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This key goal of this research is go through the effectiveness of distance learning and its role in educational life, this research will also talk about the definition, history, means used, the future of this method of learning, the most beneficiated people of this technology whether they were learners or educators, it will also talk about the uses of this new technology and the place and institution used in.
The major question of this question that; is distance learning as effective as traditional learning (face-to-face learning)??
The approach used in this research is correlational approach, to find if there is any relation between the academic level or the knowledge and distance learning or the method used in teaching.
A questionnaire was distributed through students and instructors to find their opinion about specific point on distance learning such as if they are with or against distance learning, its effectiveness compared to traditional learning and if they think that the quantity and quality of knowledge gained from distance learning is enough, then questionnaire were collected and analyzed to collect the data and to find the results.
After analyzing the questionnaire, it was found that the majority of students support distance learning and so do a few number of educators.
A lot of participants reported that the amount and quantity of knowledge gained from distance is enough and effective as its being motivating method because it uses the language of the time, which makes it easier to the learner to interact with it, and gain more knowledge higher score in grades.
Distance learning, new term popped up in our life, it's being used in everywhere; schools, universities and in all academic institutions. People can practice this kind of learning anywhere, learner doesn't have to be in a specific place in a determined time, he can access to it from home, internet café, university or anywhere as long as he has an internet connection.
A lot of degrees and courses are given through the internet, and a lot of universities and academic institutions accept this degrees as long as it's from a trusted institutions.
A lot of people uses this term and they even don't know what does it mean, distance learning to most of the people, is learning online using the internet, but what does it really mean, they most of them don't know, or since when it's being used, so what is distance learning, what's its history, and what it is the positives and negatives and the malfunction of this new technology, and how effective could it be.
The goal of this research is to find out what it is distance learning, since when it existed, means used in it, it forms, benefits and disadvantages of distance learning, and its malfunction from the point of view of the instructor and the learner, and the future possibilities in modern distance learning.
But the most important thing is; is distance learning as effective as traditional learning?
Points mentioned previously will be discussed in this research thoroughly.
What has been written about this field by other researchers and writers will be mentioned in the literature review, which will include definition, history, technologies used, systematic of distance learning, effectiveness, and the predicted future of it.
Distance learning the newest topic in the era of technology, what does it mean. We need a definition that includes all situations. There have been many definitions that have been put in modern literature. Greenberg (1998) described distance learning as a designed learning skill in which a wide range of technologies are used to contact learners at a distance and to encourage learners interaction and certification of learning. Teaster and Blieszner (1999) defined it as when the teacher and the learner are separate in space and time.
But Desmond Keegan (1995) gave the most detailed definition. He said that making the student free from the need to travel to specific place, at fixed time to meet a predetermined person in order to learn was made by the technological separation between instructor and student, which was the main factor in the rising of distance learning. Jonassen (1992) "the volitional control of learning by the student rather than the distant instructor" (cited in (Sherry, L, 1996, P.2).
Generally, distance learning as the type of learning where the instructor and the learner are separated geographically or chronologically or both.
This includes different means such as online education such as classes over the internet or through emails, CDs, compressed videos and such means.
As for the history of distance learning, it started in the middle of the last century, when televisions and radio broadcasting started, until the middle of the last century when educational radio and television became more popular distance learning was done through correspondence courses started in Europe, and these were the major means of distance learning at that time (Imel, 1996).Â . According to Margaret Camber (1991), television creation technology was widely limited to studios and live broad casts in the late 1950's and early 1960's, when teachers of master degree established widely- broadcasts classes.
In the period of technology rising, distance learning was dominated by distance instructors\ educators. Distance learning has been taken to new direction nowadays by internet, permitting distance learning to take a place in real time. The most common and fastest rising delivery method in the United States is live video education (Ostendorf, 1997).
Means and technologies used in distance learning
For the technologies used in distance learning, firstly it depended on television and radio broadcasting; today distance learning range has become wider by using new technologies such as internet, electronic mail (E-mail) audio conferences, and video conferences either by broadcasting, cables, fiber optics, satellite and microwaves.
This means that all of the new technology equipments around us like T.V, radio, internet and so many things are considered means of distance learning.
Systematic of distance learning
As to the system of it, distance learning is not limited to a specific class of people, which means it shouldn't include only adults; students at different ages can use it, from k-12. "At the elementary and middle school levels, distance learning usually takes the form of curriculum enrichment modules and ongoing telecommunications projects" (Barron, Hoffman, Ivers, & Sherry; 1994; U.S Congress, 1988).
Programmers\teachers of distance learning programs should take into account needs of the students, Schamber (1988) any successful program should concentrate on the educational needs of the learners more than the technology itself. It's important to take into account their ages, cultural background, educational experience and their knowledge of distance learning methods and delivery system.
From what has been said earlier, students is the key element in distance learning more than the technology, which means that distance learning programs should be designed according to their needs.
Distance learners, why do people apply distance learning? Well there are many reasons including time, distance, cost, disabilities and so many things. Willis (1993) said that "Adult learners have a wide variety of reasons for pursuing learning at a distance: constraints of time, distance, and finances, the opportunity to take courses or hear outside speakers who would otherwise be unavailable, and the ability to come in contact with other students from different social, cultural, economic, and experiential backgrounds" (Cited in Sherry, L, 1996).
Future of distance learning
According to the effectiveness of distance learning in saving time and money, distance learning will witness a rapid growth in the next few years despite some problems. Devarics (2001), "The American Council on Education reported that , the number of students in distance learning doubled from 1995 to 1998 totaling 1.6 million".Â 2.2 million Students will be distance learners by the year 2002 there, which makes a full 15 per cent of all U.S college students (Rochester, et.al, 1999).
Universities feel a great pressure about handling their costs, and the quality of education of distance learning. Scarcity in resources while increasing in demand and increasing access, using technology as the best as possible, and sharing resources across the state line so colleges won't have to deal with big and difficult responsibilities and duties for all people (Basom and sherritt 1994).
The approach used in this research co relational approach, to study the relation between distance learning and the academic level, also to know if there is any relation between distance learning between your job as an instructor or a learner.
Subjects and people involved in this study were divided into two groups; the first one is learners from different ages, gender, major and different nationalities. The second one was instructors in universities.
Data collection tool
Data was collected through a questionnaire that was distributed to both students and instructors; also it was collected through documents that were published on the internet.
After the questionnaire been answered and recollected from participants, answers were analyzed to gain the results and finding; data was also sampled in histograms.
After distributing the questionnaire among different people at different ages, positions, specialties and races, data was gathered and classified, then it was analyzed to get the result of this questionnaire, and here is have been the results of the study. The sample is consisted of 20 educators and 60 learners.
The majority of the students supported distance learning and, also a number of educators supported it, and they believed that it's an effective method of learning.
The ones who had been a distance learning user, whether he was an learner or an educator, seemed to enjoy this method of learning, and they thought that it motivates you to learn more and more, because it's more dynamic than the tradition learning.
Although a number of educators enjoyed distance learning experience, they think that it must have very strict rules to prevent cheating or any manipulating, in order to have a good level of education, but not all the students agree with them.
A lot of people go for this kind of education for many reasons such, as saving money and time, no need to be in a specific place at a fixed time to learn; also it enables the learner to have more courses than the traditional way of learning. Most of those who apply for this kind of education according to the participants; is working, married, and the people who can't attend these courses or classes, either for financial reasons, the far distance, disabilities and many other reasons.
Some of the educators think that quantity and quality of distance learning is quite enough in order for the student to continue his education, and they don't think that it differs from traditional learning that much, but the others don't agree with this, because they think face-to-face education is better than distance learning, because the student keeps in touch with his educator, and he can continue his educational life step by step, and whenever he needs the educator he can reach him, not like distance learning, so they think that traditional learning is better than distance learning.
This research has a major goal, which is to find if the distance learning affective, from the point of view of the educator and the learner. Due to the results of the questionnaire, most of the teachers were with distance learning and supported it and so were the students.
Distance learning will be the new learning method in next few years because it uses the technology language, the age language. Most of the people use distance learning because it saves time and money, where learner can have a course from his house and the educator is in the other side of the earth, without paying as being a traditional learner, and it enables the learner to have more courses.
But it doesn't mean that it's better than traditional learning where learner keeps in touch with instructor step by step either by going to the educator when he faces a problem, or with handing assignments on time.
So traditional learning is better than distance learning at this period of time because learner can always keep in touch with the educator and can get to him any time he wants unlike distance learning, also when the learner misses a class he can go to the educator and catch what he missed while he can't do that in distance learning.
In traditional learning educator can follow learner's work step by step and shows him his mistakes and the right then to do.
Traditional learning has rules and conditions that make cheating difficult which make the learner well educated and well prepared for the outer world.
Most of learners go for distance learning because it's easy to cheat in and so they can pass easily, without making consideration to the understanding of what they are learning, which makes them very weak in their job and this, is the biggest negative of distance learning.
So, from what has been said before traditional learning is much better than distance learning, because it prepares the learner to what is coming after the his study in the real life, by practicing and hard work.
There were a bit of relation between distance learning and the academic results due to some factors, such as saving time, the ability to have many courses, and some educators says because it's easy to cheat in.
This research has a primary goal, to find if distance learning is better than traditional learning, and if there any relation between distance learning and academic results.
A study was made in order to find that out suing a questionnaire distributed to a sample that consists of twenty educators and sixty learners after that the questionnaire was collected back and analyzed
After analyzing the questionnaire it was found that most of the educators thought that strict rules to control distance learning in order to have better education.
Most of the students think that the amount and the quality of distance learning is enough to continue studying while educators think it's not, and of course, educators opinion what matters the most, because they know what is in the best of the student, due to their experience.
Future researches shouldn't be limited to a sample from one place, it should include samples from more universities and varied specialties and different cultures and countries, doing so would enable one to generalize the findings more broadly.