ANYWHERE? ANYTIME?

The rapid development of technologies has made online learning environment a huge platform for millions of students who want to upgrade their knowledge and skills ‘not going out of their bedroom’. Proponents of e-learning claim that it is more student-centered, accessible and convenient. It promotes independence and autonomy in learning, objectivity and clear assessment system.

Writing about web-based ESL classroom, Son (2007) professes the view that the right usage of the World Wide Web embellishes language teaching and learning. This research results demonstrated the positive attitudes of learners towards the online learning environment. All the 12 adult ESL students who participated in the research were given pre-created web activities and task-based activities which proved to be perceived as quite an enjoyable, helpful and convenient way of learning a language. Moreover, the study suggests the areas for further research and a strong necessity to develop more online ESL resources for students and teachers.

Pozzi et al. (2007) propose the study which looks into computer-supported collaborative learning environments (CSCL) and the effective techniques of tracking the interaction between teachers and learners. Participative, interactive, social, cognitive and teaching dimensions are analyzed via the corresponding indicators. Thus, the authors underline the importance of the collaboration in teaching and learning on a deeper level than mechanical checking and the necessity to further develop the instruments which help to evaluate success in learning in a more complex way.

With all its merits, online-learning has a few meaningful drawbacks, one of which is that it is not applicable to some ‘hands-on’ fields like medicine or handcrafting. Also, students in e-learning are too bound to technology, need to be computer-literate and have an Internet provider. Finally, online learning is more appropriate for adults rather than for kids whose autonomy and responsibility is not yet well-developed.

Being a distant Master student, I clearly see all the above-mentioned strengths and weaknesses in online-learning. What would you add from your personal experience?

Reference:

Pozzi, F., Manca, S., Persico, D., & Sarti, L. (2007). A general framework for tracking and analysing learning processes in computer‐supported collaborative learning environments. Innovations in Education and Teaching International,44(2), 169-179. Retrieved from Taylor & Francis http://ezproxy.library.nu.edu.kz:2054/doi/full/10.1080/14703290701240929#abstract on 8, September, 2015

Son, J. B. (2007). Learner experiences in web-based language learning.Computer Assisted Language Learning20(1), 21-36. Retrieved from Taylor & Francis http://ezproxy.library.nu.edu.kz:2054/doi/full/10.1080/09588220601118495#abstract on 8, September, 2015

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9 thoughts on “ANYWHERE? ANYTIME?

  1. Language learning and ICT are living together long time. Since 1950 and even earlier, theacher were using technologies, available for the period to provide effective learning process. Currently, the quality of on-learning, as the most popular ICT for English language learning, very much depends on the quality of Internet access and computers. Moreover, depends on the level of teachers’ computer literacy level.

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  2. Gulnara, thank you for posting this blog. Regarding the summary you shared I could see general attitude of teachers and learners toward online learning. Moreover, you listed benefits and pitfalls of this mode of learning.

    As for my experience, I also practiced pure online courses and blended forms of study. The main challenge during online Academic English course was lack of communication and collaboration, when I had to survive independently. Instructions of course tutors were not always clear and specific and I had to ask to clarify. In this case delay of responses happens a lot due to Internet connection errors, tutors` business… Thus, it leads to dismotivation and misunderstanding between me and instructor. Nowadays, I think that the main reason was that I was not ready to work independetly with high degree of responsibility and self-regulation. I used to be guided, controlled and directed in a classroom environment, when I can interact with peers and got immediate feedback. As an example of strength of online education, I can name convinience, when you can get education anywhere and anytime. There are thousands of online international internship programs and grants that you may apply for. You do not need even leave your room to advance your knowledge. Flexibility – you may arrange your time, efforts and attempts in your own way. Time saving – you do not need to spent hours in exhausting lecture halls, ask permission from boss to leave the job earlier, stuck in traffic jams to get college.

    How do think, Gulnara, why online education in our country is less popular than in US and European countries?

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    1. Indeed! I agree with the positive things in online education you’ve listed. I also relish the opportunity to work AND study – being an online student I can grow as a professional and advance my career as well as learn and enrich the knowledge. Moreover, it helps me personally to be in our students’ shoes and understand them better.
      As for the popularity of online education in Kazakhstan, I do believe it is a matter of time. Early days. It will become more and more common with due development of Internet access and people’s mentality. Cheers!

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  3. I support the idea that the greatest advantage of online mode of learning is an opportunity to work and study at the same time. It benefits those who cannot enroll in a full-time programme, and, what is even more exciting, it brings students from all over the world together in the same online ‘classroom’. However, online students often lack teacher-student interaction and do not get proper feedback from instructors, and it may become an ostacle for successful online studying.

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  4. Dear Gulnara,

    Thank you for your wonderful explanation and interpretation of the conception online learning. I also can say that it is very beneficial for all of us to apply and study in ‘distance learning’ form of study. I even could not imagine me to involving in the full day learning, thank you Nazarbayev University. At university I experienced the way which was absolutly new for me. At the first time I have asked myself, how it is possible to study and do not have full access to contact with the Professor.
    Actually, when I first time heard about Online learning I was confused because I used to study on traditional style (lecture, seminar and so on) where you can see and contact in real life with your Professor.
    However, there are some drawbacks of online learning. As you mentioned above that it is useful for students who are able to manage own time and motivationally focus on learning process but as showed my experience not all students have such skill. That is why I think that only at university level it is applicable not at the secondary and high school. Cheers!

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  5. Gulnara,
    thank you a lot for issues raised in this blog post.
    I would like to read the articles that you mentioned to explore the idea of learnng ESL on-line. Then I think it would be a great idea to ask teachers of NIS who are now having experience with “Discovery” program where they are learning English by practicing their computer and language skills. You may have a survey and ask their opinion on effectiveness of such learning. Moreover, you may expand our understanding of the problem in the context of Kazakhstan based on these findings.

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  6. Great second post and wonderful discussion here. Your post is a perfect example of how two texts can be summarized independently and then incorporated into one single piece of writing. I can only make two suggestions, the first word-choice, and the second referencing.
    1. “embellish” is usually used with physical items being decorated (“blue silk embellished with golden embroidery”) or with people telling stories and adding details that are not true ( “she had real difficulty telling the truth because she liked to embellish things”).
    2. “Participative, interactive…” When you take a phrase, a list, or part of a sentence from the text (like Pozzi’s five-dimensional model), be sure to add quotation marks.

    4.5/5

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  7. Dear Gulnara,

    thank you for your post. I find the article about ESL online learning particularly interesting since I teach English myself, so I think I will have a look at it to get more insight into the issue. What has also caught my attention is one of the drawbacks of online learning you mention – in order to be able to e0learn a person has to be computer-literate. Yes, this is a common issue in our country. Only people of younger generation possess computer skills at advanced level while those who are older in many cases lack computer literacy. Therefore, unfortunately, e-learning is not available to everyone. Probably, there might be solutions for this problem. For example, provide special computer-literacy courses for those who are in need of them. This is an issue to be solved…

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