Problems Of Organizing Distance Learning: Sociological Analysis

Abstract

The introduction of the forced full distance learning in the spring of this year has highlighted many urgent problems that have ripened in the organization of the modern information and communication space. The study of this situation on a regional scale is based on the development of a questionnaire for students "Distance education: pros and cons". This questionnaire includes 12 questions of a different nature: from students' interest in distance learning, satisfaction with the first distance learning experience to attitudes to the opportunity to practice in future full or partial distance learning. The survey covered 150 respondents. The answers of the students were predictable, but the value of the survey is that in the process of analyzing the data obtained, the authors found a largely mature assessment by students of the first experience of distance learning. The obtained material allowed reveals two crucial factors that served as the reasons for the negative experience for more than half of the students. These are economical and psychological factors. In the first place, we put forward the economic factor, because technical limitations in the means and accessibility of communication, served as a cause of psychological stress, creating an unfavourable emotional background around the students. The psychological factor was determined by both the suddenness of the situation and the demand for traditional live communication with teachers and classmates.

Keywords: Distance learning, didactic system, distance learning models, traditional learning, partial distance learning

Introduction

Distance learning is a logical consequence of the introduction of information and communication technologies into the education process, which, in their gradual introduction into the educational process, have demonstrated the productivity of organizing study time and reducing the distance between knowledge and the student. At the same time, distance learning in some interpretations acquires a demonic character. It becomes a bone of contention between the two camps, which are supporters of traditional and (or) distance learning. Distance learning was formed at first within the framework of North American and European education and has gained its supporters, since it provides an opportunity to establish educational contact for any teacher and student, regardless of distance (Kapovsky, 2015). However, as reality shows, this process is productive when combining various teaching technologies. In the Russian educational sphere, in connection with the adoption in 1995 of the Concept on the creation and development of a unified system of distance learning, this form of education began to be updated (Andreev & Soldatkin, 1999). Distance learning is defined as “a purposeful, organized process of interactive interaction of teachers and students with each other and with teaching tools, invariant to their location in space and time, which is implemented in a specific didactic system” (Andreev & Soldatkin, 1999, p. 6). The proposed definition includes distance learning within the framework of a didactic system consisting of 12 elements or subsystems. The elements proposed by the authors (Andreev & Soldatkin, 1999) reveal the important content of the educational space, organizing distance learning. Let's list these elements: purpose, content, teaching, trainees, teaching methods, teaching aids, forms of teaching, material and technical, financial and economic, regulatory, legal, identification and control, marketing.

In the modern educational space, various approaches to the development of distance learning models are distinguished. For example, Tuninga and Seinen (1995) identified the following distance education models: the consulting model, the correspondence model, and the guided self-learning model. Andreev and Soldatkin (1999) consider five models of distance education: the model of "case" – technology distance learning, a model of correspondence learning, a radio-television model of learning, a model of network learning, a learning model using a mobile personal laptop. Over the past decade, the field of distance learning has significantly modernized. Moreover, the modern possibilities of information and communication technologies provide educators and learners with creative opportunities for organizing the educational process. In the organization of distance learning, widespread support is provided by the learning management system – Moodle, the platform for conducting online studies Zoom and other platforms.

Problem Statement

In the organization of distance learning, widespread support was provided by the learning management system – Moodle, the platform for conducting online classes Zoom and other platforms. However, at the same time, students and teachers of universities encountered several problems in organizing this form of interaction in a situation of pandemic and self-isolation. In our research, we analyze the situation in the Chechen State Pedagogical University and highlight several problems that hindered the successful adaptation of students and teachers to the forced form of interaction. We believe that the problems encountered by our students and teachers were typical not only of the universities of the republic but also of many secondary and higher educational institutions of the country.

Research Questions

In modern scientific and educational discourse, distance learning is one of the fundamental subjects of research (Dronova, 2018; Elizarov, 2016; Gozman & Shestopal, 1999; Grigorash, 2014; Kuznetsova, 2015; Vodolad et al., 2010; Zubov, 2016). The subject of our research is the distance learning experience that students of the Chechen State Pedagogical University received.

Purpose of the Study

This study is focused on the problems that students encountered in the process of distance learning and clarified the attitude of students to various options for organizing the educational process.

Research Methods

With the help of Google Forms, the "Distance Learning: Feedback" questionnaire was created. This research provides an analytical survey of a survey of 150 full-time students. Methods of sociological collection of information, analysis and generalization were used.

The survey involved 31.1 % of 1st-year students, 27.2 % of 2nd-year students, 21.9 % of 3rd-year students, 16.6 % of 4th-year, 2.6 % of 5th-year, 0.7 % of undergraduates.

Findings

The results obtained in this study are as follows.

The following answers were received to the question "Name the most productive opportunities for distance learning": 11.3 % of students chose the option "It is convenient to get knowledge through distance learning", 11.3 % of students chose the option "The ability to communicate with a teacher online", 17.2 % of students chose the option "The opportunity to work in parallel with learning", 19.2 % of students chose the option "Increasing the level of independence in mastering educational material", 23.8 % of students chose the option "Experience in using new technologies", 6.4 % of students chose the option "Stimulating personal growth", 51.7 % of students chose the option "I did not see the effectiveness of distance learning". 6 % of the students answered "other": "Everything is clear, but the university is interesting"; "Full paragraph"; "Better traditional teaching than distance learning"; "fewer expenses", "lack of time"; "For me, seeing the teacher in front of me is much more important since the teacher can pay attention immediately during the lesson to how students understand him, the practical lesson is lively. In general, I would like to say that remotely conducting classes is not effective and there is no interest since the student is deprived of many opportunities, for example, participation in various interesting events and the most important thing, in my opinion, is to see his friends live. In general, I want to say that I disapprove of distance learning. However, nevertheless, I want to emphasize and thank all the teachers for their help and understanding ";" It was challenging to find the understanding of the teacher remotely"; "There are no advantages".

The following answers were received to the question "How successful was the educational process of distance learning for you, how easy it was to study with this form": 37.1 % of students chose the option "It was convenient to study", 41.7 % of students chose the option "It was difficult to study", 21.2 % of students chose the option "It was impossible to study".

The following answers were received to the question "If it was difficult or impossible for you to study, then for what reasons": 31.8 % of the students chose the option "I had no problems in the process of distance learning", 9.3 % of the students chose the option "I didn't have technical means of communication", 27.2 % of the students chose the option "There was no available Internet connection", 23.2 % of the students chose the option "There were no conditions for learning at home", 25.8 % of the students chose the option "Other family members as and you studied remotely, which limited you in the use of a computer, communication facilities, premises", 14.7 % of students chose the option "other": "The connection was bad"; "Lack of direct communication with the teacher"; "It was difficult to master the material on my own"; "Leaving home, household chores are forgotten, and studying at home does not give the full sense of the educational process"; "There was not enough live communication"; "It was difficult because I cannot concentrate on my studies at home".

The following answers were received to the question "Did distance learning affect the quality of your knowledge?": 9.9 % of students chose the option "Yes, it did, the quality of knowledge improved", 33.8 % of students chose the option "Yes, it did, the quality of knowledge deteriorated", 53.6 % of the students chose the option "No, it did not affect, the quality of knowledge does not depend on the form of education". 2.7 % of the students chose the option "other": "to study live is better than through a screen"; "Poor self-organization"; "It is difficult to master the material; live half of the material was automatically memorized. It seems to me that it makes no sense to continue to study remotely!!!"; "Vision has deteriorated (and so bad)".

The following answers were received to the question "Are you satisfied with the level of control of the acquired knowledge and skills by the teacher in the process of distance learning": 48.3 % of students chose the option "The teacher gets an objective picture of the student's readiness", 50.3 % of students chose the option "The teacher does not get an objective picture of the student's readiness". 1.4 % of students chose the option "other": "Both options took place"; "It was different"; "I find it difficult to answer".

The following answers were received to the question "Students received an objective assessment of their progress": 55 % of students chose the answer "Yes, students received an objective assessment of their knowledge", 28.5 % of students chose the answer "No, thanks to distance learning, students had the opportunity to get an assessment, exceeding the quality of their knowledge ", 14.6 % of students chose the answer "No, due to distance learning, students received an assessment lower than the quality of their knowledge". 1.9 % of students chose the answer "other": "It was different", "I find it difficult to answer".

The following answers were received to the question "How, in your opinion, should distance learning be developed at your university in the next academic year": 7.3 % of students chose the answer "Full distance learning", 27.8 % of students chose the answer "Partial distance learning", 60.9 % of students chose the answer "Traditional training only". 4.0 % of students chose the answer "other": "no distance learning, please!"; "I do not know"; "No, no, in any case, do not take away our best student years"; "I ask you not to use distance learning since this will affect all universities in the country. Ask yourself the question, why would students, knowing that they will study remotely, enter into bonds? I believe that this step will significantly reduce the percentage of university admissions. Because it is important for students not only to gain knowledge but also to find new friends, in their way, one might even say that a student is a tourist who comes from another city or even a country to study culture"; "At least organize courses for teachers so that they are ready for such changes, both physically and mentally".

The following answers were received to the question "What type of Internet connection do you have at home – wired (including WIFI), mobile or not?": 31.8 % of students chose the answer "Wired", 62.9 % of students chose the answer "Mobile", 5.3 % of the students chose the answer "There is none".

The following answers were received to the question "During the period of distance learning, the level of the teacher's demands on students": 44.4 % of students chose the answer "Was higher than usual", 39.1 % of students chose the answer "Was the same as before distance learning", 16, 6 % of students chose the answer "Was lower than before distance learning".

The following answers were received to the question "Please indicate what types of devices you use to enter the educational portal": 8.6 % of students chose the answer "Personal computer", 18.5 % of students chose the answer "Laptop", 5, 3 % of the students chose the answer "Tablet", 97.4 % of the students chose the answer "Mobile phone".

The following answers were received to the question "What would be your recommendations for improving the quality of teacher-student interaction in case of continuing distance learning?" the following answers were offered: "Establish feedback: student-teacher. I think that establishing feedback will help control the learning process, emotional state and involvement of students"; "It would be good to use distance learning when students cannot attend an educational institution for various valid reasons. However, it is impossible to replace traditional teaching, because, without the relationship between the teacher and students, there are effects of education"; "I recommend that effect continue this kind of learning, as there is no difference between 'do not learn' and 'distance learning' "; "I wish some teachers a feeling of compassion, which they know about, but do not apply in their personal life (not to all!). Moral pressure (in any form) builds a wall between the teacher and the student. The student loses interest in this particular person and in his discipline do not think it is worth saying that it is the personality of the teacher that in most cases, becomes the impetus for the student's interest in what this person actually teaches. Students also see the teacher and students well, as well as the teacher himself. Therefore, if a teacher wants to be treated with respect, he must treat all students with respect!"; "God forbid we will have distance learning next academic year! This is awfully inconvenient! Much work fall elders, there is no free time, the quality of knowledge has significantly decreased, a lot is asked for school, it is inconvenient in the sense that not all students have the opportunity to study online at home. Some family circumstances do not allow them to study at home; a whole day is spent on completing and submitting assignments. The material is poorly assimilated because en hangs not only between the student but also with the teacher (sometimes you have to guess what he said). Students become much more withdrawn in terms of communication and socialization. If this continues, then people will become robots"; "I hope that we will be able to return to the traditional form of education. Nothing can replace live conversations with a teacher"; "I recommend holding distance video conferences, forums, various types of events to increase interest in distance learning. However, we must proceed from the fact that distance learning should be used only necessary"; "To check not the number of abstracts or the reading of texts by heart, but to check the knowledge gained during training and the ability to comprehend the text and express one's thoughts"; "An obvious plus of distance learning in expanding practical activities in working with information, the ability to make a real choice – the time of classes, their pace and intensity.

Conclusion

As a result of the study, the conclusions appeared that the main factors that hindered the successful adaptation of students from distancing learning could be divided into the following groups, namely, economic and psychological. Economic factors determine the weak material base of students in the organization of the educational process. For example, 97.4 % of students entered the educational portal using a mobile phone; more than 90 % of students did not have a personal computer at their disposal. 62.9 % of students entered the Internet using a mobile connection, which indicates that most of the students do not have access to the wired Internet (including WIFI). Psychological factors can be outlined by the lack of live communication, in demand for the usual format of organizing the learning space.

Most of the students (60.9 %) supported the traditional format of the educational process. At the same time, some found the distance learning format convenient (7.3 %). 27.8 % of students declared their readiness to switch to partial distance learning.

It is necessary to take into account the pros and cons of distance learning and organize the educational process in order to derive the maximum benefit from the possibilities of modern information and communication technologies. Improving the effectiveness of distance learning in universities of the republic should be implemented, taking into account economic and psychological factors with an effective combination of distance learning with traditional forms of education. It is necessary to use such teaching strategies that provide maximum perception and understanding of educational information, organize independent student work. The level of complexity of the initial presentation of the material must correspond to the existing cognitive abilities of the students so that they can understand it. Moreover, what is necessary, the educational process should take place in conditions of psychological comfort of the teacher and the student, who own modern technologies for organizing their educational space.

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17 May 2021

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Betilmerzaeva, M. M., Daudov, R. K., Denilkhanova, R. H., Elbieva, L. R., & Shamsuev, M. K. (2021). Problems Of Organizing Distance Learning: Sociological Analysis. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1973-1979). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.261