ERG SES D 02, Online Learning
Thanks to the advances in technology, scholars in the field of education have been trying to come up with more comprehensive methods of instruction that make possible what had been impossible without technology. One of the most comprehensive solutions to instructional needs in the modern learning contexts is distance education, sometimes referred to as e-learning. Among many others, Volery and Lord (2000) defines it as a pedagogical approach which has a potential to replace traditional classroom which was bound to face-to-face interaction and dependent on synchronous time and place.
There are many reasons to use distance education tools, which have been proven in many different studies. For instance, effective use of educational technologies helps to narrow the gap of inequality of opportunities on condition that it is implemented in a principled manner. (Atack & Rankin, 2012; Şenyuva, 2011). Harris & William (1977) state it occurred as a result of inevitable process of increasing population and therefore increasing demand for education while schooling rate couldn’t catch up with this continuously-increasing need. Another reason is the changing perceptions of higher education in the world. As today there are a greater number of literate people and the need for continuous updating our professional knowledge is seen as a crucial skill of 21st century, distance education can also be an answer to the need for life-long learning. Furthermore, thanks to globalisation, increase and spread of knowledge is faster than ever and in the new age, quick access to information is becoming more and more important (Dahlman, Routti and Ylä-Anttila, 2007).
The literature reveals many studies showing numerous implementations of LMS in higher education institutions. For instance, Laurillard (2008) states it is very important for university students to use e-learning tools at that level as it gives them a chance to be equipped with digital literacy skills before they go into their professional career. However, Birch & Burnett (2009) report that e-learning is still not practiced very extensively across the universities and it requires more educational leadership from the administration. Koohang & Durante (2003) adds that although it grows rapidly, e-learning is in its early phases. To the knowledge of the researcher, there is not a comprehensive study that illustrates the rate of use of LMS in higher education or K-12 level. In addition to that, Kavak (2011) reports that the demand for higher education is continuously increasing and the meaning of higher education is subject to change in the future thanks to the changing socio-economic status within the dynamics of the society.
The purpose of this systematic review is to compile and review the studies on teachers’ attitudes towards distance learning in Turkey, students’ satisfaction of and attitudes towards distance learning in formal education in Turkey.
For this purpose, this study analysis to answer the following questions:
- What are the perceptions of students enrolled in Turkish universities towards using a learning management system for distance education?
- What are the perceptions of faculty teaching in Turkish universities towards using a learning management system for distance education?
The literature-foundation for this review was done through multiple sources. For this purpose, electronic databases including ProQuest, Web of Science, Science Direct, Taylor & Francis Online and Scopus were utilized. Considering the fact that distance education first started to be discussed in Turkey in the1920s and it was not until the1980s when there was an official faculty for distance education, the review included the studies conducted after the 2000s when distance education started to be an area of research and multiple universities including METU and Istanbul Bilgi University started offering distance education programs (Bozkurt, 2017). In this study, the year of publication for articles was limited to 2007-2018. The search queries consisted of the keywords “distance education”, “LMS”, “attitude”, “higher education”, “satisfaction” including their multiple combinations for databases within the context of Turkey. Among the preliminary results, the ones only listed were those written in Turkish or English. After all these steps, 19 studies that met all the aforementioned criteria thoroughly were listed for this review. Among all the studies analysed 11 (57.9%) were quantitative, 7 (36.9%) were qualitive studies and 1 (5.2%) study used mixed method.
STUDENT ATTITUDES TOWARDS DISTANCE EDUCATION results show that most students favor the use of distance education and some of the most highlighted advantages of distance education seem to be accessibility of the resources, the help of self-paced education and the integration of technology to contribute to students’ digital literacy. Moreover, the participants who have negative attitudes towards distance learning generally prefer the blended learning environments instead of the removal of LMS. These results can clearly be related with social constructivism because students are pleased to be able to find authentic materials and construct their own knowledge with the help of distance education and technology, but they also want to be involved in a community and interact with peers and teachers which is an indispensable part of the social constructivist theory. FACULTY ATTITUDES TOWARDS DISTANCE EDUCATION Even though there are a number of studies showing that more students enjoy using distance education in spite of some disagreement among Turkish university students, the data about the faculty members’ attitudes towards the same orientation is limited to only 4 studies. It can be concluded that administrators are eager to provide distance education when they feel the demand coming from students and they have relatively positive attitudes towards distance education thinking that it can help the institution gain prestige.
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