In the context of strong developing technology, universities’ e-learning programs are emerging as a learning solution that delivers superior advantages and efficiencies.
While learning to supplement knowledge or fostering professional competence for the job, learners tend to choose learning solutions that guarantee not only the quality, but also the convenience and flexibility in terms of time and place.
In Vietnam, many universities keep on researching, developing e-learning programs, and applying advanced technology to ensure that thousands of students can access to knowledge without time and space limits and reach their dreams of working in global competitive environment.
VOH will have an interview with Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh, Director of eLearning Center of HCMC Open University (ELO) about this.
* VOH: Can you tell us about the highlights of e-learning, Doctor?
Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh: One of them is that learners and lecturers use devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. connecting to the internet and get access to learning management system. So, the highlight is its flexibility, learners can study anytime and anywhere.
* VOH: Doctor, can we compare the results of e-learning with those of traditional learning?
Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh: In an education institution, they can use one training program, depending on the target learners to choose suitable method. In online studying, unlike traditional one, learners are not able to contact face-to-face with their lecturers. That’s why instructional design need to be specific. Hence, the school must invest in infrastructure and learning management system. The content shall be succinct and suitable for target learners. The school can also use online training method, not only for e-learning but also for face-to-face training programs.
A remarkable characteristic of online learning is that all activities of lecturers, and learners will be tracked on LMS. The most important part is, that all, learning and evaluation activities are designed to align with the activities of the programs and ensure the quality of the programs.
* VOH: Doctor, how about assessment activities? Are there any proplems with exams and test format? Is it online or on-campus?
Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh: In the world, there are also schools/universities offering fully online learning programs, and the assessment activities are carried out. The process could not happen without the support of advanced technology. There are softwares, technological solutions, for examples, checking eye retinas, fingerprints, turning on 360-degree webcam mode, etc. However, there are several universities requesting students to attend on-campus exams. In Vietnam, currently, formative assessments are conducted online – as in our university, final exams shall be taken on campus or at the local centers.
* VOH: So, according to you, is that the limitation of online training?
Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh: In my opinion, it is not completely a limitation, since it has its own advantages. After all, we need interaction when studying. No matter how real it is, virtual environment cannot be equal to how we meet, face to face. Final exams are also the time for students to see each other and teachers at school. For the degree as a bachelor program, it is the point that needs to be carefully considered.
* VOH: Doctor, with the development of online training, what does the concept of lifelong learning change in this context?
Dr. Phan Thi Ngoc Thanh: Previously, open training and distance training have appeared for a long time, originating from Open University (UK) before spreading worldwide. In Vietnam, in the early 90s, the government approved to the establishment of two schools in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (currently HCM Open University and Hanoi Open University), contributing to the promotion of learning society. Lifelong studying is the mission of not only the two universities but also society. The demand of lifelong studying is increasing as the society grows. In the past, instead of attending distance-learning courses by various methods such as correspondence, providing learning materials for homeschoolers, or learning through television, radio, broadcast, etc. and currently e-learning. Studying is more flexible, and learners can study anytime with e-learning. In my opinion, the advent of online training helps the ability to access knowledge of the learners become more diverse and more convenient. Therefore, it gives better support to the lifelong studying demand of individual. With the development of science and technology, frequent update and improvement of skills are needed, as life changes everyday.