Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Distance Education Opening Fresh Avenues Toward Knowledge

Millions of people these days think Distance Learning or Education is the most viable process to earn knowledge. To encourage simplicity and integrity in learning experience, a large section of learners and teachers are opting for an education system that promises to convey knowledge through interactive discussions beyond foursquare constructions and fat text books. On the contrary, it chooses to discuss knowledge through Internet, electronic conferencing, software programs, and new supplementary electronic resources that offer fresh zeal to the age old system.

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ICDE’s Fresh Attempts: Education to Pace up Development

  • The Standing Committee of Presidents (SCOP) of the members of (ICDE) the International Council of Distance Education has been offering an exclusive forum for presidents, rectors, and senior policy makers to exchange their views and opinions on open and distance education with a focus on the latest trends.
  • SCOP since its initiation has witnessed major changes in the educational sphere. And they think that the increasing popularity of the alternative ways indicates a tendency of distance education through online becoming a mainstream practice very soon. This year in their conference organized by Universidade Aberta do Portugal (UAb) in Lisbon, they focused on the host of new challenges and chances of connecting distance or online learning with the top universities of the world.
  • Pierre Mairesse, The Director, European Commission, who is dealing with the issues regarding European strategies to encourage distance education and lifelong learning, opened the conference. Besides talking about the advantages of distance learning his speech also presented the details of EC’s recent initiatives to help education reach a larger audience residing in the different parts of the world. According to the speaker, the prime intension of the initiatives is to facilitate the education system utilizing the advantages of digital revolution.
  • ICDE, The International Council for Open and Distance Education in the world conference held in Tianjin, China emphasized the issue of post-secondary education with full integrity as demand for quality education and higher learning is increasing among the young population across the world.
  • More than seven hundred participants across forty countries listened to Paulina Gonzalez-Pose, Chief of Section for Higher Education at UNESCO as she highlighted the necessity of online and distance learning for better opportunity and access. But not only online, according to her a combination of online and campus learning will be rational approach toward the success. “Blended learning is a new form for higher education”, she said. She also added that “At no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education – towards an inclusive and diverse knowledge society, to advance research, innovation and creativity.”
  • Yang Zhijian, President of the Open University of China, currently boasting more than 3 million pupils in distance education, explained their efforts regarding online offerings to augment affordability, accessibility, and quality.

Nations Playing a Vital Role in the Movement are:

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The US

The United States of America is highly appreciated around the world for its undisputed leadership in online education. Hundreds of colleges and universities with online curriculum offering numerous online courses to the students worldwide have gained considerable attention from the nations far and wide. According to a study in the year 2011 conducted by the Sloan Consortium, over five million students in the country have signed up for minimum one online course. The country is not only leading in terms of enrollment but also presenting some outstanding delivery model for rest of the countries interested in digital learning.

The UK 

 The United Kingdom is one more name that has been successfully providing online or distance education to thousands of people around the world for a long time. The nation observed a significant rise in interest regarding the new education system over the last few years. An investment of around £100 million was recommended by the government’s Online Learning Task Force to help the nation develop a better online learning platform for the students worldwide. To avoid the increasing educational expenses and loan debts, a huge amount of students are showing interest toward learning through internet or distance education.

The Australia

Earning degree at home and at leisure time has attracted the Australian students to a great extent. After the economic turbulence during the years 2008-09, the decision of earning degrees putting careers on hold seemed quite impractical to them, so the new age learning system very obviously appeared to be a rational choice for the most. The interest regarding online education has grown impressively in Australia over the last few years by almost 20%.

Developing Countries like India, China, South Korea and Malaysia have also shown some significant progress in online and distance education. Affordable education, enhancing knowledge and working simultaneously, earning degrees from the prestigious universities from the world, and a network around the globe are the major drivers helping distance education to reach a higher level popularity in the countries from developing region. As the top universities around the world come forward with unique facilities, more people from all parts plan to boost academic qualification with the advantages of new age learning. 

Online programmes by the end of this decade hope to make a profit of US$1 billion in revenue, which shows the rising demand for distance education in India. China, at present is home to around seventy different online colleges. South Korea with high-tech industry and an impressive high-speed internet access calls distance education a ‘smart learning’ option for the Gen-i. Distance education in last few years has turned out to be a phenomenon with a flock of energetic learners around the world. The convenience and ease it added through making course materials available through internet and offering degrees at home have successfully broadened the appeal of learning and teaching.

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