Evaluating Pork Producers Acceptance of Distance Education Medias
Purdue University 1999 Swine Research Report. Distance education is any instructional situation in which the learner is separated in time or space from the point of origin. It is characterized by limited access to the educator and other learners (Heinich et al., 1996). This allows educators the ability to reach learners of a more diverse and geographically dispersed audience, which is not accessible through traditional classroom or seminar instructional settings. Participation in this type of education can be a selfpaced situation that can take place wherever the learner prefers. Due to the continuum of change within the swine industry, producers have developed a need for educational resources to help them survive in such a fast-changing industry. One way to provide these swine producers the material they need is through the use of distance education, where the educational materials are provided in a more flexible manner. A survey conducted by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) concluded that producers are not willing to travel more than sixty miles to receive educational training (National Pork Producers Council, 1995). Distance education can be delivered to the producer and they will not have to leave their production site to be educated, eliminating the loss of additional production hours during travel for gaining the knowledge. Distance education medias seem to be a very logical way to solve the educational need of the swine industry, but will the swine producers in the industry really accept it? Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and Indiana Pork Producers Association joined together to expose pork producers to the technologies and medias of distance education and display educational material that had previously been developed for distance education.