THE ROLE OF ADVANCED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DISTANCE EDUCATION NETWORKS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE.
Prof. Tamás Lajos, Co-Chairman of EDEN-EADTU Task Force Eastern Europe, Dr. András Szûcs Prof. Jacques Vauthier Co-Chairman of EDEN-EADTU Task Force Eastern Europe,
European Distance Education Network European Association of Distance Teaching Universities October 1996.
The rapid and positive change of appreciation of open and distance learning, mainly due to the development of the application of advanced information technology and the evolution of the concept of the information society, has interestingly coincided with the rapid development of open and distance learning in Central and Eastern Europe. This process has been supported and stimulated in the region to a large extent by the “PHARE Multi-Country Co-operation in Distance Education” programme. The development of the initial phase is worth a summative analysis. Since no rigid tradition or habit restricts governments and the human resource development sphere of these countries from introducing new educational methods, there is a unique chance to establish efficient and up-to-date systems of education and training, relying on the new achievements of open and distance learning and information technology. Moreover, the emerging global market of education materials and delivery systems, which can easily be considered as a consequence of the integration of open and distance learning and information technology, means certainly enhanced efficiency and quality, but in the meantime it can endanger local educational cultures if they do not follow the technical development. The “Joint Task Force for Central and Eastern Europe” has been established by two major European distance education organizations: the European Distance Education Network (EDEN) and the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), in order to promote open and distance learning in the region by providing expert support to institutions and organizations, and to assist them in the successful implementation of their development strategies. This study is one of the contributions of the EDEN-EADTU Joint Task Force. It intends to summarize present trends and to analyse ideas and proposals on the use of advanced information technology in open and distance learning, with relevant conclusions mainly for the Eastern and Central European region, The study is intended to assist decision makers, distance educators, university administrators, etc. in their activities in this significant field. Since the PHARE Multi-Country Project on Distance Education programme is one of the determining facilitators in the region, the study will comment about and focus on the first experiences of the activities achieved in the framework of this programme.
2/ THE CHANGING ROLE AND PERSPECTIVES OF OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING IN THE EUROPEAN HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. Distance education and the new trends in human resource development One can identify a few general trends challenging the whole human resource development sphere all over the world, inspiring and pushing the substantial changes in the education and training sphere. These trends have been summarised in the strategy paper of the European Distance Education Network (EDEN) in the following way: "The rapidly growing awareness of the importance of both the quality and quantity of human resources has resulted in an increasing need for relevant and high quality education and training in society. The development of human resources, and the principle of equal opportunities for individuals, requires access to education for non-traditional students and trainees. Generally, however, the increasing diversity and numbers of students has not been matched by a similar increase in public funds, so the introduction of new approaches, and new and efficient methods of teaching and learning has become crucial. The...
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