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|by Ananya S Guha|
Distance Education has revolutionized and radicalized education in the world. Such a radicalization of educational thinking has been felt palpably in developing nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and of course China. In China the Radio has been the catalyst of change through educational broadcasts.
Such change in education, is because Distance Education addresses larger audiences, transcending the limited target groups of conventional education. It targets adults, both working and non working, educated professionals, the disadvantaged and drop outs, house wives, working women, entrepreneurs, corporate sector, teachers, missionary workers etc. Hence it is a transformation of educational systems, looking at larger segments of the society, adult education, continuing education, alternating between work and education, training both in and out of the work place and, learning and earning. This has called for revamping teaching methods, what we call pedagogy.
Distance Education uses a blend of tradition and modernity: from study texts, classroom teaching, to audio video conferencing, use of the radio and the television, to learning transactions such as e learning and the virtual classroom. Such wider methods of pedagogy, give a variety of options and experiences to learn, rather than only the stymied walls of the class room, where teaching is imperiously a one person show.
So flexibility is a key area in Distance Education : flexible methods, flexible learning time, entry point, examination system, continuous evaluation etc. More than a discipline of study, Distance Education is an effective mechanism of teaching and learning which can be applied to the liberal arts, sciences, vocational training and lower levels of certification. This is expressly the wide coverage of Distance Education, overcoming the inherent limitations of conventional learning. Moreover approaches are innovative, bringing out change and innovation from learners stifled by traditional learning.
Again the teacher is a mix of variables according to situations, the course writer, the academic counsellor, those imparting television and radio lessons, and those administering e learning by interactive methods. The all encompassing pedagogy of Distance Education, gives it range and flexibility, wider options, more admission priveleges to learners , not being able to make it to traditional education, which puts enormous pressures on learning by the rigours of admission processes.
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