Until recently, the concepts such as distance learning, correspondence learning, open learning are virtually separated. But nowadays distance learning (DL) has proved its significance and relevance. In the educational community distance learning has good prospects associated with the implementation of learning through life. But there is a still relevant question: is distance learning a form of education or technology? It is a serious problem, as the issue of understanding this question depends on strategy, tactics to implement distance learning, and respectively, the training of teachers to work in distance learning. Currently, researchers and practitioners have given the following basic definition of distance learning.
Distance learning is "a synthetic, integral humanistic form of training, based on the use of a wide range of traditional and new information technologies and technical means used to deliver educational material for independent study, exchange of dialog between the teacher and students, and in general the learning process is not critical to the location in space and time, as well as to a particular educational institution ". (E.S. Polat, №2 p. 56)
Distance learning is " a form of learning in which the interaction between teachers and students and between students themselves is carried out at a distance and reflects the inherent learning process components (objectives, contents, methods, organizational forms, means of training) implemented by specific means of Internet technologies or other means providing interactivity " (E.S. Polat, № 2, p. 17).
Distance learning is "educational technology at a distance, when teacher and learners physically are in different locations. Previously, distance learning means correspondence learning. Now it is a teaching tool that uses TV and network technology learning" (A.A. Andreyev, №1, p.12).
Distance learning is "learning associated by means of telecommunications, in which the subjects of education (students, teachers, tutors, etc.), having spatial or temporal distance, are in overall educational process aimed at creation of external educational products and related internal changes (increments) the subjects of education "(A.A. Andreyev, №1, p.12).
In Article 38 of the Education Act states that the educational institution competence includes "the use and improvement of methods of the educational process and educational technologies, including distance learning technologies. Under distance learning technologies are understood educational technologies implemented mainly using information and telecommunication technologies in indirect (in the distance) or not fully mediated interaction and student teaching position". From this it follows that "the educational institution may use distance education technologies in all education forms in the prescribed manner established by government education authorities" (Article 38, Education Act of Kazakhstan).
Thus, under the distance learning technology we understand: CDtechnology training materials are provided on print and media resources (CD-ROM, DVD). It is usually applied in conjunction with classroom training forms: survey lectures, seminars, trainings, consultations and tests. Communication with the teacher (counseling), as well as obtaining information from electronic libraries and databases of universities can be carried out via the Internet.
Network technology the use of computer-based training programs and e-books, which are placed on the web servers of the university. Through the Internet, you can contact the teacher to pass interim and final tests. Several universities also conduct lectures and seminars in real time. Examinations are carried out in your nearest university training center. Distance learning can be organized both independently and through the deployment of information and educational environment. TV satellite technology is similar to the organizational network, but the contact (lectures and seminars) between teachers and students is associated via satellite network. Besides these technologies a hybrid model is increasingly used, combining full-time and remote periods (sessions) training. A hybrid (mixed) model based on analysis of training courses can be understood as a "mixture" of network technology combined with technology and full-time classes (usually an introduction to the course and the basics of distance working, the principles of social networking with the tutor, as well an implementation of the final work).
Distance learning is a form of continuing education system, which aims to realize the human right to education and information. Distance learning allows to give equal opportunities to teach school pupils, students, civilian and military, the unemployed in all parts of the country and abroad through greater use of scientific and educational potential of leading universities, academies, institutes, centers of various sectorial training and retraining, as well as training centers and other educational institutions. Also it allows to obtain a primary or secondary education in parallel with the main human activities. Ultimately, the new system of distance learning (SDL) is aimed at enhancing the educational environment in Kazakhstan.
From the organizational and supporting point of view the learning process has several groups of problems. First, it is the problem of creating different levels of SDL:
- global (international) and its maintenance;
- Regional SDL and its maintenance;
- Local and its software.
Secondly, it is a problem of the distance learning organization itself:
- conceptual models and didactic aspects;
- a system of faculty advisors and how they interact with the trainees;
- testing distance learning system;
- information technology and educational environment;
- ways of transferring educational information and communication.
Global positioning systems are designed to provide an opportunity to realize enlightenment and education of the broad masses of the Kazakh population through the use of media such as television and radio. Broadcast training programs are widely used throughout the world for distance learning. You can still broadcast lectures, educational programs for a wide audience without further tests, and transmission of lectures followed by passing tests. Primarily content such "education background "can be economic, legal, environmental, scientific, cultural and other fields of knowledge.
Among global systems in the international community distance learning can be attributed to already established "Global Lecture Hall", "University for Peace", "Electronic International University". These structures provide electronic communication, discussion, information sharing, problem solving in various spheres of human life between parties located in different corners of the Earth. In the near future Kazakhstan should be integrated into these systems.
Distance learning regional systems are designed to solve educational problems within each individual region of Kazakhstan, taking into account its features. Distance learning local systems may operate at the level of individual or professional area of expertise within a single city or university.
SDL is a central of telecommunications facilities, allowing to provide educational process:
- the necessary training and teaching materials;
- feedback between teacher and student;
Instructional design and educational technology:
- the exchange of management information within the system;
- access to international information networks, as well as to connect to the SDL foreign users.
However distance learning is consider as a form abroad, so still we have a relevant question distance learning is a form, technology or means ?
Consider distance learning as a form of learning. As a new form of learning, distance learning cannot be completely autonomous system. Distance learning is constructed in accordance with the same goals, and that fulltime education (if it is based on relevant education programs). But the form of the material, the interaction between teacher and students and students with each other will be different. Basic didactic principles of distance learning are basically the same as that of any other training, but the principles of the distance learning organization are others, they are specific to the distance learning, as due to the specific shape features of the information Internet environment and its services (chat rooms, forums, e-mail, video conferencing). Characteristic features of distance learning are modularity and the changing role of the teacher (largely associated with the division of the course developers, tutors etc.), the separation of subject distance learning process, the virtual cooperative learning, the prevalence of selfcontrol on the part of the teacher, the use of modern technology and specialized training facilities.
Distance learning can be attributed by the main areas of application:
- improving teachers training for certain specialties;
- preparing students for individual academic subjects for the exams externally;
- preparing students for admission to specific profile educational institutions;
- organization of special education students;
- additional interest education;
- professional retraining;
From a distance learning comparison with a full-time and correspondence forms of training distance learning can be considered as a new stage of correspondence learning development and full-time study, which provided the use of information technology based on the use of personal computers, video and audio equipment, space and fiber-optic technology.
Distance learning distinction from the correspondence learning is that a substantial portion of the material is not being developed independently, and in constant communication with the teacher (consultation by phone and the Internet, lectures and seminars in online mode). And also there are the main differences between distance learning from correspondence courses:
- regular contact with the teacher (tutor), the ability to discuss operational issues, as a rule, by means of telecommunications;
- ability to organize discussions, collaborate on projects and other types of group work during the course of the study at any time (this group may consist of local students and students who live abroad). In this case, students are also in contact with the teacher (tutor) by means of telecommunications;
- transfer theoretical materials to students in the form of printed or electronic manuals that allows you completely abandon setting sessions with the arrival in university, or significantly reduce the number and duration.
Distance learning distinction from the full-time training is that a substantial portion of the material is not absorbed in the classroom, but with the help of Internet technologies, that is distance learning students' work is organized and fundamentally independent. And also there are the main differences between distance learning from full-time training:
- training at the place of residence or work, therefore, the distributed nature of the educational process;
- flexible learning process, which can be either completely free in open education, or to be tied to a limited number of control points (exams, on-line sessions with the teacher) or group lessons, as well as to carry out laboratory work on the equipment (possibly remote);
- contacts with the teacher (tutor), mainly carried out by telecommunications.
In addition, it is important to note that distance learning is fundamentally different from traditional learning and creates a new educational environment in which a student comes, just knowing what knowledge and skills he needs. You can also assume that the main distance learning feature is to provide training opportunities by getting the required knowledge, using information resources (databases and knowledge bases, computer, including multimedia, training and monitoring systems, audio and video recordings, digital libraries, as well as traditional textbooks and manuals).
Among the differences to the traditional training, you can choose a number of typical psychological and pedagogical problems that must be addressed to teachers and students of the distance learning course:
- difficulties in establishing interpersonal contacts between the participants of the learning process;
- formation problems of efficient small study groups at training in collaboration;
- individual characteristics definition of the information perception from the audience and learning styles for more efficient organization of the educational process;
- updating and maintaining the training motivation;
- the adequacy of the teacher behavior chosen for distance learning methods and educational technology.
Thus, distance learning is an integral part of full-time and correspondence learning, and can also act as an independent form of learning. There are several problems associated with the distance learning consideration (these problems are mainly related to the legal framework). In some countries many educational institutions begin to use distance learning as a support function, and often as a substitute function which is needed as traditional form of learning.
The question arises: can we talk about creating a new distance learning using the basis of the traditional textbooks electronic copies and can we change classroom lessons to lessons via the Internet? And can we talk about the creation and functioning of the new forms of learning, if student and teacher work do not concretize? It should be noted that education traditional forms are based on academic load, which at full-time education in accordance with state educational standards of higher education in Kazakhstan should consist the average for the period of theoretical training at least 27 hours per week, with part-time (evening) form at least 10 hours a week, while part-time at least 160 hours per year. Also the terms and development of the basic education program do not specify, which in full-time education consists 260 weeks, while part-time (evening) and extramural courses in the case of a combination of different forms of learning increases by university for a year or for a period to one year (depending on specialty). Consequently, if we talk about distance learning as a new form of learning, it is necessary to make changes not only in the laws, but also in the state educational standards that exist in the country.
Given the above, we can say that on the basis of existing regulations now in Kazakhstan distance learning is determined as technology (CDtechnology, network technology, televisionsatellite technology), implemented in full and part forms of education.
A researchers and practitioners analysis reveals that distance learning is a new form of learning, providing a wide range of educational services to the wider population in the country and abroad with the help of a specialized educational environment at any distance from educational institutions. Informational and educational environment of distance learning is a system-organized set of data communications, information resources, communication protocols, hardware and software and organizational methods, focused on meeting the educational needs of the users.
And it is important to add that the organization of training and communications strategy between teachers and students is determined by educational technology underly-
ing in the development of distance course. Thereby, distance learning is regarded as an independent form of learning in the XXI, as well as an innovative component of full-time and distance learning.
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