The paradigm of computer technological advancement has a different perspective; some people support it as a way of speeding up the education process, others consider it as a tool for exploring new possibilities, while some teachers consider it a step back. For instance, the social world has received a big boost from enhanced communication through the Internet, which was a traditional cause for deliberation. It is now more popular and efficient to communicate through social networks, such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook, than it was some years ago. For those who seeks for new possibilities, the Internet offers a chance to get a quality education, make a career, and develop a social life. This possibility has become real through virtual schools where a teacher and a student are separated by space and time, but are linked online. Therefore, it is possible for one now to attend class without leaving the house or having the need to travel to a learning institution. The Internet also proved to be a vital tool for different researches and studies. Information for almost all courses taught at school are easily accessible through search engines, like Google or Yahoo!. These advantages of the World Wide Web reduce the need to purchase textbooks or visit a library. It is possible to download huge volumes of data to one’s personal computer whenever and from anywhere. However, the Internet is threatening the conventional system of classrooms, which provides the student with a chance to communicate with the teachers in a face-to-face coaching program. Even though some argue that this method could help in determining areas of weakness in the student’s knowledge, due to direct contact of the tutor and student, there is no clear evidence of lowering of education quality due to the introduction of the Internet.
This research proposal seeks to assess the impact of distance learning through the Internet on the quality of education and proficiency of learners, as compared to institutions that still use a one on one teacher-student method.
Firstly, the problem of study under this research is categorically the part of the Internet usage in lowering the quality of learning through minimizing direct communication and interaction between a teacher and a student. Some scholars argue that learning through the Internet has a negative impact on the proficiency of the learner since it separates the student from the teacher. On the contrary, learning through the Internet has enhanced intensive research through material available on the World Wide Web. Moreover, most of the job opportunities demand high computer literacy, knowledge in software and hardware. Yamasaki (1996) asserts that students who learn through the Internet are acquainted with these facilities in advance and are able to use them effectively. Distance learning employs audio, visual, and texting systems, which form the basis of online communication between the tutor and student, allowing the two to be in direct contact, although not face-to-face one.
Traditionally, embracing the spirit of learning has been achieved in classrooms, where the teacher interacts with students proficiently, guides them through the course, and supervises the research activities. According to Guay (2006), this method gives the teacher an opportunity to get into contact well with the student in a one on one communication method. However, the face of this mode of teaching is slowly receiving a cold shower from technological advancement of the Internet (Veltman, 1996). Consequently, most institutions are using the mode of online teaching to reach students wherever they are. This new mode of teaching involves usage of video-based courses, where the teacher interacts with the student through the modern visual technological platform (Jeffre, & Rosenberg, 2010). It also employs the audio-based courses, where the students receive information from the tutor using sound devices of their computer system. Simon, Graziano, & Lenhart (2001) note that there are also materials typed, which are sent to the students, and they are able to use them for research. In case of student’s knowledge assessment, the tutor sends questions through the electronic mailbox, and once the student finds answers, he or she sends them back to the tutor for grading. This ensures that there is a direct contact between the student and the tutor, although they do not meet physically. There are some cases, where they do not even know each other.
Importance of the Problem Discussion
The major advantage of this mode of learning is that it increases the social spectrum of the participants and reduces time wasted on travelling to a designated place of learning. On the other hand, it is not easy for the tutor to assess the proficiency of a student since the line of separation by time and space between them is wide. According to Edge (2006), it is also an expensive affair since acquiring and running of online businesses is not a cheap thing. For instance, this possibility is practically impossible for the remote areas and less developed countries, which do not possess network facilities and Internet access.
A comparison between institutions that embrace learning through the Internet and the ones that do not practice the distance learning will distinguish the procedure under this research. It will involve visiting institutions that promote online learning; the assessment of the overall performance of the institution will be done. There will also be some interviews with the school administration on the challenges and benefits of this form of education. The next step will be to receive feedback from the students who have completed distant learning successfully on the proficiency of the system, and how they are coping with the allegation of the challenge of proficiency. This study will give a statistic data for the first comparison; the next step will focus on the institutions that do not use the mode of distant education through the Internet. The most effective approach will be to study the views of the administration and get their feedback on why upholding the traditional system of learning is their fundamental goal. In the research, the former students will be questioned on the setbacks that the system has had on their proficiency and some challenges that they have faced while taking this mode of learning.
How Research Findings Will be Disseminated
Statistical data will be presented in the form of questioners for easy responses; each question will have a space for the answer and general comments. For the credibility of the research, decision survey and analysis will be performed in the computer program. We expect that the research will prove that the Internet-based research and learning is better than the traditional way of classroom education. Comprehensive and detailed discussion will be vital for effective study and credible results. The received data will be essential in determining the advantages of the Internet learning, which includes faster access to required data, intensive research due to availability of information from the Internet search engines, and access to structured materials used in conventional distance learning.
In case of a positive response towards the facilitation of the Internet leaning from the results of this research, it will be essential to record all the answers and feedback received, in order to prepare recommendations for learning institutions. The research will become a strong background to eliminate all biases and loopholes on the issue of distant learning. This will include a move towards a harmonized curriculum for all students seeking education through the Internet. Consequently, it will attract more innovations and improvement of the system of education in general.
However, if the results in the proposal will demonstrate that the negative side of the Internet learning supersedes the advantages, the research will give recommendations on the need to improve the system or even seek for alternatives. The assessment of results will be reliable since it will be done in a computerized program that eliminates chances of any biases.
In conclusion, the Internet has changed the way that teaching and education are provided. It shifted the form of learning from the conventional way of face-to-face classroom meetings between the teacher and the student to other forms, where the student gets education programs from respective institutions through the Internet. This new phenomenon is termed as distance learning; it has enhanced access to education from institutions, situated far away from the student. The Internet has also facilitated research through providing an ability to download information, thus reducing the cost of buying textbooks. The Internet has also intensified peer sharing through online academic discussions that help students interact with their friends. However, critics of this system of learning argue that this remoteness between the student and the teacher minimizes chances of communication and effective interaction between the two. Unlike the traditional way of learning in classrooms made up of a teacher and student, this form of learning has eroded the credibility of close assessment of the student’s proficiency by the tutor. It is in this regard that uptake of research stipulated in this proposal will give clarity on the matter and provide eventual recommendations to justify these allegations. This will help to shape the future of the Internet learning to give access to it to remote areas, which will enable an affordability of higher institutions of learning.