Assessing and Comparing Perceptions of Distance Education in the U.S. and Britain with Kazakhstan
Distance education is a form of education with intensive use of technologies inherited from full-time learning (face-to-face learning), correspondence learning (using mail systems) and independent learning (Moiseeva, 2005, p.220). Distance learning ideally gives an opportunity to broader audience to receive quality education for lower price. Changes were observed when top universities like Harvard and Berkley offered distance education (DE) program for anyone desiring to study (Lentel, 2012, pp.23-24). Similarly in Kazakhstan, for instance, there is a type of education program involving DE - ‘zaochoe obuchenie’. However, this type of an education had experienced a lot of limitations, such as inflexibility of evaluation time schedule, insufficient student motivation and lack of adequate practical skills (Moiseeva, 2005, pp. 219-220). According to Moiseeva (2005) students were lacking motivation and thinking about zaochnoe obuchenie as a source of getting easy diploma (p.221). Thus, distance education present in Kazakhstan established during Soviet period is undergoing crisis due to perception of its poor education quality.
Research papers assessing DE involve questioning students and comparing their knowledge with students sitting in the classroom (Pardasani et al., 2012, pp. 414-416). However, after obtaining knowledge and statement of accomplishment, the perception of professors and employers are not assessed. Especially, this is problematic in Kazakhstan where concept of distance education is not well understood. This research will explore problem of DE, analyze responses of professors about its quality and compare thoughts of employers from the U.S. and Great Britain with employers from Kazakhstan about DE.
The concept of DE is usually associated with development of technologies. Improvement of technologies, improving DE to match face-to-face education questions whether it is different from real classes (Fuegen, 2012, pp.233-238). The problem is that Kazakhstan employers do not know much about learning style and quality of education. In addition, according to Kazakh law, only people with disabilities, living outside of the country, doing military service, and studying in condensed educational programs can be officially DE students of the state universities (Profit.kz, 2012). There is also possibility to get an online diploma from one of the top universities, such as studying with Edx program. Simpson’s survey on human resources showed that 61% of respondents said online degrees are not credible due to lack of social interaction with peers, real-time pedagogical exchange and critical-thinking instructions (Simpson, 2006, p.48). Making DE more real through development of technology is one of the possible things to improve credibility. Informing wider audience and popularization of DE can improve situation...