Paradigms, Distance Learning, Education and Philosophy


  • Andrew Higgins Andrew Higgins Ltd



Distance Education philosophy


The purpose of this article is to illuminate some of the difficulties experienced by distance educators in the philosophical sense. It will show  distance learning practice is still a highly pragmatic enterprise that is academically successful. Despite its academic success distance learning is not accepted by the education profession generally because it challenges the most fundamental paradigm of western education, namely, the co-location in time and space of teachers, students and resources.  Distance learning challenges the need for a place or institution for study, for example, a school. This appears to disrupt the social and economic imperatives of having a place to work. Finally, distance learning challenges the socialisation purposes used by society through schools to enculture young people.

Author Biography

Andrew Higgins, Andrew Higgins Ltd

Andrew worked and studied as a remote student in Western Australia, at the then Western Australian School of Mines, Kalgoorlie, (now Curtin University). He studied through the University of Queensland’s Extramural Studies Department while working as a teacher in remote North Queensland. He later tutored remote and rural tertiary students, and oversaw and taught in the Rural Secondary School Support Scheme via the Queensland Correspondence School before taking up an administrative role. As Manager of Distance Learning, Andrew oversaw the development and implementation of learning programmes for serving officers of the Queensland Police, especially in remote areas. He became President of the Australian Rural Education Research Association and then President of the then Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ, now FLANZ). He has been Director of E learning at a large New Zealand University, has written widely on rural and distance education and on e-learning, sat on government advisory committees, appeared before parliamentary inquiries, and sat on a Cabinet special purposes committee concerning education.