Distance learning environments must be designed with the learner in mind (Moller, Foshay, Huett, 2008). Distance learning has it barriers when it comes to communication and building a social network within the distance environment. It is very important to create an infrastructure that is designed to promote students growth and success. One way to do that is to adhere to the "equivalency theory" (Laureate Education Inc., 2008). The equivalency theory states that face to face students and distance learning students can receive the same quality of education, although, it is administered in a completely different manner (Laureate Education Inc., 2008). Anderson speaks of four goals that will help the instructor design such appropriate learning experiences.
The four goals (making learner explicitly aware of outcomes, assessing for outcome achievement, instructional methods sequential to promote learning, and feedback provided to help the learner monitor learning and growth) described by Ally makes for a well rounded online learning interface for all students (Anderson, 2008). If one of the goals is omitted, the student will not be able to employ the learning materials designed to make them competent in the subject matter.
The distance learning environment especially needs these four goals in place to maximize the learning and teaching experience in each distance classroom portal
Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning. (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of Distance Education. Baltimore: Author
Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008, July/August). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 2: Higher Education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70