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"The digital revolution was the most influential factor behind the increasing uptake of distance learning degrees. Distance learning has now taken the shape of medium learning and we are seeing that e-learning is opening new avenues, without the constraints of location and time."
This is the view expressed by the director of Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL), Swati Mujumdar. In an interview with DNA, Mujumdar said that the introduction of interactive e-learning content in curriculum has provided convenience, ease and flexibility to the students. In the pre-digital days, the delivery method was traditional text-based print correspondence format, wherein students received course materials and assignments, with no advance formats like the Internet, cellphones and social networking sites. Students now have so much access to knowledge on the Internet that they are aware and firm about the educational programmes they choose. "Students must know that there is a difference between information available on the Internet and real knowledge. A lot of information is available to students on the Internet, but what we teach them through distance education is knowledge and how to apply that knowledge in real situations," the SCDL director said. In the new environment, teachers nowadays play the role of facilitator and students have become learners. "Nowadays students know the importance of learning. The growing cost of education and those who have to look for jobs at an early age due to financial or family constraints find distance education possible, practical and reasonable," said Mujumdar. Interactive e-learning content as a supplementary learning methodology at SCDL was introduced in the year 2004. "In line with current market trends, considering different components of the whole learning system, we are today using a blended learning methodology for all our distance learning programmes. The methodology combines printed self-learning material, e-learning, pre-recorded DVD lectures and faculty interaction through chat sessions and virtual classroom facility," she said. The online faculty chat sessions and virtual classroom facility with the faculties removes the distance barrier between a teacher and a student, she said. "Students are evaluated on the basis of assignments, submissions, projects and examinations as prescribed for a programme. They are made to understand concepts through case studies, practical examples and how to apply the concepts in real-life situations," she told DNA. Distance learning is a low cost online method of learning, which requires self-motivation in students.
Courtesy: DNA India
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