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Transactional distance is engendered by the physical separation which creates a communicational gap, or psychological space – an area of possible misapprehension between the inputs of the teacher and learner (Moore, 1993). Moore (2007) considers that transactional distance is relative, not absolute, and that learning programmes are not ‘distance’ or ‘not distance’ but rather they have “more distance or less distance” (p.91). Transactional development is influenced by three factors: dialogue, structure and autonomy (Moore, 1993). The nature and extent of dialogue may be affected by diverse factors (course design, teacher/learner personalities, subject matter, environment etc.), but the medium of communication is also an important factor. Programmes with little or no dialogic interplay have a greater transactional distance than those which foster dynamic dialogue.The use of interactive, electronic media supports this dynamism and so aids the shortening of transactional distance. Structure is evaluated by Moore (Ibid.) from the perspective of the course’s flexibility or rigidity in terms of the establishment of teaching techniques, educational goals, assessment procedures and the degree to which individual needs are met. Finally Moore (Ibid.) views autonomy as the extent of learner control exercised over learning procedures – the amount of choice the student has over issues of learning goals, rate of progress, manner of teaching and assessment methods.


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