Distance Learning is an educational method that uses the Internet to support class discussions and activities. This paper presents a qualitative study that investigates the role changes that occur when classes go online or become “virtual”. We examine several distance learning initiatives that have been implemented in information technology curricula in the past decade. Our analysis is based upon the principles of natural learning. The findings suggest that the cognitive role of the learners, a role that relates to the mental processes of learning and thinking, shifts to one of deeper cognitive complexity when classes are given online. Overall, students reported a change in learning behaviour when classes went online. Those results indicate the importance of identifying and analyzing the requirements for employing distance learning as well as the technologies that make use of these requirements.


Distance Learning, Education, Simulations


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper