Distance education is a form of education where the teacher-student interaction is made in the distance, reflecting all the components inherent to the educational process (objectives, contents, methods, organizational forms, educational tools) and realized by specific means of Internet-technologies or other means, envisaging interactivity.
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Distance education is an independent form of education, Information technologies play a leading role in this form of education.
The modern distance education is built on the use of next basic elements:
- an information-carrying medium (mail, television, radio, communication networks),
- methods, depending on the technical realization of information exchange.
Presently, the interactive co-operating between a teacher and a student by means of the communication networks is most promising, with the special role of the Internet.
In 2003 an initiative group ADL began the development of standards for distance interactive education of Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) that supposes the wide use of internet-technologies in distance education. Introduction of the standards assists both the deepening of the requirements to the composition of distance education and the requirements to software used for the purpose. Presently, there are some software developments that are widely enough used for distance education, giving quality services in this area.
Distance education allows:
- to bring down the expenses on training (both students and teachers will not have to rent an apartment, spend money on journeys to their school, etc.);
- to make education more available (more people will be able to reach for classes, including, at the same time);
- to improve quality of education due to application of modern technology (Internet, e-books, media);
- to create a single educational environment (especially topically for the corporate education).
Distance education occupies an increasingly greater role in modernisation of education. It uses educational technologies otherwise unavailable without the Internet for separate upgrade qualification courses and for receiving higher education.
It is possible to distinguish the next basic forms of the distance education: online and offline mode. Education over the Internet possesses several substantial advantages:
- Flexibility (students can get education in suitable to them time and in a comfortable place);
- Long-range action (the students are not limited by the distance and can study in independence from the place of residence);
- Economy (there are no costs on the distant journeys to the place of education).
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