Distance education is a practical, useful and pragmatic science containing correspondence material (Greville & Keegan, 1982)derived from online sources, interactive/participatory experiences (James Taylor Models of Distance Education ss cited by Taylor, 1998) and relevant open access sources drawn from the World Wide Web combined with valuable technology into a body of beliefs, principles, content, and methods focused on the problems of long-distance education for adults and youth. It aims at guiding students how to correspond with the school/institute via post. Under distance education students learn by using technical media, working on the internet and get access to academic material in the fields of open, distance and flexible education. It is “the family of instructional methods in which the teaching behaviours are executed apart from the learning behaviours, including those that in a contiguous situation would be performed in the learners’ presence, so that communication between the teacher and the learner must be facilitated by print, electronic, mechanical or other devices.” (Moor, n.d. as cited by Desmond, 1990).
By way of distance education we can impart skills, knowledge which guide students how to generate better learning skills and technological know-how which will rationalize and increase division of labour and specialization (Peters, n.d. as cited by Desmond, 1990). In any emerging economy, the graph of specialization and the division of labour is increasing at an intense rate and with conviction distance education is a way to achieve both division of labour and specialization which will lead a path towards growth and development (Ibn Khaldun, 1958).
Under the distance mode of education, students are free from the restrictions of the time, speed and place of study. It helps learners help them increase their potential, and improve their learning outcomes. It is dissemination of that knowledge which is hybrid and blended, useful for improving the participation of students. The aim of blended education is to integrate the online digital stuff with conventional classroom methodology. That is to say that, it integrates online technology with classroom lecturing. Distance education provides awareness about the improved techniques and practices in a substantial manner which helps students in taking decisions off the school/classroom conditions. It involves the conscious use of information and communication technology to help students form good educational decisions even away from school or in the absence of teacher.
The Distance education system comprises online education coupled with the courses that are mostly differentiated, hybrid (Sharon, 2007) blended or even cent percent distance mode of learning. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), proposing all inclusive and comprehensive communicating and interactive involvement and open access via World Wide Web or other grid skills, know-how(s) and technologies are recent advancements in distance mode of education. It is an outline or agenda for effective teaching that encompasses on condition that different learners should be provided with different opportunities and possibilities to learning frequently in the same setting in terms of gaining content, building ideas; and developing teaching materials and valuation trials so that all learners can pick up effectively, irrespective of variances in aptitude.
Different functions characterize the tasks of distance system of education:Massive Open Online Courses are distance education driven, implying that Massive Open Online Courses spread as and when distance educationtakes place and thus, transferring wide ranging online effective courses in multiple directions for development of online education that is justifiable.
The correspondence mode of education is a formal way of education under which the educational institution delivers instructional materials through mail or electronic transmission along with studies, check-ups and examinations on the resources and materials to students who are detached from the teacher/instructor and apply distance mode of education (SACSCOC, 1866). And, mmanagement of correspondence resources is also distance education driven, implying that management of correspondence resources takes place when distance education takes place.
Aptitude transfer is also distance education driven, implying that aptitude transfer spreads as and when distance education spreads and thus, transmitting information, knowledge and capabilities in manifold directions for growth and development of knowledge that is all inclusive. Lucas (1988) assumes that investment in education creates human capital which is a vital component in growth and development process. Consequently, ability spillovers will build human capital and capacity building of all stakeholders involved with distance mode of learning.
Now, the question is why distance mode of education is preferred now-a-days?
Distance education seems to be the best method for encouraging students to help themselves, using correspondence material and online resources to the maximum and text book material and lecture system to the minimum, in the process of learning. No doubt, the notion of distance education and its advantages and applications are well known to academicians, educationists and representatives working in the education department, social sciences and allied sciences, still the nature, scope, importance, and application part of distance education are not well understood by the wider sections of people in various areas of distance learning. Therefore, the purpose of distance education is to make us realize the importance of online learning, e-learning and visual aids in the over-all development of the personality of a student so that he can carry out his education smoothly and spread knowledge across the globe.
In this part of the world , systems, schemes and development programmes fail not because of a single factor but many interrelated factors-social, economic, political and many more (Qadri & Kasab, 2017). Education institutes fail to integrate proper technology in classrooms, impart appropriate skills and training which result in disequilibrium in the national and international labor markets. Sound understanding of distance education is required in order to boost Open Educational Resources (OER) which are free of cost online resources used by teachers who recommend the same to students. Development of distance mode of education will definitely overcome the bad characteristics of our text books and references so as to put our education system on the path of growth and development that is self- sustaining.
The distance education system which offers a wide range of online courses will definitely bring positive changes in education. It will certainly lead a path towards the development of education system which still depends largely on text books and lecturing in the classroom. The aim of education should go beyond text book learning and rote memorization because the better and higher end should be its ability to provide employment, raise spirits, generate income and improve productive capacity in an economy. It is necessary to develop distance learning centers, correspondence centers, and cluster and community institutes connecting distance learning centers around the globe.
Keegan. Desmond. (1990). “Foundations of Distance Education”, Routledge, London, p.37.
Ibn Khaldun. (1958). ‘The Muqaddimah’ (translated by Franz Rosenthal). Vol. 3 (43). Patheon Press, New York, United States.
Qadri, B. & Kasab, A, M. (2017). Educational Unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir: Causes, Consequences and Remedial Measures. Asian Journal of Managerial Science. Vol.6 (2): July-Dec. pp. 1-66.
Rumble Greville and Desmond Keegan. (1982). “Introduction”, in, G. Rumble and K. Harry (Ed). The distance teaching universities, Crown Helm and St. Martin Press London & New York.
SACSCOC. (1866). Distance and Correspondence education. A policy statement.Retrieved from https://www2.fgcu.Edu/ACS/Files/SACSCOC_Distance_and_correspondence_policy_final.pdf.
Taylor, James. C. (1998). Flexible Delivery: The Globalisation of Lifelong Learning, 1JOL, Vol.7 (l).
Tabor,Sharon W. (2007). Narrowing the Distance: Implementing a Hybrid Learning Model. Quarterly Review of Distance Education. IAP. Vol. 8 (1) : 48-49. ISBN 9787774570793.
Research Scholar, Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209, S.P. College, Srinagar; Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Science; IJRULA title awards, 2018 winner (Best Researcher, 2018). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org