Home-study courses are not a new innovation. They have been around for decades and have been dispersed in a variety of forms for students.

As technology evolves, so do home-study courses, providing an evolution of educational material. That evolution has made the learning experience easier and more convenient for students and teachers.

These days, smartphones, tablets and laptop computers have replaced overhead projectors as classroom, and home classroom, tools. In addition, the Internet has changed how materials are delivered to students, including live video streaming and other online learning modules.

Long gone are the days of distance learning with little-to-no interaction with instructors. A high-speed Internet connection puts you in the classroom.

In Part One, we delved into the beginnings of correspondence courses and their transformations through several decades, from basic mail-order course materials, to the advent of television and VHS recorders to make education more available in the 1980s.

Digital video recording

At the end of the 1980s, VHS tapes were still the rage, but DVD discs were starting to make limited appearances (along with the short-lived LaserDisc), and soon replaced the bulky plastic tapes in the following decade.

DVD discs became the new medium for digital recording, providing better video and audio quality, the ability to store more information and at an affordable price. Instructors could also use video camcorders to record lectures directly to DVDs and make them available to students with no loss in video quality, as was common with VHS tapes.

Many massage home-study courses still utilize DVDs in course materials, which lets students see new techniques in use. The newest phase of this technology is high-definition video, which gives the viewer a clearer picture and improved audio quality above existing DVDs.

The Internet

During the rise of DVD technology, the use of the Internet was also on the rise. While still in its infant form in the early 1990s, when DVDs were growing in popularity, the use of the Internet in home-study instruction became very prevalent.

Students who choose to take an Internet-based home-study course can often take advantage of recorded videos and message boards, where students can interact with their peers and instructors without having to be in the classroom.

Streaming video on the Internet is also on the rise. Streaming video allows students to view live lectures, much like watching a live television broadcast. And features within streaming video host sites can let students interact with instructors and students in real time.

What’s next?

As advances on the Internet continue, the rise in smartphone devices and tablet computers are sure to take advantage of instructing students.

Various phone and tablet providers already offer phone applications that can tutor students or offer study reference material for a variety of topics. And with the capability of portable video viewing and editing, it probably won’t be too long before full massage home-study courses can be taken anywhere you can get a signal.

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