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7. Open & Distance Learning: A Futuristic Approach

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Published: 26th Mar, 2020

7. Open & Distance Learning: A Futuristic Approach

Specifications of Open & Distance Learning

  • Open & Distance Learning (ODL) is distinct because of its teaching methodology. In it, the presence of learners is not mandatory except in practical-based programmes and ultimately communication takes place in one way leading to dropouts in number of cases.
  • In Distance Education teaching is done with a variety of “mediating process” used to transmit content, to provide tuition and to conduct assessment or measure outcomes.
  • ODL can be made more interactive through the use of technology like managing the virtual classroom with the use of internet, development of web-based hypermedia, use of interactive teleconferencing and radio counselling etc.
  • In the virtual classroom the learners and the teachers meet in the cyberspace, a question and answer session follows.
  • The web-based study helps the learners and teachers to access the information at their own choice of time and convenience. In addition, regular interactive teleconferencing, which is one-way video and two-way audio satellite-based learning facility and radio counseling sessions, may be used for the learners.

Importance of Information Technology in imparting Open and Distant learning Education

  • IT can promote the opportunities of restructuring the teaching-learning process and transform it by offering alternatives to the teacher in providing information, access to virtually unlimited resources, and opportunities for real world communication, collaboration and competition.
  • Web can enrich the learning resources and help institutions refocus from teaching to learning, from teacher to learner. It can create learning environment throughout the world by networked learning communities.
  • Networks may create educative environments embedded in democratic philosophy of instruction and helping learners learn. ICT is a potentially powerful tool for extending educational opportunities, both formal and non-formal.
  • For developing countries ICT has the potential for increasing access to and improving the relevance and quality of education. The use of computers in ODL has provided new pedagogical strategies in distance learning as well as giving more autonomy to the distance learners.   

Future Course of Action to reform digital education

  • In using technology which can be integrated into the distance education system, the following factors should be considered: accessibility, cost effectiveness, human acceptance, and pedagogical suitability. In the era of information technology teachers will be spending more time in facilitating students rather than delivering lectures in the classrooms.
  • They would be working in groups, preparing and evaluating instructional materials and organizing data into meaningful information and accessible forms.
  • They will also be demonstrating the potential of skill development in students by using information in problematic situations.
  • Certain skills capabilities of using different information technologies are necessary for of the students and teachers. We have to think about the uses of media and technology in regard to appropriateness and acceptability in the society as well as on the ability of the institution offering the programme. 
  • The socio-economic and cultural background of a person influences their ability to learn from different media technology.

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