In India, the first major initiative in the field of Distance Learning was taken in the year 1985 when IGNOU was established. Distance learning solves a great problem of this knowledge starved nation and as well as the whole world. With a population of over a billion but still lacking qualified professionals to run this country, distance learning courses have come as a blessing for those who can not afford to attend regular university classes. It effectively means a field of education that aims to deliver knowledge to students who are not physically present, through the involvement of print, technology etc.
Distance learning courses have helped a great number of people to increase their skills and to develop a dynamic personality as it allows them to engage in multiple activities.
The need for such a system is emphatic due to the scarcity of time, money and the resources to deliver education like teachers and infrastructure. With applicants increasing every year for a university education, the problem is deeply compounded by a serious dearth of good teachers and reputable education universities.
With the boom in technology this method of education that was once popular only in western universities has now caught on in India as well. It serves a varied population, students wanting to attain a good university degree, managers finding no time to upgrade their skills and organizations always grappling with the issue of lack of skilled workers. In fact, pursuing a good distance learning course can help a lot of people in scaling high in any organization that they are presently engaged with. Apart from allowing one to learn in one’s own time and pace, distance learning also improves career options. Moreover, the course fee is much lesser as compared to that of full-time courses.
However, this method has substantial impediments. The biggest one is effective control over students and lack of discipline and supervision. Distance education has long had troubles with testing and evaluation. First, there is a problem of conducting these evaluations and if done successfully then how to make them authentic and genuine with students always prone to cheating and taking external help to accentuate their purpose.
The other problems are loss of motivation among students due to the lack of one-on-one interaction with peers and teachers, startup costs, and deficiency of faculty support. To add to this, are concerns of quality of teaching, misuse of technology, role of technicians and many more. The advancement of technology only doesn’t serve the purpose; the real factor is the correct utilization and comprehensive knowledge of the techniques used.
As a whole, the attitude towards distance education has been changing. Close scrutiny of the intrinsic problems will help overcome problems encountered by students and faculty. Distance education can easily raise the economic flag of developing nations and quench the thirst for knowledge among millions.
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