The need for distance learning in higher education

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №2 - 2011

Author: Bordiyanu Ilona, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

Development and application of educational technology is one of the priorities among the many new directions of education development. It has recently attracted attention of scientists who analyze the issues and challenges of higher education institutions. One of the main directions of the educational process transformation has been the “educational informatization” based on creative implementation of modern information technology into teaching practices.

Global computer networks and Internet are actively used as the fastest way of communication and obtaining the necessary information. Throughout the world there is an active integration of information technology into the learning process. The concept of “open” and continuing education becomes very topical. This is largely contributed to advances in information technologies, which allow the new education process organization, and, in particular, developing of systems that could easily and effectively react to changes in society.

The education system at the present stage is experiencing a period of radical reorganization, and therefore it becomes very important to find new forms of educational process in educational institutions. Distance education may represent one of these forms. Opinion polls conducted in educational institutions show that the instability of the financial situation in the family makes it impossible for everyone to get full-time education at universities and only 40% of respondents sure that they will be able to study full time. More than 64% (among non-urban respondents - 70%) believe that the opportunity to have a distance form of education would be beneficial to them. The survey of citizens who already have education, suggests that distance learning of individual courses, that they might need in their daily activities (especially issues of modern economy, issues related to changes in legislation, etc.) would also be convenient. Significant role, regarding this problem is the tuition of full-time and distance education, as well as the possibility of combining work and study. About 40% of the respondents were in favor of access to education without fixed terms of training, hence, the amount of studies courses not years.

Finding ways to improve teaching in the university becomes extremely important due to the large amount of new knowledge and growth-oriented information that both students and instructors should be able to orientate in. The number of students from different age groups, including academics, government officials, and managers of various levels are steadily increasing. These days, student and adult audiences need more than a good instructor; they need someone very knowledgeable about not only the subject, but also the ways to approach it. The instructor should perceive his/her audience as like-minded colleagues. Therefore, education, its objectives, contents, methods, and organization, become one of the topical issues of our time.

Intensification of education can be considered one of the promising trends of teaching activities mobilization. The concept of intensification was used earlier in the economy as labor efficiency, related to the question of intensity or the amount of labor spent by employees over a certain period of time.

When we talk about the intensification of education, we mean the amount of information presented by the faculty at a fixed length of study with a high degree of quality and use of creative potential of individuals.

Increase in the rate of learning can be achieved through rational selection of educational materials, providing a logical succession of new material and repetition, and, in addition, the teaching methods must constantly improve.

Creativity is not just a buzzword of our time, but also the driving force of economic and social development.

Economy transformation requires the development and implementation of a personnel policy that would not only in words, but also in deeds, ensure the revitalization of all state governance structures. In this context, indigenous renewal of educational content becomes very important.

The Educational Act of Kazakhstan (Article 13) states that the content of education is a system of (complex) knowledge at each level of education, which serves as the basis for the formation of competence and overall personality development. The same article of the law states that the content of education is determined by the educational training programs that are developed based on state educational standards.

Revealing the essence of the problem of educational content, it is important to pay attention to the inertia of the component of our interest. It is recognized that the general didactic model evolves very slowly, gradually, including some corrective elements in educational practice. More recently, when the pace of social development was slow, the education system was aimed at a simple study of knowledge (including content management sciences). The evolution of education manifested itself mainly in a sequential and progressive self-update, increasing the list of subjects taught, and complicating the organizational model of education itself.

During the transition to new organizational and economic relations in the management of multisectoral economy there are complex of dynamic processes arising that make it difficult to establish a unified concept for the development of the country and proposed model of future society. This greatly complicates the issue of fundamental reform of the educational process, including its contents. These days, it is confirmed by the absence of a unified concept of education system reformation and such an important part of it as a system of professional development.

It is necessary to purposeful design the system of education.

To successfully solve the problem of improving the quality of education, it is good to know the current state of scientific development in specific areas of knowledge, to use modern forms and methods of professional development.

Patterns of learning, development and strengthening of intellectual abilities, knowledge that allows developing effective ways of learning, engaged in didactics - can justly be called a theory of learning.

Didactics, as part of pedagogy, examines the traditional educational process in higher education.

During education, the emphasis should be placed on building up a substantial part of educational material, its scientific and practical relevance. This is what motivates learning and cognitive activity development of the students, on the one hand.

On the other hand, bringing the future practice trainee as close as possible to the practice and the third component is to apply the knowledge and practical experience of the learners themselves.

Thus, the basis of learning is the feedback effect that can increase the likelihood of achieving the desired state of the trainees during training.

Modern system of human resource development, as well as the entire economy of Kazakhstan, has experienced significant changes over the past decade. It was particularly difficult for university professors to teach economic disciplines in 2007-2008, when they were forced to rethink the essence of economic processes in the country.

For example, direction of training for managers is as follows:

- providing an integrated system of professional knowledge in personnel management, in particular on the problems of organization, motivation, the methodology of development of governance system in the organization, creation of modern management techniques to achieve efficient use and professional development of employees;

- forecasting and identifying the requirements for workers and specialists, and the labor market research;

- planning, organization and control of professional development, advanced training of specialists and managers, creation of conditions for professional growth of employees in the organization;

- developing organizational structure, personnel arrangements, taking into account the movement of personnel, identification of the causes of staff turnover, and measures for its reduction;

- organizing the work on the certification of the workers and the formation of personnel reserve;

- assessing economic and social efficiency measures to improve the organization's management system and management personnel service;

- mastering the practical skills of independent analysis, design, research and management activities.

Training of specialists of a new format that adequately respond to changes in the economic situation in a market economy requires improvement of the whole education system. Restructuring of the current training of specialists needs to be linked to the main tendencies of development of education under modern conditions, which is characterized by the following circumstances:

- internationalization and globalization of the economy, which has a profound impact on the development of economic education;

- expansion of the range of subjects studied in high school;

- individualization in training and in particular, training for managers;

- flexibility in teaching the basic academic disciplines;

- international cooperation in the preparation of students and also teachers;

- differentiated application of forms and training methods in order to achieve the best result from the chosen educational system, which requires the linking of subject courses with each other;

- providing the elective courses for learners in a set of proposed academic disciplines;

- the acquisition of practical skills of learners through the creation of consulting firms, which allow structuring theses works and direct them to execute certain orders.

To assess the level of professional development of specialists in a particular specialization, the extent of their compliance with qualification requirements, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization, staffed by these specialists, the author proposes to calculate the following indicator, such as the Compliance rate of qualifications (Crq). It is determines by the ratio of the number of qualified specialists to the total number of professionals working in a company or organization.

Crq = Nqs / Tnp (1)

Professional worker at a modern stage must meet the following requirements:

- in the general cultural aspect - the total preparation; goals and values in life, experience of communication with people, certain ethical and aesthetic skills, culture of speech and writing;

- in the professional aspect - competence in management of a certain sphere of public life, labor activity, discipline, sense of responsibility for the results of their work, ability to improve their skills through a process of continuous learning;

- in terms of personality - mental toughness, honesty, independence, decisiveness, initiative, communication skills, reliability.

The educational system, preparing today's professionals, must be guided by the following:

- target, the training of specialists;

- introduction of flexible forms of educational process, the removal of temporary barrier;

- development of a network of educational institutions across the region and the country as a whole, integration of the research and educational personnel;

- providing scientific, methodical research in management, economics, psychology and ethics, management labor, modern methods of evaluating the effectiveness of the educational process.

Thus, the modern system of training specialist needs to be forecasted, organized, and developed to prepare multifunctional workers, which would at the same time have a substantial specialization in a certain area. Therefore, the integration of academic disciplines and courses is what being offered.

Integration processes in education are natural because they are the result of the same phenomena that occurs in science, manufacturing, and in other areas of public life. That is why the integral education is absolutely essential. In modern conditions the integral training acquires a new dimension and becomes an effective didactic tool to bridge the digital boom, the formation of modern training in new professions and professional fields.

Preparing students on the basis of the quantitative knowledge at a slow pace of science development and life itself is objectively facing the past. Today, such training is ineffective; it is an anachronism, because specialists, in connection with the growth and the rapid obsolescence of scientific and technical information must constantly update their knowledge, change methods, methodology and technology of work to be professionally mobile. Hence, the vital need for research in new scientific concepts in relation to training arises.

Problems and obstacles to implementation of distance learning in the educational process do exist and they lie in the issue that not the whole academic community overcame prejudices and conservative attitude toward the role of distant education. Historically, the majority of educational institutions involved in distance learning, act autonomously, and this seriously hampers the exchange of results and achievements. The lack of standards makes it difficult to integrate Kazakhstan into the world of distance learning education. The rapid development of electronic networking technologies, brought to the same quality standards, generates international competition of educational organizations and Kazakhstan in this fight is not a leader. Legal and regulatory framework may not be used for solving problems and legalization of distance learning, as there are many issues that cannot be solved by it. How to overcome such psychological and pedagogical issues such as achieving certain standards in training, which is inconsistent with the notion of human individuality, or the problem of personal interaction between teacher and student, the impact of facial expressions, gestures, voice? Does the requirements for the equipment and the composition of the library collection change? etc. These are the weak points of distance learning, which require understanding and solutions from the scientific point of view.

The content side of learning should be: understanding in difficult situations, adaption of innovative thinking and optimal decision making.

All these elements will require the development of a broader concept of information processing in the learning process. Assimilation of knowledge should not be remote from practice and production, only then it can develop.

This means that the learning process should be viewed as a process of learning algorithms for future work, which is characterized by its practical orientation.

Training course - is a product offered for sale by educational institutions of developed countries on their own domestic and external markets training services. In western universities, the market mechanism of course sale is brought to perfection. In Kazakhstan, the private entities are more flexible in the development of market-rate course sale. However, even today in universities of Kazakhstan the success rate of a course becomes the object of increasing authority of the administration of educational institutions and teachers themselves. The success rate determines - formally and indirectly - the competitive position of a particular teacher, curriculum and educational institutions in general in the education market.

The success rate depends on several factors:

- its relevance for the target market (public, private and business entities, including foreign ones);

- the professionalism of teachers and the structures of the educational process;

- technological and informational base of training;

- motivation of all participants in the reporting process of training services.

Leading factor in the success of the course is professionalism of the instructor, which is formed as a result of years of scientific, educational and practical work. Professionalism of the instructor, indeed, makes the course interesting and beneficial not only to the students, but for all the parties involved in the educational process.

Instructors’ professionalism has three main components:

1) Attitude toward the students: the ability to focus on student (rather than him/herself), friendliness, sympathy, responsibility for teacher involvement in student learning process;

2) Competence (knowledge of the subject taught, as well as didactics and teaching methodology) responsibility of own knowledge of the subject, the ability to organize goals, the desire to do something;

3) Creativity: the ability to arouse student interest, the imagery in the representation of the material, originality, connection to reality.

The absence or weakness of one or more components of the professionalism of the instructor is one of the main reasons for low student satisfaction with training sessions or a course in general.

An instructor that possesses communicative competence, which can be identified as one of the key competencies, can develop the creative ability of students.

Communicative competence can be represented by Figure 1.

Figure 1. Spheres of instructor competency

Thus, the need for the development of distance learning in higher education is in the following areas:

- lack of qualified specialists;

- growth of new knowledge, information, which is difficult to navigate without special training;

- objectives, content, methods, and training have become topical issues;

- intensification of education dictates the need to raise the professional level of teaching;

- professionalism has three components: competence, attitude towards the students creativity.

REFERENCES

1. Polat E.S., M.V Moiseeva, A.E. Petrov, M.Y. Bukharkina, Y.V. Aksenov, T.F. Gorbunkova. Distance Learning M.: VLADOS, 2001. (in rus)

2. Polat E.S. Theory and practice of distance education: Handbook. - M.: Academia, 2004. (in rus)

3. Robert I.V. Modern information technologies in education. - M.: School Press, 2001. (in rus)

4. Skibitskaya E.G., L.I. Kholina Theoretical Foundations of distance education: monograph. - Novosibirsk: NGPU, 2002. (in rus)

5. Skibitskaya E.G., Egorov V.V. Distance Learning: theory, practice and prospects for development: Monograph. - Almaty: Gylym, 2004. (in rus)

6. Jaworski, V.V., Nurguzhin M.R., Kogan G.D., Inssue of distance education (monograph). Karaganda: KSTU, 2003 (in rus)



Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №2 - 2011

  
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