dialogue and structuring transaction distance.
He’s come up with some mathematical formula which he can model on a computer
(Saba and Shearer 1994).

T ra n s a c tio n a l D is ta n c e T ra n s a c tio n a l D is ta n c e
S tru c tu r e S tru c tu r e D i a l o g D i a l o g
Tim e Tim e
Saba’s systems dynamics hypotheses:
When structure increases, transactional distance increases and dialog decreases.
When dialog increases, transactional distance decreases and structure decreases
Transactional Distance (t)= Transactional Distance (t-dt) + (structure-dialog) x dt.


And, close to finally, I hope I am not offending Dr Peters the way I have drawn
this, but I wanted to show that, according to Saba again, transaction distance lies in
bigger systems.
Entretiens et conférences 443
TD vis a vis Peters
and Holmberg
“transactional
distance is an open
system residing in a
larger environment
in the instructional
systems level which
is in turn part of a
larger system in the
hierarchical model”
(Saba 2007)
TD is only a
pedagogical theory
…a theory about
teaching and learning
Some theorists deal
with larger systems,
(Peters) others with
smaller systems
(Holmberg)


Mine is only a pedagogical theory, it is only about teaching and learning – it is
interesting that Dr Peters emphasizes the same commitment to teaching and learning
and not to organisations, but I do suggest that some theory still with larger systems,
can I say he is dealing with teaching and learning but on a somewhat more macro
level than I am, I am certainly relating only learning and teaching through this
process of dialogue, I focused on the role of autonomy but there are many other
variables inside the learner that may be of importance and of interest, I see Dr
Holmberg’s invaluable contribution being more focused on the teacher and the
teacher’s relationship to the learner, and that’s how I put empathy in here … The
new frontier of course for all of us is the interaction and dialogue within and between
learning groups, which is my note at the bottom there. With new interactive
technology we have the potential for dialogue between learners and a new form of
learner-learner autonomy that reduces the transaction distance for each student. I will
hold my concluding comment until the conclusion.
444 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
Instructional-learning system
Instructional program
structure (content, objectives, strategies, evaluation)
learner
teacher
dialogue
teacher
empathy
learner
autonomy
Autonomy is one component of the learner system;
empathy is one component of teacher system
LEARNING
GROUPS
With new interactive
technology we have
potential for dialog
between learners and a
new form of learner-learner
autonomy reducing the
transactional distance for
each student.
With new interactive
technology we have
potential for dialog
between learners and a
new form of learner-learner
autonomy reducing the
transactional distance for
each student.

3 - Finally each of them was asked to reflect on the implications of their respective
theory on research into online distance education and e-learning as well as the
development of theories in the field in distance education with an outlook into
future developments. Only five minutes were given to each for reflecting on these
various issues
Børje Holmberg on implications of his theory on further research
My own research has an empirical character. I formulated a series of hypotheses
based on this theory and had them tried out very, very critically by statisticians. We
examined the theory in Popper’s spirit. In Popper’s thinking you can never prove a
theory right, but you can prove if it is wrong. As long as you don’t succeed in killing
a theory by proving it wrong (by falsifying it) you may accept it as an ad-hoc theory
(until something better appears). The studies did not falsify the theory (Holmberg,
Schuemer and Obermeier 1982).
I referred to the hypotheses derived from my theory. They are stated very clearly
in my book of 2000 (2
nd
ed. in 2003), called Distance education in essence. But the
principle of my theoretical thinking is better expressed in my book of 2005 “The
evolution principles and practices of distance education”. An important question is:
Can my thinking lead to further research? I have a favourite idea of mine, which I
will return to before I finish.
Generally theories specific to distance education, like Otto Peters’, are really
about distance education and about nothing else. But the more general thing that I
am preaching concerns education generally. And that is probably why people have
Entretiens et conférences 445
agreed with me to such a great extent. I have even been corrected by an Australian
who insisted that it is not only the young and inexperienced, who benefit from the
application of my conversational approach. It is equally important to all (Mitchell
1992) The gist of what I am saying is that the empathy approach, taken over from
general education, is applicable also to distance education.
Otto Peters on implications of his theory on further research
1. The theory heightens the awareness of researchers of deep-rooted
transformations, not only of learning itself but also of attitudes towards learning,
learning behaviour, and of life in general. It makes clear that when we start exploring
online distance education we enter a new world in which extraordinary and
unforeseen progress in disseminating knowledge and skills can be made.
2. The theory helps researchers to see, understand and internalize that online
distance education is not just another version of traditional learning using new media
for distribution, but a genuine new form of learning with its own principles and its
own criteria, with its own unprecedented advantages and also its own serious
deficiencies.
3. The theory makes it crystal clear to researchers that online distance education
is not just the product of ingenious instructional design, but an inherent element of a
powerful societal development, economically, culturally, sociologically and even
anthropologically.
4. Researchers are reminded by this theory that it was industrial man who was
able, willing and even eager to learn at a distance by correspondence, and that it is
post-industrial man and post-modern man who are able to learn at a distance in
virtual spaces – quite a different system. Only post-industrial man and-post modern
man are able to explore virtual spaces as they are challenged to develop a special
degree of creativity, designing imagination, reasoning power, openness, flexibility
and willingness to make use of virtual communication. Only post industrial man is
able to exploit oral and written communication, which is broken down and no longer
linear. Learners are able to think in configurations as well, to integrate patterns of
cognition into their learning. The meaning of student-centeredness and student-
orientation acquires new dimensions.
5. The theory urges researchers to explore how far the state of mind of our post-
modern students influences and changes learning. This theory may prevent
researchers from continuing to design research projects based on traditional
educational and pedagogical assumptions that may still be dear to our heart, but are
obsolete.
6. The theory applies to distance education and to online learning only and
exclusively. Distance education and online education are a form of teaching and
learning sui generis, for their own sake, with their own advantages and
disadvantages. Here we enter another pedagogical world.
446 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
7. The theory may help researchers to abstain from transplanting models and
experiences of face-to-face education into this new world. Here, learning and
teaching require new ideas and new strategies. This workshop has shown that much
progress has already been achieved in this direction.
Michael Graham Moore on implications of his theory on further research:
I don’t really have a lot to say about this. It’s up there It was never intended to be
other than an explanation of one part of the field. It is purely descriptive, it is not
prescriptive. And that is one of my principal points of disagreement about Dr
Holmberg’s own theory, which I think is prescriptive.
I think that we can agree that theory is describing of reality rather than
prescribing an agenda. We can come back to this discussion because I see, my ideas
of autonomy is for some students, they are well able and ought, if I was to be
prescriptive -- be left alone, and more kindness and friendliness is not necessarily
helping the learning process. I am prescriptive and sometimes that is misunderstood.
I was asked about misunderstandings, because as a person I believe in friendliness,
and I believe in autonomy, but as a theorist I am not advocating autonomy. I am
advocating – if advocate is the right work - the appropriate balance between what the
learners can do, what the curriculum and the structure can do and what the instructor
can do in the dialogue. … I am not advocating any of these. It’s purely descriptive

Transactional distance theory has had the principal effect, I think, of having the
field of distance education taken seriously in the U.S., and it was not when I first
studied in 1972. It has proven useful and encouraging others to write … I have cited
Dr. Peters, I have cited Professor Alan Tait who is in the audience; I have cited
Farhad Saba with regard to authoritative views of the value of transaction distance.
Desmond Keegan I couldn’t get up there on the slide, Greville Rumble I couldn’t get
up there either. But theory, didn’t I say about earlier in the beginning, theory
develops authority as people find it useful, and here are eminent people who endorse
this as having value. And here is a whole list of studies most of which are doctoral
studies, one or two people in the audience even. Down as recently as 2005, and the
first beginning was Saba, probably in 1998. There is ample evidence that people find
this a useful basis for their research.

Entretiens et conférences 447
Examples of empirical studies (mostly doctoral) based on transactional distance
Saba (1988) * Saba and Twitchell (1988) * Shinkle (2001) *
Braxton (1999) * Zhang (2003) Gallo (2001) * Bischoff (1993)
Bischoff et al. (1996) * Gayol (1996) * Bunker, Gayol, Nti, and Reidell (1996)
Walker Fernandez (1999) * Moore, M.H. (1999) *
Vrasidas and MacIsaac (1999) * Anderson (1999) * Atkinson (1999) *
Hopper (2000) * Rovai (2000) * Chen Y. (1997) * Chen and Willits (1998, 1999)
Chen, Y. (2001) * Clouse (2001) * Williams (2003) * Edstrom (2002)
Wheeler (2002) * Lee and Gibson (2003) * Witte and Wolf (2003) *
Lowell (2004) * Stein, Wanstreet, et al (2005) * Dupin-Bryant (2004) *
Avive, Erlich, Ravid, and Gava (2003) * Gorsky, Caspi, and Trumper (2004) *
Gorsky, Caspi, and Tuvi-Arid (2004) * Ofir et al 2004 *
Wikeley and Muschamp (2004) * Munro (1991) * Brenner (1996) *
Richardson (1998) * Thompson, (1998) * Huang (2000) *
Kanuka, Collett, and Caswell (2002) * Dron (2002, 2004) *
Stein, Wanstreet, et al (2005) * Lemone (2005) *


It appeared obvious after a period of time that what was being described as
transactional distance exists in all teaching-learning relationship.
It’s hardly surprising when you consider that the concepts are grounded in or
derived from mainstream education psychology, education philosophy. The terms
transaction comes from John Dewey, who was not in distance education, he was well
into children in classrooms. Autonomy came from Rogers (1969) and Maslow
(1968) who were psychotherapists essentially, university teachers but they were not
trained educationists or students of education. So I am left to say that, where there is
transactional distance in all teaching relationships, distance education is that subset
of education relationships where the transactional distance is of such significance
that essential adjustments of communication and organisation are necessary. So I can
see the education universe, I can see transactional distance, and then within that I can
see a whole set where transactional distance is such that it is a recognised or a
discreet set of teaching-learning relationship. Now you are going to say and I would
agree, somewhere now there is a blurring in between what you would recognise as
technology in the classroom and technology being used in distance education. So the
short answer is, where Dr. Peters says absolutely not, for his perspective, for me the
phenomena of dialogue, structure, autonomy and transactional distance are indeed to
be found wherever one looks at teaching and learning. But in somewhat accentuated
form, if you are in the subset we call distance education.
448 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
4 - After all the audience was invited for a discussion, and the panellists for
concluding remarks
Børje Holmberg’s concluding remarks
We have a lot of assumptions about how students learn, but generally work with
assumptions. It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if we could find real, well-
grounded, almost incontestable knowledge about how students learn. A group of
Australian researchers have indicated a possible procedure. What I have in mind are
the studies carried out by Marland and his group, who have made qualitative
interview studies of the mental processes which mediate, thus come between, the
teaching and the learning outcomes (Marland et al. 1990 and 1992). They have paid
attention to such mediating processes as strategy planning, hypothesising,
elaborating and generating. The studies carried out have included very small groups
of students only. I ask myself if it would not be possible to widen studies of this kind
in a way to give us more substantial knowledge.
Suppose a battery of interview questions were developed, detailed instructions on
how interviews with students should be carried out created by a group of international
scholars, a group of interviewers engaged and duly instructed, principles for the
evaluation of students’ replies specified in cooperation with a group of international
experts and competent evaluators engaged. This would give us a chance to interview
students all over the world on their learning strategies and practices, to bring this
information together and draw constructive conclusions from it.
This would be a vast undertaking. It would require standardising procedures,
several parallel examiners interpreting and scrutinising the interviews and a also
central body for coordinating the work, but it would produce substantial knowledge
of how most people learn and about possible regional or national differences. Where
do we find a research institute prepared to start the work, find interviewers and
interview examiners, initiate and carry out as well as coordinate work of this kind? I
briefly mentioned this plan already at the first EDEN research workshop in Prague in
2000. Were I still active and had I my former research institute, das Zentrale Institut
für Fernstudienforschung (ZIFF) at the FernUniversität, I should be strongly
tempted to attempt this extremely interesting but very difficult project.
What I have indicated is one of several possibilities for really useful research,
which would also give us a firm basis for further theory building and practical
conclusions.
Otto Peters’ concluding remarks
I have a positive feeling and two negative ones.
Entretiens et conférences 449
The positive feeling developed when staying and working for the first time at a
real virtual university: the Universidade Oberta de Catalunya. I expected that in
such a university technical experts and technological problems would dominate the
discussion of this workshop. However, when I took part in some of the afternoon
sessions I became enthusiastic about what was discussed there: problems of
pedagogy, discussed on a high level of reflection. I did not expect this and I am glad
about this – international – development.
On the other hand I do have negative feelings with regard to one special aspect of
online learning. Last year I became aware of the fact that most information and
communication experts do not appreciate face-to-face dialogues. Checking books on
online learning, I saw that most of their authors do not deal with face-to-face
discussions at all. Worse, some of them not only ignore this form of education, but
even dismiss it. Therefore I have written an article, entitled “Plea for an oral
dialogue in online-learning” (cf. Peters 2006), as a contribution to and enhancement
of e-learning. This does not mean that I am opposed to online-learning altogether.
Quite the opposite. But I recommend that online learning with face-to-face meetings
are combined wherever and whenever possible and adequate. In this article I
described all the obvious deficiencies of virtual dialogues and all the definite
advantages of face-to-face dialogues. We lose a lot if we neglect or ignore face-to-
face dialogues in online learning, regarding them as obsolete. To explore this aspect
could be a relevant objective for future research.
The second negative feeling is caused by my concern about the future of online
learning. I believe that industrialization and commercialization will continue
changing our societies and our private lives to an unprecedented degree. In the same
way learning and teaching will become even more industrialized. There are futurists
who predict that by the end of our century there will be a fusion of the computer and
the human being. Human beings will then lose their traditional identity because a
new phenomenon will exist: the “man-machine”. This is of course so far only a
prediction of futurists, but when you walk across this building, you can already see
persons tied to their computers, entirely absorbed and not noticing anything else
around them. The fusion predicted for the end of this century has already started.
Therefore, I think research should bring light into this development, show very
clearly what is going on, what the consequences will be for learning and teaching,
and what will happen to us.
Michael Graham Moore’s concluding remarks
I very much appreciated the question of the hierarchy of theory, and the end of
the question said something like it would be desirable to move from description to
explanation to prediction, e.g. for example under certain conditions learners will
respond better than in other conditions. I greatly appreciate your articulating that
perspective, I think that is exactly right. For myself I believe that that’s what we are
450 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
trying to do in the application of transactional distance theory and it’s where I don’t
really conflict with Børje, it truly is a communication issue. If I were representing
Børje’s, if I may, I would say there is a range of degrees of empathy in teaching
programmes, and for some students more empathy is important, and for some
students less empathy is important. An interesting research question is which is
which? Rather than “empathy is a good thing for everybody”. It’s the same for
autonomy. Autonomy is a very good thing for some people and some subjects under
some conditions, and a very bad thing for other people.
So the interesting research questions are “under what conditions for what kind of
learners is what degree of autonomy desirable? I really think we are close on this, I
really think if we could only get ourselves organised better, and if we could stop
spending energy and time and money re-labelling what we do, we can take these
variables and we can generate a decent research agenda.
But it goes to Ross’s [M.G.M. refers to Ross Paul] point, and then I’ll shut up.
His question is absolutely super, it is not comfortable, but in some ways we are being
loved to death! People are talking about what they do with a computer and they say:
“you know, we are into distance education” and they know nothing of the pedagogy,
nothing of the kind of issues we’ve been talking about here today. What does that
matter? It’s not a matter of vanity, it is that they do stupid things and they got
research questions to which we either know the answer or we know there is not an
answer. So there is an awful lot of wheel spinning and misdirected energy both in
application and research because the theory isn’t known and it comes back to where
I work, the colleges of education, and many of you in these institutions, we are not
doing a very good job of educating the generations of educators in our discipline.
For everyone we turn out who knows, ten more bought a computer and they’ve got
online and they are doing things, usually in a very misdirected way. So, I don’t know
whether to be optimistic …
I guess it’s like in the Dark Ages, some of us will keep the light alive … and I am
not being too negative : let me put up my closing thought, if you are ready:
Michael Graham Moore then comments the following slides :

Entretiens et conférences 451
“concluding comment on how you view the interpretations of and the
debate(s) about your theory”
I have very little to comment ……
One thing I would like to point out is that transactional distance theory was/is
no more than that, --- a summary of knowledge in one part of the field …the
teaching-learning process.
As such, it is purely descriptive …. It is not prescriptive ……some authors
think I am an advocate for more or less learner autonomy, more or less
dialogue, more or less structure ……. This is NOT so.
I am happy that transactional distance theory has served at least one purpose
successfully which is to ensure that distance education is taken seriously as a
field of study in the United States, which was not the case before 1972.
It has proven useful in encouraging others to write about theory and it has
proven useful as a foundation for research; examples are shown in the
Handbook chapter.


I am quoting Insung Jung, who is a Korean scholar who did a very nice survey of
web based instruction from the perspective of transactional distance. And she came
up with some realistic conclusions: When she looked across all the research it
showed little resemblance to established pedagogical theory in general or distance
education theory in particular. Some studies raised a research question and discussed
the findings and theoretical framework, other studies had little relationship to
established learning theories … and I find that unhappy… but realistic.
Conclusion and future directions

Jung (2001):
“WBI research showed little resemblance to established pedagogical theory in
general or distance education theory in particular. While some studies raised their
research question and discussed the findings in theoretical frameworks, other
studies had little relationship to established learning theories”.

I fear:
further proliferation of conceptual confusion and mis-directed research energy
I hope:
More and better study of educational theory, including education psychology,
philosophy, curriculum design, instruction as requirement for higher education
practice and research
Leading to research better grounded in theory
Either way:
I expect more attention to delivery methods that are “transactional” rather than
“transmissive” (Burge, 1988; cited in Munro, 1998).
Learner to learner based on constructivist philosophy and methodology with
implications for study of learner autonomy
452 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
I fear that this may get worse; what I call here non-theoretical grabbing at data.
Conceptual confusion drives me crazy: distributed learning, flexible learning, open
learning, e-learning and … Have you ever been to a conference on learning and then
half the people were talking about teaching? We come to a conference on e-learning
because we know we are going to talk about teaching and learning, so why should
we have a conference on E-learning rather than E-education? So what is E anyway?
When I was teaching online with video was I into E? Sure I was!
I don’t know how we are going to solve this. I hope more research connected to
theories through the study of education theories including the foundations … I
expect at least there will be more attention to learner-learner dialogue, but that is a
natural, it’s obvious. Constructivist philosophy which I consider to be humanistic
psychology warmed over for the 21
st
century, but that’s OK, that’s driving a lot of
the enthusiasm in schools of education; and this will lead to more understanding of
that area that I have shown an interest in, of learner autonomy and what is
appropriate dialogue with teachers and appropriate course structures.
So on the score of 1 to 10, where am I? Somewhere in the middle, I am not
wildly optimistic but I am not too depressed … let’s see what happens!
The handbook of distance education in its second edition comes out next year.
Holmberg has a chapter in it, Peters has a chapter in it, I have a chapter in it, several
people in the audience have a chapter in it … Erlbaum is the publisher.


Distances et savoirs souhaite prolonger les échanges suscités au cours de cette
conférence, en préparant un prochain numéro autour de la seconde édition du
“Handbook of distance education” annoncée par Michael Graham Moore. Nous
invitons dès à présent les lecteurs et praticiens de cette seconde édition à nous
proposer leur réflexion critique sur tout ou partie du “handbook”.

_______________________

Distances et savoirs wishes to extend the discussion that started at the
conference, by drawing up a new issue of the journal around this second edition
of the “Handbook of distance education” announced here by Michael Graham
Moore. We invite the readers and the « practitioners » of this second edition to
propose their critical thinkings on all of part of the « handbook ».







Entretiens et conférences 453
References
Bollnow O.F., Dilthey, Eine Einführung in seine Philosophie, Stuttgart: Klett, 1967.
Garrison D. R., “Theoretical Challenges for Distance Education in the 21st Century: A shift
from structural to transactional issues”, In: The International Review of Research in Open
and Distance Learning, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2000.
Holmberg B., On the methods of teaching by correspondence, Lunds universitetsårsskrift
N.F, Avd. 1, Bd 54 Nr 2, 1960.
Holmberg B., Distance education in essence, Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und
Informationssysem der Universität Oldenburg, 2003.
Holmberg B., “Theoretical approaches. Ch. 10 of B. Holmberg”, The evolution, principles
and practices of distance education, Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der
Universität Oldenburg, 2005.
Holmberg B., Schuemer R. and Obermeier A., Zur Effizienz des gelenkten didaktischen
Gespräches (with a summary in English). Hagen: FernUniveität, ZIFF, 1982.
Jung I., Building a theoretical framework of web-based instruction in the context of distance
education, British Journal of Educational Technolog Vol. 2, Issue 5, 2001 pp. 525-534.
Keegan D., Foundations of distance education, 2
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edition, London: Routledge, 1986.
Keegan D., (Ed.) Theoretical principles of distance education, London and New York:
Routledge, (1993 and later)..
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learning, London: Routledge, 1994.
MacKenzie O. and Christensen E. L., The changing world of correspondence study,
University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1983.
McMillan J. H. and Schumacher S., Research in education: A conceptional introduction,
Boston: Little Brown, 1984.
Marland P., Patching W., Putt I. and Putt R., “Distance learners’ interaction with text while
studying”, Distance Education, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1990, pp. 71-91.
Marland P., Patching W. and Putt I., “Thinking while studying: a process tracing study of
distance learners”, Distance Education, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1992, pp. 195-217.
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two-way communication, Essays in honour of Börje Holmberg (pp 123-132) Frankfurt
A.M., Bern, New York, Paris: Peter Lang, 1992.
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Convergence, Vol. 5 No. 2, 1972, pp. 76-88. Available online at
http://www.ajde.com/Documents/learner_autonomy.pdf
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Moore M.G., “Towards a theory of independent learning and teaching”, Journal of Higher
Education, 44, 1973, pp. 661-679. Available online at
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Education, 2nd. Ed. Mahwah NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007.
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2005.
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vergleichende Interpretation, Weinheim: Beltz, 1968.
Peters O., Die didaktische Struktur des Fernunterrichts, Untersuchungen zu einer
industrialisierten Form des Lehrens und Lernens, Weinheim: Beltz, 1973.
Peters O., Learning and teaching in distance education, London: Kogan Page, 1998.
Peters O., Distance education in transition, New trends and challenges, 4
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Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg, 2004.
Popper K., The logic of scientific discovery, London: Hutchinson, 1980.
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education”, The American Journal of Distance Education, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1994, pp. 36-57.
Saba F., A Systems approach in theory building, In M.G. Moore, Handbook of Distance
Education, 2nd edition Mahwah, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (43-56), 2007.
Sewart D., Keegan D. and Holmberg B., (eds), Distance education, International
perspectives, Beckenham: Croom Helm, 1983.
Entretiens et conférences 455
Biographies
BÖRJE HOLMBERG

Référence : http://www.c3l.uni-oldenburg.de/24738.html
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.(mult.) Börje Holmberg
Professor Emeritus
FernUniversität Hagen
E-mail: b.holmberg@strandhusen.se
Börje Holmberg est né en 1924 à Malmö, Suède. Il a étudié l’anglais, l’allemand, les
langues romanes et les sciences de l’éducation à l’Université de Lund, où il a
également obtenu son doctorat en 1956.
En 1956, Börje Holmberg devient directeur de l’enseignement d’Hermods en Suède,
alors la plus importante organisation d’enseignement à distance en Europe, qui, de
1955 à 1975 enregistrait entre 75 000 et 100 000 étudiants par an. En 1966 il est
nommé Directeur Général de la Fondation Hermods, fonction qu’il quittera en 1975
lorsque le gouvernement suédois prend le contrôle d’Hermods. Pendant la période
passée à la tête d’Hermods Börje Holmberg publie des études sur l’éducation à
distance, trois monographies et plusieurs articles.
En 1976, Börje Holmberg devient Professeur en méthodologie de l’enseignement à
distance et Directeur de l’Institut pour la recherche en enseignement à distance à la
FernUniversität à Hagen, Allemagne. Il publie plusieurs ouvrages et de nombreux
articles dans des revues scientifiques. Parmi ses travaux on peut mentionner
« Theory and Practice of Distance Education », une deuxième edition révisée en a
été publiée par Routledge (London, New York) en 1990, « Growth and Structure of
Distance Education » (Croom Helm, London, 1986), « Mediated Communication as
a Component of Distance Education » (FernUniversität, Hagen, 1989) et « The
evolution, principles and practices of distance education » (BIS-Verlag, Oldenburg,
2005), plusieurs rapports de recherche, concernant par exemple ses travaux sur
l’approche empathique et la théorie de la « conversation instructive guidée ».
Après sa retraite de la FernUniversität Börje Holmberg continue de contribuer à la
recherche et au débat sur l’enseignement à distance, comme en témoignent par
exemple ses articles publiés dans « Open Learning » et « Epistolodidaktika ». Il est
également actif en tant que praticien du domaine.
Il a ainsi pris part à la conception d’une nouvelle université à distance dans le
domaine des sciences appliquées, en Allemagne, la « Private FernFachhochschule
Darmstadt » dont il en fut le Recteur de 1994 à 2001.
Börje Holmberg est docteur honoraire de la Deakin University in Australia et de
l’Open University au Royaume Uni. Il est membre de Kungliga Fysiografiska
Saellskapet i Lund, une académie des sciences fondée en 1792, il est Chevalier de
456 Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007
l’Ordre Royal de Vasa en Suède, ainsi que de l’Ordre de la Rose Blanche en
Finlande.


MICHAEL GRAHAME MOORE
Référence : http://www.c3l.uni-oldenburg.de/24837.html
Michael Graham Moore, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Adult Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Professor of Education
The Pennsylvania State University
E-mail: mgmoore@psu.edu

Domaines d’intérêt : Enseignement à Distance, Développent international.
Michael G. Moore est reconnu dans les milieux universitaires pour sa prééminence
dans la promotion de l’enseignement à distance aux Etats-Unis. Il a publié les
premières approches de sa théorie sur l’enseignement à distance en 1972, et il
témoigne d’un certain nombre de « premières » dans son domaine. Tout en
enseignant le premier cours diplômant de niveau licence sur l’enseignement à
distance à l’Université de Wisconsin dans les années 70 il contribue à la création de
la conférence annuelle nationale en ce même lieu.
En effet après avoir travaillé pendant pendant neuf ans à l’Open University du
Royaume Uni il rejoint l’Université de Penn State en 1986, où il fonde la première
revue scientifique américaine (American Journal of Distance Education), établit le
premier cursus de cours de licence enseigné à distance, lance un symposium national
de recherche sur l’enseignement à distance, et une communauté d’intérêt en ligne
(DEOS). Il indique par ailleurs avoir l’expérience d’un enseignement ayant recours à
toutes les technologies possibles et s’adressant à pratiquement tous les types
d’étudiants.
Moore est membre des comités éditoriaux de la plupart des principales revues
d’enseignement à distance, et ses publications incluent « Contemporary Issues in
American Distance Education » (Pergamon Press, 1990), « Distance Education: a
Systems View », avec Greg Kearsley comme co-auteur (Wadsworth Publishers,
1996 et 2005), publié par la suite en chinois, japonais et coréen, et le « Handbook of
Distance Education » (2003 et 2007).
Ses diplômes universitaires en économie et en éducation, et une expérience
éducative de sept ans en Afrique au commencement de sa carrière sont à l’origine
d’un intérêt soutenu pour l’éducation pour le développement ; ce qui se traduit par
des activités à la Banque Mondiale et de nombreuses missions de consultations pour
l’Unesco, le Fonds monétaire international et le Commonwealth of Learning ainsi
que pour plusieurs gouvernements étrangers.

Entretiens et conférences 457
OTTO PETERS
Référence : http://www.uni-oldenburg.de/zef/asf/otto.htm
http://www.c3l.uni-oldenburg.de/24739.html

Otto Peters est professeur émérite à la FernUniversitaet – l’Université ouverte et à
distance allemande – à Hagen. Il est né à Berlin, en 1926. Il a étudié les sciences de
l’éducation, la psychologie et la philosophie à l’Université de Humbolt et à
l’Université Libre de Berlin et obtenu son doctorat à l’Université de Tuebingen.
Depuis 1965 l’activité d’Otto Peters a porté sur la description et l’interprétation de
l’enseignement à distance strictement en tant que chercheur, tout d’abord au Centre
de l’Education de Berlin, puis à l’Institut allemand pour la recherche en
enseignement à distance, et enfin comme Professeur de Conception educative
(Instructional Design) à Berlin.
En 1975 il devient le Recteur fondateur de la FernUniversitaet à Hagen et occupe
cette fonction pendant près de dix ans. Il consacre ensuite exclusivement ses activités
à la recherche sur l’enseignement à distance. Il a rendu visite et étudié de
nombreuses institutions éducatives sur tous les continents, écrit nombre d’ouvrages,
dont le plus récent est « Distance Education in Transition », dans sa quatrième
édition, publié par l’University of Oldenburg press (BIS-Verlag). Il est le premier à
avoir introduit les concepts de planification et d’organisation dans l’analyse de
l’enseignement à distance et à lui avoir attribué des caractéristiques « industrielles »
telles que la division du travail, le marketing, la gestion, le contrôle de qualité.
Certains de ses livres ont été traduits en espagnol, portugais, coréen, chinois et
anglais. Professeur émérite à la FernUniversitaet depuis 1991, Otto Peters n’en
continue pas moins d’étudier les aspects pédagogiques de l’enseignement à distance
et en ligne. Il est un expert et mentor régulier pour le programme en ligne du Master
d’enseignement à distance des « Fondations de l’enseignement à distance »
conjointement offert par le Collège universitaire de l’Université du Maryland aux
Etats-Unis et l’Université d’Oldenburg en Allemagne.
Otto Peters a été Vice Président de l’International Council of Distance Education
pendant huit ans. En 1999 il lui a été décerné le Prix d’Excellence de l’ICDE pour
ses contributions tout au long de sa carrière au domaine de l’enseignement à
distance. Il est docteur honoraire de quatre universités (Open University, England;
Deakin University, Australia; Empire State College, N.Y.; Open University of Hong
Kong).

428

Distances et savoirs. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007

Cette session était structurée afin que chacun de ces trois représentants majeurs des théories concernant l’enseignement à distance s’expriment sur les questions suivantes : – une première question « qu’est-ce qu’une théorie ? » fut posée, avec la requête que chaque intervenant ne parle pas plus de cinq minutes, – Holmberg, Moore et Peters ont alors exprimé leurs vues concernant leur propre théorie, – il fut ensuite demandé à chacun d’entre eux de faire part de leurs réflexions concernant les implications de leurs théories respectives pour la recherche sur l’enseignement à distance en ligne et pour le e-learning, ainsi que pour le développement des théories dans le domaine de l’enseignement à distance, en évoquant les perspectives qu’ils envisageaient pour de futurs développements. Il ne fut accordé que cinq minutes à chacun pour ces différents points, – les auditeurs furent alors invités à une discussion générale et les intervenants à conclure leurs propos. Ulrich Bernath, ancien directeur du Centre pour l’enseignement à distance à l’Université d’Oldenburg, Allemagne, et à présent Directeur de la « Fondation Ulrich Bernath pour la recherche en Enseignement Ouvert et à Distance » et Albert Sangra Directeur d’EduLab, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, à l’Université Ouverte de Catalogne (UOC) présidaient la session. Martine Vidal, co-rédactrice en chef de Distances et savoirs, et Ulrich Bernath en ont édité la transcription ; des références ont été ajoutées par les intervenants.
DOI:10.3166/DS.5.427-458 © Cned/Lavoisier

The 4th EDEN Research Workshop on “Research into Online Distance Education and E-Learning: Making the Difference” was held in Castelldefels/Spain, October 25-26, 2006. A special session with Professors Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, and Otto Peters on “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is Important for Research” was a memorable programme highlight. An edited transcript of their contributions shall be presented here. The session was structured. Each of the three outstanding representatives of distance education theory spoke to the following: – at first the question “What is a theory?” was raised with the wish to not exceed five minutes each; – then Holmberg, Moore, and Peters provided insight into their respective theory; – finally each of them was asked to reflect on the implications of their respective theory on research into online distance education and e-learning as well as the development of theories in the field in distance education with an outlook into future developments. Only five minutes were given to each for reflecting on these various issues;

Entretiens et conférences

429

– after all the audience was invited for a discussion, and the panellists for concluding remarks. Ulrich Bernath, former Director of the Center for Distance Education at Oldenburg University/Germany and now Director of the Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in Open and Distance Learning, and Albert Sangrà, Director of EduLab, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, at Universidade Oberta de Catalunya (OUC) chaired the session. Martine Vidal, chief editor of Distances et savoirs, and Ulrich Bernath edited the transcript; references have been added by the panellists. On “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is Important for Research” with Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, and Otto Peters The 4th EDEN Research Workshop on “Research into Online Distance Education and E-Learning: Making the Difference” was held in Castelldefels/Spain, October 25 – 26, 2006. A special session with Professors Børje Holmberg, Michael Graham Moore, and Otto Peters on “The Theories and the Theorists: Why Theory is Important for Research” was a memorable programme highlight. An edited transcript of their contributions shall be presented here. 1 - At first the question “What is a theory?” was raised with the wish to not exceed five minutes each Børje Holmberg on “What is a theory” Scholarly theories imply a systematic ordering of ideas about the phenomena of our field of inquiry and are usually of two kinds. One is concerned with understanding, the other with explanation and prediction. Basically Moore’s and Peters’ theories are of the former kind, mine of the second. Peters regards distance education as an industrialised type of teaching and learning. He has shown that it is characterised by rationalizing, division of work between several cooperating people, mechanising, planning, organisation, production-line work, mass production etc. This is his description and understanding of distance education. Moore regards transactional distance as the generally descriptive feature of distance education, on the basis of which distance education functions. ‘Transactional Distance is the gap of understanding and communication between the teachers and learners caused by geographic distance that must be bridged through distinctive procedures in instructional design and the facilitation of interaction’ (Moore and Kearsley 2005 p. 223). Here again we have a theory attempting to describe and understand the concept of distance education.

. and Holmberg B. consideration. This unit shows how facts can be subordinated to general principles or laws and how they relate to them. The reason for this is that the originators of theories have different purposes in mind. to contemplate. The theoretical foundations of a field describe and inform the practice and provide the primary means to guide future developments” (Garrison.430 Distances et savoirs. and different outlooks. and the noun theoría meant looking at. insight and scientific contemplation. A scientific theory must be consistent with the facts. The possible functions of theory can be indicated by stating that they can be basically descriptive. including the theories conveyed by the members of this panel. . It was already in use by philosophers in antiquity. and to a certain degree predictive as well. and inherently prescriptive. observation. reveals new knowledge and suggests alternatives. to consider. Theories can be verified by experiments or by methodological observation. analytical or explanatory. Schuemer R. These categories were. Hermeneutics can help us in developing a theory as well as interpreting the results of its verification. first identified by Droysen in 1858 and later described by Wilhelm Dilthey (cf. It implies that the application of a methodological approach .empathy-creating conversational style – leads to increased motivation to learn and better results than conventional presentation of learning matter. This is a predictive theory that generates inter-subjectively testable hypotheses which can be – and have been . The Greek word theorein meant to look upon. looking more closely. otherwise it is mere fiction. If we examine present-day theories it is easy to see that their general goal is to accomplish an understanding of reality. The basic meaning of the word is still valid and underpins most of our modern definition of theory. A theory is a unit of knowledge that comprises facts. as far as I know. The goal of these activities was to ascertain truth. Nevertheless it places our theoretical approaches in their basic categories. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 My theory is of a different kind. Quite often it is useful to go back to the etymology of the word. to observe. Otto Peters on “What is a theory” I should like to answer this question on a more basic line. It influences practice and research. 2000). assumptions and hypotheses. and Obermeier 1982. Bollnow 1967).empirically tested (Holmberg B. Usually theories focus on one selected aspect of a phenomenon under consideration. “Theoretical inquiry is central to the vitality and development of a field of practice – not to mention its recognition and credibility from those not yet initiated into the field. 2003) This is not to say that Moore’s and Peters’ approaches are devoid of predictive elements or that mine does not contribute to the understanding of distance education. This means that several or even many theories can be constructed dealing with the same phenomenon.

Students. I would not advise a student to explain from literature why distance education is like an industrial model. Michael Graham Moore on “What is a theory?” In response to the question of what we believe theory to be. He or she need only say “I am going to start off on the basis of Peters’ theory”. very simple. Taxonomies are examples of a summary of literature that can be offered as theory. Finally to further illustrate the point as the reviewer of journal articles. Moore. I would go so far as to suggest that without theory there cannot be research. but there cannot be research without theory. . there can be number counting. it was a teacher talking with students. The principal value of the theory.Then Holmberg. for further inquiry. is in so far as the theory indicates the areas for further exploration. to shape practice”. So the theory is the statement of what is known as the prelude for research that is discovering what is not known. unless advised otherwise. It taught the student the simple things that beginners have to fight with in French. with a purpose of constructing meaning to explain. concepts and models. it was a sort of conversation with the student. one can refer to a summary that has acquired authority over the years. is the theory of the field … I’ve compared theory to a map. I am on record as saying that all that is published in the field. 2. for us people who aspire to research.Entretiens et conférences 431 Let me conclude with two definitions.. in other words providing the theory. je la lui ai écrite. the knowing what is known. a systematic account of relationships among phenomena”. And this was done in such a way that the author made the students follow his presentation. In the early 1940’s I saw a correspondence course in French which fascinated me. 11): a “theory is an explanation. very. it was not a teacher talking to students. to interpret. on occasions. It is like going on a journey without a map. etc”. A map summarizes what is known and it shows what is not known. je l’ai envoyée. I thought it was fascinating to see that such a dreary . and Peters provided insight into their respective theory Børje Holmberg on his theory of the empathetic teaching-learning conversation I’ll start with how it started. for example the order in which the personal pronouns are placed in French: “je lui ai écrit une lettre. data gathering. I find that the most common reason for rejection is that people provide data without theory. one is by McMillan and Schumacher (1984. il me l’a dit etc. in other words they don’t say what is already known before they describe what they have discovered. are very anxious to go gather data without adequately establishing why that data is important. The theory can be provided through an extensive review of literature or. and the other by Garrison (2000): a “theory is a coherent and systematic ordering of ideas. It is a very naïve story.

Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 subject could be dealt with in this way. At elementary levels the whole of a course can be – and in my view should be – developed as a conversation. conversational guides to the study of these difficult scholarly tests and thus help students to study them. online or by speech in recorded form.432 Distances et savoirs. alleviate and guide the study. This is the very simple background of my theory of teaching-learning conversations in distance education. useful comparisons etc. helpful suggestions and encouragement support study motivation and facilitate success. that friendly noncontiguous interaction between students and tutors is brought about and that liberal organisational-administrative structures and processes are created. Basically the theory implies that what applies to the creation of empathy in faceto-face teaching also applies to distance education – provided special measures are taken to make sure that students are engaged in decision making. This led me to the very natural conclusion that if we cater for this empathetic approach in distance education the outcomes of the study will improve. however. problem-oriented and conversation-like. preferably of a Socratic type. There is no reason. Such presentations are available on the market in book form. doesn’t it? Every educator knows that a friendly tone is conducive to good learning. The medium used to bring about empathy is normally friendly conversation. Too often they are merely handbook texts and the interaction with tutors consists mainly of correction and little teaching or explanation. Naturally at academic and similar levels students have to read difficult and complicated scholarly presentations. with what I called a conversational way. That is a parallel of what is done in traditional teaching. given in a helpful and friendly way should. Then at a very early stage – I mentioned the idea in a book of mine of 1960 – it struck me on the one hand that many distance-education courses were little more than school books with self-checking exercises and recurring tasks for submission to the distance-teaching organisation. on the other hand that the atmosphere and style of helpful face-to-face teaching could easily replace this schoolbook style in the way the author of the French course had done. Full explanations. to help students reach their goals. This appears evident. . Why should we deprive distance students of this kind of learning support? It can be provided in print. So why on earth point it out? A study of existing preproduced distance-education courses and of the practice of ‘correcting’ assignments submitted shows clearly that there is every reason to point out the advantages of empathetic conversation-like presentations and student-tutor interaction. The regrettable fact is that still very many. By distance education we can provide empathy-supporting. This is what is done by a good lecturer in traditional teaching. probably most. distance courses have little of this conversational character. why these should be distance-education texts. relevant examples. It is generally accepted that friendly atmosphere. Here we have a good correspondence course like the course in French that I mentioned as our model. that the style of presentation is lucid. That was my first observation. I think.

saying that it is about organizing the educational process to realize economies of scale. Helping (teaching) students is the main purpose of this interaction. and media as well as to students and teachers. Otto Peters on his theory of distance education as the most industrialized form of education At the beginning I should like to express my feelings of disappointment and sadness. My modest theory simply means that a procedure that has proved helpful in traditional education is applicable also to distance education. It was only the other day that I read an article written by D. methods. Among those who are little enthusiastic I count my two respected fellow presenters in this debate. it was only my scholarly interest as a pedagogue that induced me to see what was happening in this peculiar form of education. This theory of mine has been much discussed. a well-known distance education expert. conversation-like presentations and friendly interaction help students to learn. Empathy between those who teach and those who learn is universally a good basis for learning. Randy Garrison (2000). I should like to explain my emotional reaction by telling you something about the genesis of this theory. I had the feeling that this interpretation did not do justice to this entirely different form of teaching and learning. but received with varying degrees of enthusiasm (cf. . This means that I analyzed it with regard to objectives. explaining and providing examples etc. Keegan 1993 and later editions). he characterizes “Peters’ industrial model” as an organizational model. In doing so I came across what was called at that time “correspondence education”. After 50 years of discussion I am still misunderstood in such a massive way. Empirical investigations support these assumptions. content. a form of education that was ignored by educationists and the scientific community. I was not involved in correspondence education myself. Awarding marks (grades) is only a possible secondary part of the tutor’s work. I tried to analyze and describe it by applying those pedagogical criteria that were used by pedagogues at that time. You may be asking yourselves why this is. and looked at it more closely in order to find out characteristic differences between the two forms of education. Easily understandable. Consequently distance education appeared merely as a special form of classroom teaching. I was a pedagogue in the 1960s when I tried to analyze educational approaches. When I had finished I was extremely dissatisfied. as far as I know not rejected. The irony of Garrison’s statement is that I am a pedagogue. and not an expert in organization.Entretiens et conférences 433 The friendly atmosphere is essential also in the interaction between students and tutors. In it. My mistake was that I had applied criteria developed for face-to-face instruction in schools and at universities. This naturally means teaching.

I became aware of a downright revolution in education. I intended to show aspects so far unknown in academia. sociological. rationalization. This is a genuine pedagogical aspect. correspondence colleges. and at universities of the former Soviet Union I found that all of them had something in common: their teaching and learning are highly “industrialized”. Børje Holmberg referred to ten criteria that the production of goods and the production of education have in common. use of technical media. No one had realized this then. and my theory wanted to point to this extraordinary development. at European and U. economical and educational. Distance education is a product of the industrialization of society. “Industrialized education” not only means what I have just described. cultural. – that the first owners of correspondence schools were entrepreneurs who found it adequate and profitable to apply methods of the industrialization of goods to teaching and learning. Even worse. among them division of labour. mass production and rationalization. Therefore I tried to convince these experts – that distance education is a form of teaching and learning that sprang up and developed only in the industrial age and is an expression of industrialization. it means much more. My main point was to show that such an entirely different structure of education requires new and unique learning and teaching behaviors. Let me explain this theory further by referring to two presentations at this workshop.434 Distances et savoirs. use of technical media. universities. among them division of labour. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 After studying the teaching and learning at correspondence schools. and why can education be mass-produced and distributed everywhere? These are things that were very challenging and educationally of great importance. It is important to become aware of it. the use of scientific approaches and scientific methods. I should like to point to aspects of the theory that have been completely ignored. Betty Collis demonstrated in her keynote speech how much scientific knowledge and how many scientific methods are used in order to secure the quality of distance education. The application of scientific knowledge is relevant for the development of industrial production processes. – that a thorough analysis of this theory shows several dimensions: historical. Only “industrial man” was able and willing to study at a distance. All of these descriptive elements suggest that this theory is well-grounded. whereas classroom education represents a pre-industrial (artisan) form of teaching and learning. anthropological. in the same way as . mass production.S. – that there are about ten formal criteria that the two processes have in common. Why can education be distributed to many students who live apart from each other. at UNISA. I was to learn that there were even experts who not only ignored but also tended to deny this characteristic feature of distance education. not noticed up to then.

German scholars clearly did not appreciate it as they were not familiar with distance education and its specific problems at all at that time. which had never been seen and experienced before. the theory was especially convincing to experts who were involved in establishing open universities in the 1970s and 1980s. the essence of this form of learning. The emergence of entirely new forms of learning in online learning is another result of this development. At that time. The first English description of the theory was published by Mackenzie and Christensen (1971). I am interested in these significant pedagogical changes. The theory was conceived in the middle of the 1960s and first published in 1968 (Peters 1968. but especially in teaching and learning. But what was more important: they were seized by the 1968 students’ movement. In subsequent years his strong impulses in the literature provoked animated international discussions. and not in organizational issues. management and pedagogical innovations. consumerism – and to the humanitarian mission of distance education. In it he devoted a whole chapter to the industrialization of distance education (Keegan. 2004). to commercialism. organizational. it relates distance education to the history of learning in a special way. Since then the theory has been dealt with in all scholarly books on distance education and is included in many .Entretiens et conférences 435 “post-industrial man” is able and willing to study in online learning. which focused on the emancipation of traditional students from suppression by academic hierarchies. The change of the very nature of knowledge is a product and consequence of industrialized learning. These new universities combined technical. It helps us to imagine possible future developments of learning. Open universities appeared to be the empirical proof of the theory. It is subtitled “The Industrialization of Teaching and Learning”. Distance Education in Transition (Peters.) (1983) published a translation of the respective chapter of my book “Die didaktische Struktur des Fernunterrichts” (The Pedagogical Structure of Distance Education) (Peters 1973). and of the social processes on which they are based. There was no response from German-speaking educators. as they are the most industrialized distance learning institutions. If you have ever looked at the table of contents of my book. They felt that social processes cannot be planned and calculated at all. Keegan (1994) reinforced this impact by editing a book that carried selected and translated writings of this author. Why is it adequate to interpret distance education by applying this theory? It helps us to understand the reality of learning and teaching at a distance. Keegan’s book “Foundation of Distance Education” made a lasting impact on distance educators. Sewart. They rejected the use of technology in general. 1986) and discussed it at international conferences. Keegan and Holmberg (eds. 1973). It is now crystal clear that this form differs from all pre-industrial forms of learning and teaching. to the world of industrial production. you will see that all articles deal with pedagogical issues that became significant because of the industrialization of education and they do not deal mainly with organizational strategies. It raises our awareness of its specific character. My theory focuses on these radical changes.

I asked my boss what my job is going to be. electronic. That is where I discovered the power of radio. on the part of the learners and on the part of the teachers. now of course the two are separable. Now I suppose I am a bit biased because it was more on the teaching than on the learning side then. I said we need a theory in the English language. delivered through various technologies. we did not have a theory. I gave a presentation in 1972. and if no one else is doing it. mechanical. And through that I ended up going to the U. it was not in the literature and I identified the macro factors. I found that in the literature there was virtually nothing about the pedagogy of what we then called correspondence education.S. you can do it. . or the teaching and learning through the radio. which at that time was a growing field also. I had a quarter of Kenya and nobody else was doing it. I decided to mention correspondence when I heard Dr Otto Peters’ a few minutes ago emphasis on correspondence.. So we need to describe and define and discriminate between the various components of this field To illustrate the theory of transactional distance. I defined “distance teaching” as “instructional methods in which the teaching behaviors are executed apart from the learning behaviors.which was looking at a large sample of what were called American independent study programmes. So I began to do research on this same phenomenon of when people are at a distance as we now call it. the last and most striking example being the virtual MDE course “Foundations of Distance Education” jointly offered by the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and the University of Oldenburg. I defined what happened in a classroom as “contiguous teaching”.436 Distances et savoirs.S. I gave a presentation on what I had done in the two years previously. and I defined distance teaching. That led me into contact with one of the great American university correspondence schools. She has described what I did then. I am building on a presentation by Marrily Stover (UMUC). or other devices” (Moore 1972). but we did not then: What’s going on. so that communication …must be facilitated by print. so I did. and I discovered correspondence education. and he said my job is to do the education of adults. which in Africa I had found be such a powerful medium. That’s also were I began. Dr. Holmberg was then the vice-president of ICCE [International Council for Correspondence Education] and that was my coming out party. which was the terms that I discovered in my study of comparative education. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 digitized MA courses on Distance Education. Michael Graham Moore on his theory of transactional distance Historical perspective: I went to Africa in 1963 after three boring years as a high school teacher in England. In 1965 I spent a month on board a ship coming around the Cape of Good Hope writing a correspondence course. -. When I did my doctorate in education in the U.

and we came up with this kind of classification of these programmes according to the extent to which they had this phenomenon of a dialogue and structure. with all the data on. These included programs delivered by: – TV and radio – Correspondence – Programmed instruction – Computer-assisted instruction – Telephone – Dial access audio tapes Independent learning on campus I had classified them according to the extent to which there was individualisation on the part of the student. although here it shows technologies. And bear in mind. so I had the help of a librarian. although in reality they would also be considered overlapped. so I classified these programmes. and bless her I don’t know where she is now. He classified them by the extent to which generally the learning program was individualized More individualized programs were usually: – – – Correspondence Programmed instruction Independent learning on campus Less individualized programs were: – – – – Computer-assisted instruction TV and radio Telephone groups Dial access audio tapes It broke about something like this. but one of my advisors did not like me using the word interaction for reasons I can’t go into. this analysis was of over a thousand documents describing programs before we had computers. typically programmes delivered through one technology tend to fall into a cluster above or below those or another.Entretiens et conférences 437 First steps Moore started by gathering a large sample of “independent study” programs. and the . I then conceived the idea of constructive interaction. but dialogue is essentially constructive interaction between teacher and learner. The more structured being the less individualised. She helped me organise all these cards.

A programme has more dialogue or less dialogue. transactional distance can be shown in a simple graph. but the change of name came at the time of the publication (Moore 1980). and again showing how they stand and vary according to technology. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 less structured vice-versa. which I can’t at the moment elaborate on. or the other. To put it on a graph it looks like this: He then classified whether the programs involved dialog (“constructive interaction”) between teacher and learner High dialog High individualization Low individualization High individualization Low individualization Independent learning on campus Individual telephone Individual correspondence Group telephone Group correspondence Computer-assisted instruction Programmed instruction Dial access audio tapes TV Radio Textbook study Low dialog It’s quite simple. How the variables of dialog and structure determine How the variables of dialog and structure determine transactional distance can be shown in a simple graph. not either or. more Capacity for individualization less more Structure Tr s an ti ac a on ld i c an st e in e cr as es less more Dialog less . These are continuous variables. showing transactional distance (as I came to call it in the 80’s). these are not discreet packages.438 Distances et savoirs.

computer-assisted instruction less more Dialog less Now. dial access audio tapes Structure 7. GROUP correspondence 4.Entretiens et conférences 439 Typical programs by technology used (Moore. I had a typology that showed autonomy of the student in deciding what to learn. independent study on campus personal tutorials 6. TV 8. 1972. individualized telephone 1. 1973) Transactional distance more more Capacity for individualization less 11. programmed instruction 9. Textbook –self-directed independent reading 10. how to do it.I had read Carl Rogers (1969) and his book “Freedom to Learn” and Malcom Knowles that kind of stuff. GROUP telephone 3. because I was very excited like most people in the early 70’s by the humanistic psychology . if we rotate this diagram we can move on to the second set of variables that I was interested in. how much to do it: . So to what extent was the student involved or engaged in the decision making about what he or she was learning. radio 5. or what I called autonomy. which is from the learner’s side. and that was the extent to which the learner has control or is not going to have control. individualized correspondence teaching 2.

So whole kinds of predictions can come or hypotheses can come and form the interrelationship shown by the model. NNN (no autonomy) 7. NAN (autonomy only in execution--by far the most common situation) . nsa c tion a l d is tanc e This led to. AAA (fully autonomous) AUTONOMY GOALS 4. NAA (autonomy in execution and evaluation— uncommon) 1. ANN (autonomy only in setting goals--uncommon) 2. AAN (autonomy in setting goals and execution) External certification programs Tr a mo re D ia O TI CU XE E lo g N le s s 8. NNA (autonomy only in evaluation—most rare) EVALUATION 5. ANA (autonomy in setting goals and in evaluation) Programmed learning Determinants of autonomy 6. if the theory is not telling you what is not known then it is really not doing us anything. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 Autonomy and transactional distance ion zat uali re e ctur individ a nc dist Struy fo na l acit ctio p nsa lessre Ca Tra mo mo re less the level of autonomy the level of autonomy required of the learner required of the learner increases as transactional increases as transactional distance increases. Autonomy itself is aathree-dimensional Autonomy itself is three-dimensional concept. and leads to hypotheses consistent with what my colleagues have been saying. ItItshows for any program the type concept. As I said that in my front statement about theory.440 Distances et savoirs. shows for any program the type of control that the learner is allowed in: of control that the learner is allowed in: • •establishing goals establishing goals • •executing the learning program executing the learning program • •evaluating progress evaluating progress 3. distance increases.

increase in height (autonomy). structure and dialog When autonomy is low the need for structure is high When structure is low the need for autonomy is high Programs with low dialog require a high degree of learner autonomy. Or can develop very unstructured courses. a course taught online. An autonomous learner could put together a highly structured learning program for him/herself — or could make a loosely structured program. Programs with low dialog and low structure require a higher degree of learner autonomy. technology that allows a low degree of structure and a high degree of dialogue. Learners with high autonomy require less dialog. For instance. with little room for learner autonomy in setting goals. permitting a low degree of learner . the glass represents the degree of the autonomy that’s permitted and the liquid then shows the autonomy that’s required. As one steps away from the origin As one steps away from the origin (dialog or structure). viewed as a set of tiered platforms. the steps also increase in height (autonomy). more Transactional distance high more Autonomy permitted/ required by the teaching method less more less Structure low Dialog less As you step away from the origin. execution or evaluation. 441 Another way of looking at it is as a set of platforms … this is another illustration of the model: A 3D Model of transactional distance Transactional distance can be Transactional distance can be viewed as a set of tiered platforms.Entretiens et conférences Examples of hypothesized relationships of autonomy. less structure Etc Highly autonomous learners may engage in auto-dialog Course designers can develop very highly structured courses. Different teaching programmes can be viewed as glasses stacked on these tiers. and then the steps increase in height this is the autonomy permitted or acquired by the teaching method. the steps also (dialog or structure). allowing learners to exercise a high degree of autonomy.

which gets us back to the original investigations. transactional distance decreases and structure decreases Transactional Distance (t)= Transactional Distance (t-dt) + (structure-dialog) x dt. T ra n s a c tio n a l D is ta n c e Saba’s systems dynamics hypotheses: When structure increases. but I wanted to show that.442 Distances et savoirs. So using the construct we see that we can design courses for different degrees of autonomy by varying the dialogue and structure. and his is a rather complicated model based on systems’ dynamics. transactional distance increases and dialog decreases. When dialog increases. It depends on the designers. that what we consider is the capacity of the learner for how high he or she can reach. transaction distance lies in bigger systems. could be designed with a high structure and a low dialogue and requires a high degree of learner autonomy. I want to mention one elaboration: Farhad Saba. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 autonomy. I hope I am not offending Dr Peters the way I have drawn this. The fact. . He is working on the hypothesis of the relationship of transaction systems to dialogue and structuring transaction distance. has done more work than anyone in further exploring this. close to finally. He’s come up with some mathematical formula which he can model on a computer (Saba and Shearer 1994). And. and from a research point of view we can explore and test many interactions within and between these variables. San Diego State University. according to Saba again.

which is my note at the bottom there. it is only about teaching and learning – it is interesting that Dr Peters emphasizes the same commitment to teaching and learning and not to organisations. . I will hold my concluding comment until the conclusion. and that’s how I put empathy in here … The new frontier of course for all of us is the interaction and dialogue within and between learning groups. I see Dr Holmberg’s invaluable contribution being more focused on the teacher and the teacher’s relationship to the learner. With new interactive technology we have the potential for dialogue between learners and a new form of learner-learner autonomy that reduces the transaction distance for each student. (Peters) others with smaller systems (Holmberg) Mine is only a pedagogical theory. can I say he is dealing with teaching and learning but on a somewhat more macro level than I am. I focused on the role of autonomy but there are many other variables inside the learner that may be of importance and of interest.Entretiens et conférences 443 TD vis a vis Peters and Holmberg “transactional distance is an open system residing in a larger environment in the instructional systems level which is in turn part of a larger system in the hierarchical model” (Saba 2007) TD is only a pedagogical theory … a theory about teaching and learning Some theorists deal with larger systems. but I do suggest that some theory still with larger systems. I am certainly relating only learning and teaching through this process of dialogue.

which I will return to before I finish. like Otto Peters’. In Popper’s thinking you can never prove a theory right. They are stated very clearly in my book of 2000 (2nd ed. each student. evaluation) learner learner autonomy teacher dialogue teacher empathy LEARNING GROUPS With new interactive With new interactive technology we have technology we have potential for dialog potential for dialog between learners and aa between learners and new form of learner-learner new form of learner-learner autonomy reducing the autonomy reducing the transactional distance for transactional distance for each student. I referred to the hypotheses derived from my theory. The studies did not falsify the theory (Holmberg. empathy is one component of teacher system 3 . in 2003). Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 Instructional-learning system Instructional program structure (content. strategies. We examined the theory in Popper’s spirit. But the more general thing that I am preaching concerns education generally. I formulated a series of hypotheses based on this theory and had them tried out very. As long as you don’t succeed in killing a theory by proving it wrong (by falsifying it) you may accept it as an ad-hoc theory (until something better appears). Schuemer and Obermeier 1982). And that is probably why people have . Only five minutes were given to each for reflecting on these various issues Børje Holmberg on implications of his theory on further research My own research has an empirical character. but you can prove if it is wrong.444 Distances et savoirs. are really about distance education and about nothing else. very critically by statisticians. called Distance education in essence. An important question is: Can my thinking lead to further research? I have a favourite idea of mine. Autonomy is one component of the learner system. objectives. Generally theories specific to distance education.Finally each of them was asked to reflect on the implications of their respective theory on research into online distance education and e-learning as well as the development of theories in the field in distance education with an outlook into future developments. But the principle of my theoretical thinking is better expressed in my book of 2005 “The evolution principles and practices of distance education”.

to integrate patterns of cognition into their learning. I have even been corrected by an Australian who insisted that it is not only the young and inexperienced. This theory may prevent researchers from continuing to design research projects based on traditional educational and pedagogical assumptions that may still be dear to our heart. 4. 5. The theory applies to distance education and to online learning only and exclusively. is applicable also to distance education.Entretiens et conférences 445 agreed with me to such a great extent. but an inherent element of a powerful societal development. The theory urges researchers to explore how far the state of mind of our postmodern students influences and changes learning. learning behaviour. taken over from general education. Researchers are reminded by this theory that it was industrial man who was able. The meaning of student-centeredness and studentorientation acquires new dimensions. Only post-industrial man and-post modern man are able to explore virtual spaces as they are challenged to develop a special degree of creativity. willing and even eager to learn at a distance by correspondence. Otto Peters on implications of his theory on further research 1. culturally. with their own advantages and disadvantages. 6. not only of learning itself but also of attitudes towards learning. and of life in general. The theory helps researchers to see. sociologically and even anthropologically. but a genuine new form of learning with its own principles and its own criteria. with its own unprecedented advantages and also its own serious deficiencies. which is broken down and no longer linear. Only post industrial man is able to exploit oral and written communication. but are obsolete. Distance education and online education are a form of teaching and learning sui generis. . flexibility and willingness to make use of virtual communication. understand and internalize that online distance education is not just another version of traditional learning using new media for distribution. It makes clear that when we start exploring online distance education we enter a new world in which extraordinary and unforeseen progress in disseminating knowledge and skills can be made. 2. and that it is post-industrial man and post-modern man who are able to learn at a distance in virtual spaces – quite a different system. The theory makes it crystal clear to researchers that online distance education is not just the product of ingenious instructional design. reasoning power. designing imagination. for their own sake. openness. 3. Here we enter another pedagogical world. It is equally important to all (Mitchell 1992) The gist of what I am saying is that the empathy approach. economically. who benefit from the application of my conversational approach. Learners are able to think in configurations as well. The theory heightens the awareness of researchers of deep-rooted transformations.

learning and teaching require new ideas and new strategies. The theory may help researchers to abstain from transplanting models and experiences of face-to-face education into this new world. There is ample evidence that people find this a useful basis for their research. Here. but as a theorist I am not advocating autonomy. It has proven useful and encouraging others to write … I have cited Dr. This workshop has shown that much progress has already been achieved in this direction. probably in 1998. Greville Rumble I couldn’t get up there either. I think. And that is one of my principal points of disagreement about Dr Holmberg’s own theory. Peters. It is purely descriptive. and here are eminent people who endorse this as having value. Desmond Keegan I couldn’t get up there on the slide. which I think is prescriptive. . … I am not advocating any of these. I am advocating – if advocate is the right work . if I was to be prescriptive -. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 7. We can come back to this discussion because I see. It’s purely descriptive … Transactional distance theory has had the principal effect. it is not prescriptive. I have cited Professor Alan Tait who is in the audience. and the first beginning was Saba. I have cited Farhad Saba with regard to authoritative views of the value of transaction distance. what the curriculum and the structure can do and what the instructor can do in the dialogue. Michael Graham Moore on implications of his theory on further research: I don’t really have a lot to say about this. my ideas of autonomy is for some students.446 Distances et savoirs. And here is a whole list of studies most of which are doctoral studies.S. and I believe in autonomy. I think that we can agree that theory is describing of reality rather than prescribing an agenda. because as a person I believe in friendliness. But theory. of having the field of distance education taken seriously in the U. didn’t I say about earlier in the beginning. theory develops authority as people find it useful. they are well able and ought. one or two people in the audience even. Down as recently as 2005.be left alone.. I was asked about misunderstandings. and more kindness and friendliness is not necessarily helping the learning process.the appropriate balance between what the learners can do. and it was not when I first studied in 1972. It’s up there It was never intended to be other than an explanation of one part of the field. I am prescriptive and sometimes that is misunderstood.

university teachers but they were not trained educationists or students of education. (1998) * Huang (2000) Kanuka. and then within that I can see a whole set where transactional distance is such that it is a recognised or a discreet set of teaching-learning relationship. Now you are going to say and I would agree. Nti. if you are in the subset we call distance education. So the short answer is. Caspi. who was not in distance education. It’s hardly surprising when you consider that the concepts are grounded in or derived from mainstream education psychology. somewhere now there is a blurring in between what you would recognise as technology in the classroom and technology being used in distance education. . (1996) * Gayol (1996) * Walker Fernandez (1999) Vrasidas and MacIsaac (1999) * * Bischoff (1993) Bunker. So I can see the education universe. et al (2005) * Dupin-Bryant (2004) Avive. M. 1999) Chen. and Caswell (2002) * Dron (2002. The terms transaction comes from John Dewey. and Gava (2003) Gorsky.Entretiens et conférences 447 Examples of empirical studies (mostly doctoral) based on transactional distance Saba (1988) * Saba and Twitchell (1988) * Shinkle (2001) * * * Atkinson (1999) * * Braxton (1999) * Zhang (2003) Gallo (2001) Bischoff et al. et al (2005) * Lemone (2005) * It appeared obvious after a period of time that what was being described as transactional distance exists in all teaching-learning relationship. But in somewhat accentuated form. for me the phenomena of dialogue. structure. (1997) * Chen and Willits (1998. education philosophy. where there is transactional distance in all teaching relationships. I can see transactional distance. and Reidell (1996) * Moore. Ravid. autonomy and transactional distance are indeed to be found wherever one looks at teaching and learning. Wanstreet. for his perspective. Collett. (1999) Anderson (1999) Hopper (2000) * Rovai (2000) * Chen Y. and Trumper (2004) * Wikeley and Muschamp (2004) * Munro (1991) * Brenner (1996) Richardson (1998) * Thompson. Autonomy came from Rogers (1969) and Maslow (1968) who were psychotherapists essentially. where Dr. Y. Wanstreet. Erlich. Gayol. and Tuvi-Arid (2004) * Ofir et al 2004 * * * * Gorsky. he was well into children in classrooms. distance education is that subset of education relationships where the transactional distance is of such significance that essential adjustments of communication and organisation are necessary. Peters says absolutely not. So I am left to say that. Caspi. 2004) * Stein. (2001) * Clouse (2001) Williams (2003) * Edstrom (2002) * Wheeler (2002) * Lee and Gibson (2003) * Witte and Wolf (2003) * Lowell (2004) * Stein.H.

almost incontestable knowledge about how students learn. This would give us a chance to interview students all over the world on their learning strategies and practices. detailed instructions on how interviews with students should be carried out created by a group of international scholars. wouldn’t it. principles for the evaluation of students’ replies specified in cooperation with a group of international experts and competent evaluators engaged. and the panellists for concluding remarks Børje Holmberg’s concluding remarks We have a lot of assumptions about how students learn. Where do we find a research institute prepared to start the work. It would require standardising procedures. who have made qualitative interview studies of the mental processes which mediate. thus come between. hypothesising.448 Distances et savoirs. It would be wonderful. 1990 and 1992). Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 4 . if we could find real. find interviewers and interview examiners. several parallel examiners interpreting and scrutinising the interviews and a also central body for coordinating the work. elaborating and generating. The studies carried out have included very small groups of students only. but it would produce substantial knowledge of how most people learn and about possible regional or national differences. I ask myself if it would not be possible to widen studies of this kind in a way to give us more substantial knowledge. They have paid attention to such mediating processes as strategy planning. the teaching and the learning outcomes (Marland et al. What I have indicated is one of several possibilities for really useful research. A group of Australian researchers have indicated a possible procedure. This would be a vast undertaking. to bring this information together and draw constructive conclusions from it. das Zentrale Institut für Fernstudienforschung (ZIFF) at the FernUniversität. but generally work with assumptions. a group of interviewers engaged and duly instructed.After all the audience was invited for a discussion. Otto Peters’ concluding remarks I have a positive feeling and two negative ones. . Were I still active and had I my former research institute. which would also give us a firm basis for further theory building and practical conclusions. initiate and carry out as well as coordinate work of this kind? I briefly mentioned this plan already at the first EDEN research workshop in Prague in 2000. What I have in mind are the studies carried out by Marland and his group. Suppose a battery of interview questions were developed. wellgrounded. I should be strongly tempted to attempt this extremely interesting but very difficult project.

entirely absorbed and not noticing anything else around them. This does not mean that I am opposed to online-learning altogether. I think research should bring light into this development. There are futurists who predict that by the end of our century there will be a fusion of the computer and the human being. but even dismiss it. Therefore I have written an article. what the consequences will be for learning and teaching. Worse. Michael Graham Moore’s concluding remarks I very much appreciated the question of the hierarchy of theory. The second negative feeling is caused by my concern about the future of online learning. Last year I became aware of the fact that most information and communication experts do not appreciate face-to-face dialogues. entitled “Plea for an oral dialogue in online-learning” (cf. In this article I described all the obvious deficiencies of virtual dialogues and all the definite advantages of face-to-face dialogues. I expected that in such a university technical experts and technological problems would dominate the discussion of this workshop. I did not expect this and I am glad about this – international – development. In the same way learning and teaching will become even more industrialized. To explore this aspect could be a relevant objective for future research. However. and what will happen to us. for example under certain conditions learners will respond better than in other conditions. I believe that industrialization and commercialization will continue changing our societies and our private lives to an unprecedented degree. For myself I believe that that’s what we are . regarding them as obsolete. We lose a lot if we neglect or ignore face-toface dialogues in online learning.g. Peters 2006). On the other hand I do have negative feelings with regard to one special aspect of online learning. This is of course so far only a prediction of futurists. and the end of the question said something like it would be desirable to move from description to explanation to prediction. as a contribution to and enhancement of e-learning. I saw that most of their authors do not deal with face-to-face discussions at all. I think that is exactly right.Entretiens et conférences 449 The positive feeling developed when staying and working for the first time at a real virtual university: the Universidade Oberta de Catalunya. e. The fusion predicted for the end of this century has already started. Quite the opposite. Therefore. some of them not only ignore this form of education. when I took part in some of the afternoon sessions I became enthusiastic about what was discussed there: problems of pedagogy. Checking books on online learning. discussed on a high level of reflection. show very clearly what is going on. Human beings will then lose their traditional identity because a new phenomenon will exist: the “man-machine”. But I recommend that online learning with face-to-face meetings are combined wherever and whenever possible and adequate. you can already see persons tied to their computers. I greatly appreciate your articulating that perspective. but when you walk across this building.

if you are ready: Michael Graham Moore then comments the following slides : . So. So there is an awful lot of wheel spinning and misdirected energy both in application and research because the theory isn’t known and it comes back to where I work. the colleges of education.G. nothing of the kind of issues we’ve been talking about here today. What does that matter? It’s not a matter of vanity. But it goes to Ross’s [M. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 trying to do in the application of transactional distance theory and it’s where I don’t really conflict with Børje. For everyone we turn out who knows. Autonomy is a very good thing for some people and some subjects under some conditions. So the interesting research questions are “under what conditions for what kind of learners is what degree of autonomy desirable? I really think we are close on this. and then I’ll shut up. I would say there is a range of degrees of empathy in teaching programmes. ten more bought a computer and they’ve got online and they are doing things. His question is absolutely super. It’s the same for autonomy. If I were representing Børje’s. it is that they do stupid things and they got research questions to which we either know the answer or we know there is not an answer. I don’t know whether to be optimistic … I guess it’s like in the Dark Ages. refers to Ross Paul] point. and for some students less empathy is important. and a very bad thing for other people. and if we could stop spending energy and time and money re-labelling what we do. I really think if we could only get ourselves organised better. and many of you in these institutions. but in some ways we are being loved to death! People are talking about what they do with a computer and they say: “you know.450 Distances et savoirs.M. usually in a very misdirected way. it truly is a communication issue. we are not doing a very good job of educating the generations of educators in our discipline. we can take these variables and we can generate a decent research agenda. and for some students more empathy is important. it is not comfortable. if I may. An interesting research question is which is which? Rather than “empathy is a good thing for everybody”. some of us will keep the light alive … and I am not being too negative : let me put up my closing thought. we are into distance education” and they know nothing of the pedagogy.

other studies had little relationship to established learning theories”. 1988. curriculum design. philosophy. Some studies raised a research question and discussed the findings and theoretical framework. 1998).a summary of knowledge in one part of the field … the teaching-learning process. which was not the case before 1972. examples are shown in the Handbook chapter. including education psychology. As such. more or less structure ……. This is NOT so. cited in Munro. Conclusion and future directions Jung (2001): “WBI research showed little resemblance to established pedagogical theory in general or distance education theory in particular. I am quoting Insung Jung. While some studies raised their research question and discussed the findings in theoretical frameworks. And she came up with some realistic conclusions: When she looked across all the research it showed little resemblance to established pedagogical theory in general or distance education theory in particular. it is purely descriptive …. more or less dialogue. Learner to learner based on constructivist philosophy and methodology with implications for study of learner autonomy . who is a Korean scholar who did a very nice survey of web based instruction from the perspective of transactional distance. It has proven useful in encouraging others to write about theory and it has proven useful as a foundation for research. It is not prescriptive …… some authors think I am an advocate for more or less learner autonomy. instruction as requirement for higher education practice and research Leading to research better grounded in theory Either way: I expect more attention to delivery methods that are “transactional” rather than “transmissive” (Burge. other studies had little relationship to established learning theories … and I find that unhappy… but realistic. --. I am happy that transactional distance theory has served at least one purpose successfully which is to ensure that distance education is taken seriously as a field of study in the United States.Entretiens et conférences 451 “concluding comment on how you view the interpretations of and the debate(s) about your theory” I have very little to comment …… One thing I would like to point out is that transactional distance theory was/is no more than that. I fear: further proliferation of conceptual confusion and mis-directed research energy I hope: More and better study of educational theory.

Nous invitons dès à présent les lecteurs et praticiens de cette seconde édition à nous proposer leur réflexion critique sur tout ou partie du “handbook”. Constructivist philosophy which I consider to be humanistic psychology warmed over for the 21st century. flexible learning. several people in the audience have a chapter in it … Erlbaum is the publisher. so why should we have a conference on E-learning rather than E-education? So what is E anyway? When I was teaching online with video was I into E? Sure I was! I don’t know how we are going to solve this. I am not wildly optimistic but I am not too depressed … let’s see what happens! The handbook of distance education in its second edition comes out next year. . So on the score of 1 to 10. I hope more research connected to theories through the study of education theories including the foundations … I expect at least there will be more attention to learner-learner dialogue. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 I fear that this may get worse. Conceptual confusion drives me crazy: distributed learning. where am I? Somewhere in the middle. but that’s OK. _______________________ Distances et savoirs wishes to extend the discussion that started at the conference. Distances et savoirs souhaite prolonger les échanges suscités au cours de cette conférence. e-learning and … Have you ever been to a conference on learning and then half the people were talking about teaching? We come to a conference on e-learning because we know we are going to talk about teaching and learning.452 Distances et savoirs. it’s obvious. and this will lead to more understanding of that area that I have shown an interest in. Peters has a chapter in it. by drawing up a new issue of the journal around this second edition of the “Handbook of distance education” announced here by Michael Graham Moore. what I call here non-theoretical grabbing at data. but that is a natural. of learner autonomy and what is appropriate dialogue with teachers and appropriate course structures. We invite the readers and the « practitioners » of this second edition to propose their critical thinkings on all of part of the « handbook ». that’s driving a lot of the enthusiasm in schools of education. open learning. en préparant un prochain numéro autour de la seconde édition du “Handbook of distance education” annoncée par Michael Graham Moore. Holmberg has a chapter in it. I have a chapter in it.

4. 2005. Jung I. Vol... pp.pdf . 2000. 10 of B. Issue 5.. Schuemer R. McMillan J.G. Putt I. 2003... Otto Peters on distance education. Guided didactic conversation: The use of Holmberg’s concept in higher education. Graff and H. 1982.E. 1984. 1. (1993 and later).. “Theoretical Challenges for Distance Education in the 21st Century: A shift from structural to transactional issues”. and Obermeier A. Hagen: FernUniveität.F. 2001 pp. Keegan D. In: The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Vol.. 2. Oldenburg: Bibliotheks. 1983. 1960.F. Convergence. K. Research in education: A conceptional introduction. Ch.). “Some Educational Implications of the Humanistic Psychologies”. 5 No. 1.Entretiens et conférences 453 References Bollnow O. Harvard Educational Review.ajde. Wilmersdoerfer (Eds. Marland P. Keegan D. The evolution. Mitchell I. 1992. “Thinking while studying: a process tracing study of distance learners”. Paris: Peter Lang.. Avd. In G. 1972. Foundations of distance education. 1990. “Theoretical approaches. London and New York: Routledge. British Journal of Educational Technolog Vol. 1.. (Ed. London: Routledge. 1992. 76-88... Holmberg”. On the methods of teaching by correspondence. Ortner. Vol. 1986. Distance education as two-way communication. Holmberg B.. Oldenburg: Bibliotheksund Holmberg B. Informationssysem der Universität Oldenburg. and Christensen E... Distance Education. ZIFF. 525-534. R. Bern.M. Building a theoretical framework of web-based instruction in the context of distance education..) Theoretical principles of distance education. pp. and Schumacher S. 1994. Patching W. Distance education in essence.. Zur Effizienz des gelenkten didaktischen Gespräches (with a summary in English). Essays in honour of Börje Holmberg (pp 123-132) Frankfurt A. and Putt R. Vol. Holmberg B.. 2nd edition. principles and practices of distance education. The changing world of correspondence study. 11.. Moore M. No.). (ed. Available online at http://www. 2. 1968. Eine Einführung in seine Philosophie. Learner autonomy: The second dimension of independent learning. 195-217.com/Documents/learner_autonomy. 71-91. 38.. The industrialization of teaching and learning. H. Boston: Little Brown. and Putt I. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.. “Distance learners’ interaction with text while studying”. Bd 54 Nr 2.. H. 1967. L. 1. Patching W. 13. MacKenzie O. No. Marland P. Holmberg B.und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg. pp. London: Routledge. Dilthey. 2. No. Garrison D. No.. Keegan D.. Lunds universitetsårsskrift N. Vol. New York. Distance Education. Stuttgart: Klett. Maslow A.

Beckenham: Croom Helm. Merril Publishing Company. . Weinheim: Beltz. 1. Ed. Peters O. No. New trends and challenges. Peters O. pp.. 1969.ajde.. International perspectives. pp 16–31.. Popper K.com/Documents/theory.pdf Moore M. “Verifying key theoretical concepts in a dynamic model of distance education”. Moore M. Peters O.. London: Hutchinson.und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg. CA: Wadsworth.G. 2005.). In M. Das Fernstudium an Universitäten und Hochschulen.. Distance education. 2004. Saba F..G. In R.. Ohio: Charles E. The Theory of Transactional Distance (Chapter 8). Weinheim: Beltz. Sewart D. 2007. Didaktische Struktur and vergleichende Interpretation. Redefining the Discipline of Adult Education. “Towards a theory of independent learning and teaching”.. A systems view.com/Documents/independent_study.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2007. “Independent Study”. 44. Die didaktische Struktur des Fernunterrichts. In Handbook of Distance Education.ajde. (43-56). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks. Apps (Eds. Belmont. 1973.G. 1998. and Shearer R. The logic of scientific discovery. Journal of Higher Education. Rogers C. The American Journal of Distance Education.454 Distances et savoirs. (eds).. 2nd edition Mahwah. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 8. 1973.pdf Moore M. Vol. 1980. Peters O.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. Freedom to Learn. 36-57. Mahwah NJ.. 1980. 1968. Available online at http://www. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 Moore M. Saba F. and Kearsley G. Available online at http://www. Moore. Keegan D. 2nd. 1994. 661-679. Untersuchungen zu einer industrialisierten Form des Lehrens und Lernens. London: Kogan Page. Distance education in transition. Learning and teaching in distance education. Boyd and J. 1983. Distance education.G. Handbook of Distance Education. 4th edition. and Holmberg B. NJ.. Columbus....G. A Systems approach in theory building.

« Growth and Structure of Distance Education » (Croom Helm. « Mediated Communication as a Component of Distance Education » (FernUniversität.(mult. principles and practices of distance education » (BIS-Verlag. En 1966 il est nommé Directeur Général de la Fondation Hermods. comme en témoignent par exemple ses articles publiés dans « Open Learning » et « Epistolodidaktika ». Börje Holmberg devient directeur de l’enseignement d’Hermods en Suède.se Börje Holmberg est né en 1924 à Malmö. h. En 1956. Börje Holmberg est docteur honoraire de la Deakin University in Australia et de l’Open University au Royaume Uni. il est Chevalier de . 1986). Allemagne. trois monographies et plusieurs articles. Il a étudié l’anglais.c3l. une deuxième edition révisée en a été publiée par Routledge (London. une académie des sciences fondée en 1792. Il est membre de Kungliga Fysiografiska Saellskapet i Lund.de/24738. Pendant la période passée à la tête d’Hermods Börje Holmberg publie des études sur l’éducation à distance. Il a ainsi pris part à la conception d’une nouvelle université à distance dans le domaine des sciences appliquées. Oldenburg. de 1955 à 1975 enregistrait entre 75 000 et 100 000 étudiants par an.c. Dr. l’allemand. Il publie plusieurs ouvrages et de nombreux articles dans des revues scientifiques. les langues romanes et les sciences de l’éducation à l’Université de Lund. concernant par exemple ses travaux sur l’approche empathique et la théorie de la « conversation instructive guidée ». Il est également actif en tant que praticien du domaine. En 1976. Börje Holmberg devient Professeur en méthodologie de l’enseignement à distance et Directeur de l’Institut pour la recherche en enseignement à distance à la FernUniversität à Hagen. fonction qu’il quittera en 1975 lorsque le gouvernement suédois prend le contrôle d’Hermods. 2005). Dr.holmberg@strandhusen. Parmi ses travaux on peut mentionner « Theory and Practice of Distance Education ». plusieurs rapports de recherche.Entretiens et conférences 455 Biographies BÖRJE HOLMBERG Référence : http://www.) Börje Holmberg Professor Emeritus FernUniversität Hagen E-mail: b. alors la plus importante organisation d’enseignement à distance en Europe. la « Private FernFachhochschule Darmstadt » dont il en fut le Recteur de 1994 à 2001. London. 1989) et « The evolution. qui. Après sa retraite de la FernUniversität Börje Holmberg continue de contribuer à la recherche et au débat sur l’enseignement à distance. New York) en 1990.html Prof. où il a également obtenu son doctorat en 1956.uni-oldenburg. en Allemagne. Suède. Hagen.

de/24837.uni-oldenburg. ce qui se traduit par des activités à la Banque Mondiale et de nombreuses missions de consultations pour l’Unesco. établit le premier cursus de cours de licence enseigné à distance. le Fonds monétaire international et le Commonwealth of Learning ainsi que pour plusieurs gouvernements étrangers. Ph.c3l. ainsi que de l’Ordre de la Rose Blanche en Finlande. lance un symposium national de recherche sur l’enseignement à distance.D. Moore est reconnu dans les milieux universitaires pour sa prééminence dans la promotion de l’enseignement à distance aux Etats-Unis. où il fonde la première revue scientifique américaine (American Journal of Distance Education). Adult Education University of Wisconsin-Madison. Il indique par ailleurs avoir l’expérience d’un enseignement ayant recours à toutes les technologies possibles et s’adressant à pratiquement tous les types d’étudiants. « Distance Education: a Systems View ». et une communauté d’intérêt en ligne (DEOS).D.. En effet après avoir travaillé pendant pendant neuf ans à l’Open University du Royaume Uni il rejoint l’Université de Penn State en 1986. japonais et coréen. et le « Handbook of Distance Education » (2003 et 2007). Professor of Education The Pennsylvania State University E-mail: mgmoore@psu. 1996 et 2005). et ses publications incluent « Contemporary Issues in American Distance Education » (Pergamon Press.html Michael Graham Moore. publié par la suite en chinois. Tout en enseignant le premier cours diplômant de niveau licence sur l’enseignement à distance à l’Université de Wisconsin dans les années 70 il contribue à la création de la conférence annuelle nationale en ce même lieu. avec Greg Kearsley comme co-auteur (Wadsworth Publishers. et il témoigne d’un certain nombre de « premières » dans son domaine. MICHAEL GRAHAME MOORE Référence : http://www. 1990). et une expérience éducative de sept ans en Afrique au commencement de sa carrière sont à l’origine d’un intérêt soutenu pour l’éducation pour le développement . Moore est membre des comités éditoriaux de la plupart des principales revues d’enseignement à distance. Ph. Michael G. Ses diplômes universitaires en économie et en éducation. .456 Distances et savoirs.edu Domaines d’intérêt : Enseignement à Distance. Il a publié les premières approches de sa théorie sur l’enseignement à distance en 1972. Volume 5 – n° 3/2007 l’Ordre Royal de Vasa en Suède. Développent international.

Open University of Hong Kong). écrit nombre d’ouvrages. En 1975 il devient le Recteur fondateur de la FernUniversitaet à Hagen et occupe cette fonction pendant près de dix ans. . N.html Otto Peters est professeur émérite à la FernUniversitaet – l’Université ouverte et à distance allemande – à Hagen. le contrôle de qualité. Il est né à Berlin. dont le plus récent est « Distance Education in Transition ». Deakin University. Certains de ses livres ont été traduits en espagnol. en 1926. dans sa quatrième édition. Otto Peters n’en continue pas moins d’étudier les aspects pédagogiques de l’enseignement à distance et en ligne.uni-oldenburg. Australia. Il a étudié les sciences de l’éducation. Il a rendu visite et étudié de nombreuses institutions éducatives sur tous les continents. chinois et anglais. Otto Peters a été Vice Président de l’International Council of Distance Education pendant huit ans.. Il est un expert et mentor régulier pour le programme en ligne du Master d’enseignement à distance des « Fondations de l’enseignement à distance » conjointement offert par le Collège universitaire de l’Université du Maryland aux Etats-Unis et l’Université d’Oldenburg en Allemagne.c3l. coréen. En 1999 il lui a été décerné le Prix d’Excellence de l’ICDE pour ses contributions tout au long de sa carrière au domaine de l’enseignement à distance. Depuis 1965 l’activité d’Otto Peters a porté sur la description et l’interprétation de l’enseignement à distance strictement en tant que chercheur. et enfin comme Professeur de Conception educative (Instructional Design) à Berlin.de/zef/asf/otto. Il est docteur honoraire de quatre universités (Open University. Empire State College. Professeur émérite à la FernUniversitaet depuis 1991.Entretiens et conférences 457 OTTO PETERS Référence : http://www.htm http://www.Y. publié par l’University of Oldenburg press (BIS-Verlag). tout d’abord au Centre de l’Education de Berlin. Il est le premier à avoir introduit les concepts de planification et d’organisation dans l’analyse de l’enseignement à distance et à lui avoir attribué des caractéristiques « industrielles » telles que la division du travail. Il consacre ensuite exclusivement ses activités à la recherche sur l’enseignement à distance. le marketing. England. portugais. la gestion.de/24739.uni-oldenburg. la psychologie et la philosophie à l’Université de Humbolt et à l’Université Libre de Berlin et obtenu son doctorat à l’Université de Tuebingen. puis à l’Institut allemand pour la recherche en enseignement à distance.