Culture refers to a way of doing things, thinking, and believes of a particular place or a group of people or the society. With time, people tend to change the way of doing things according to the generation so as to suit the society. There are many things that human beings can change in attempt to suit the society. These include; how they relate to each other, the way of cooking mode of dressing, the education system, and the general lifestyle. When human beings change in a more organized, planned and acceptable way, it may bring positive changes to the lives of people. On the other hand people may decide to change way of living without adhering to the stated procedures or change in a manner that is not acceptable in the society. If this happens, it will cost human beings a lot to reverse the whole process. For example when the education system changes such as use of improved and recent technology through a process and when the process is developed and tested in the right manner, it benefits both the instructor and the leaner. But if the right order is not followed, the system fails completely. Distance learning is a mode of study whereby the instructor and the learner are separated physically by distance or rather they have no physical contact (Gery, 1991).
The article supports the fact that improved technology has come to improve the standards of living, education and ease all the work of both instructors’ and learners in the education system of any country. It also describes the advantages and disadvantages of technology in education especially in distance learning through e learning.
The most appreciated tool in education is education technology. Education technology involves the use different and relevant tools to facilitate the teaching- learning process. Education has changed so much with time. Technology has enabled all the changes that people enjoy in education system at the moment; it has enabled education to be so different from the past .How could that happen without advancement technology. Distance education or learning has been on the system and has been offered for many years and it keeps on improving. Distance education can be offered in many different ways .these includes; Voice –this method involves instruction through audio tools like video, tapes and audio conferencing, Video- instruction is done through the utilization of video tools such as slides and real time moving images. Data computers allow us to send and receive date very fast. For this matter, instructor is able to send the class notes and assignment via the internet and receive the feedback as fast as possible.
Many people are split on what to accept between distance education and the traditional face to face education. Research shows that distance learning is very effective and as effective as face to face in delivering the content and also the learning by the students. People can study from their homes, offices, in hotels and get a complete certification of either undergraduate or post graduate, which is better and simple. Adding to these, the knowledge that distance learners acquire is the same as those acquired by the students on full time or rather regular basis. In the past when distance learning was just introduced, it was viewed to belong to the people who work since they didn’t have time to attend to lectures. (Clark, 2007). After some time of advancement, all people can access this mode of instruction. All the members of a family can now use the distance learning program. Worldwide, a good number of universities are developing distance learning programs to their learners. When higher institutions of learning provide distance learning, they provide more learning opportunities to the people they serve without altering the amount that was budgeted for. Distance learning also came to help people with different social and economic situation to achieve their goals on time. For example a lady with small kids and have to care about them can get her whole degree without straining so much as compared to if one would go to class that is on full time basis.
Distance learning has various advantages which put it in a better position as a learning option and acquire different learning technological experience. First and foremost, a distance learner is trained to be self motivated that is doing things without being followed up and down and at the same time not missing any support from the instructor. The instructor sends different study materials together with assignments which are expected to be submitted within the stipulated deadline. It’s the responsibility of the learner to organize the how to study and have the assignment done and submitted before the deadline (Clark, 2007).
For any clarifications and questions, the distance learner can communicate with the instructor or other distance learners through email. If compared to the regular or full time students, one needs to wait for the instructor in queue in offices before seeking clarifications therefore distance learning is faster and effective as far as communication is concerned as compared to face to face learning. Additionally, all distance learners are provided with the approved materials just like a campus based class. Evaluations can be done through assignments, questions, tests or discussion just like any other class (Clark, 2007). The students are also in a position to follow up for change of events for example change of the offered programs, exams dates, and others as soon as the instructor posts.
When compared to other ways of training, e learning is in a position to accommodate the two different learning designs for learners with both hearing impairment (visual learners) and the visually impaired (deaf learners.) and in the end give the same experience to both. This is important because the disabled learners are not disadvantage by this program. In a class based training, where one needs to interpret for a deaf student and therefore this saves on time and fund that would be used to pay sign language interpreters.
Distance learning also through e-learning provides individualized learning which is not catered or by the print media. Advanced learners are allowed to go through the course faster and finish earlier by saving time over the slow learners who slow down their progress. In other words, e learning allows for one to carry out the course at their speed and not inconveniencing each other. This saves both time and money. Given in a campus class, both the first and slow learners learn at the same speed and therefore one is never comfortable with speed. Sometimes it can be too fast and one misses out on some points, and at the same time it can be so slow and boring to the fast learner.
E learning provides an individual with the computer skills which is of important for future lives of individuals and the skills gained can also be utilized in their careers. Also, when a learner successfully completes a course online, it helps in developing more self-confidence and trains one to be able to manage their studies personally in the future.
Distance learning ensures that children who are not in a position to attend the traditional classrooms due to disabilities like reduce mobility and illnesses like reduced immune system access learning or rather education through robots. Through this, learners access education and acquire skills efficiently and still keep them in a safe environment for learning.
On earth, anything with importance would not miss to have disadvantages or drawbacks. The drawbacks of distance learning are as discussed below. First, e learning is expensive because not all the computers can access the site and therefore the learner has to acquire a machine with certain specifications as specified by the provider of the e learning program. This is costly to the learner and therefore it restricts the number of people who are in a position to use the program (Jaggars et al., 2013).
E learning is has a restrictive number of courses that can be offered. This is because some types of training for example engineering courses cannot be conducted online as it requires face to face training because of practical sessions, demonstration and explanation plus also the time allocation to clear the course successfully and efficiently. Another problem experienced with e learning is the ability of materials to be compatible from one system to another. This means that, materials designed for a particular system will not work effectively on another system. For example, materials that are designed for the apple Macintosh would not work efficiently on the windows PC.
The reliability of the quality of the content is highly questionable. These poses a great challenge in online learning. This is because some institutions may take the chance to evade the photocopying cost and transfer to the learners. This is done by having the materials including the course notes and the course outline online and this could be in an unsuitable format (Jaggars et al., 2013).
Distance learning is unsuitable for certain type of learners. E learning requires high levels of self-discipline and personal time management. Most of the students cannot reach these standards and therefore the program doesn’t suit them. Another drawback is the e learning is expensive in the case of developing and offering it. The startup cost is high and also the cost of providing materials online. When developing e learning, teachers must ensure that the cost of providing e learning is balanced with the benefits of delivering the course online.
The improvement of technology and its importance in education is very crucial. Though it has some disadvantages but the fact is that it is of more help than harm. One cannot compare the management of a learner who went through the campus based instructions as compared to one who went through e learning and completed successfully. E learner has the personal drive because he has learnt self-management (An&Reigeluth, 2011). Their principle goes like I must work and not that I have to work. People who have to work are working like they are forced to but when one has to work; they absolutely know why they have to work.
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