Dương Thăng Long, deputy principal of the Hà Nội Open University, talks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economy and Urban) newspaper about e-learning
What is the positive side to e-learning compared with a classroom education?
The Hà Nội Open University has conducted e-learning for the past 26 years, and we have seen it has some significant good points.
Firstly, it is flexible. In normal study methods, each class has 40-50 students. The teacher prepares a lesson and teaches the whole class. But in e-learning, the lesson is designed to suit each individual or group.
Secondly, teachers who contribute to improving results pay more attention to personalisation. For instance, the teacher can divide students into different groups and then give them different situations that are suitable with their capacity and discuss with them online.
To do it, teachers need more time, not only 45 minutes like traditional lessons.
E-learning is also flexible. Learners can study anywhere on smartphones, laptops or computers.
What obstacles are facing schools with regards to e-learning?
E-learning is a new way of studying that uses technology, so both teachers and learners need to change.
Learners must be positive and dedicated to their studies while teachers must design lessons in ways that are easy to understand.
Besides tech support, teachers will have to spend more time on teaching different groups or different individuals.
With the COVID-19 epidemic, many universities want to organise lessons online but they do not know where to start. What is your opinion?
Universities need to adopt new methods for e-learning.
Firstly, they need policies. Universities must bring e-learning into their development strategies and then invest in infrastructure and technology. People often say: you have knowledge, I also have knowledge, so we can exchange. As a result, we will double our knowledge and ideas.
Lecturers must change and share their intellect instead of keeping it to themselves. This knowledge will be exchanged during lessons for public use.
Students should also be prepared for the new method of studying, and managers should support lecturers.
Universities need to set up norms to enroll staff in different positions, and give them regular training.
One more factor contributing to the effectiveness of e-learning is technology and film studios to record the lessons. Besides, we need a good internet connection.
I think schools should cooperate to share experiences in the field and use technology know-how from each other.
Learners say they find e-learning difficult because it depends on their equipment and the internet. What do you think?
At present, with software and support technology, learners can study on smartphones. The Hà Nội Open University implements two ways for students to study online. The first is for students to use equipment to connect to the university’s website. The second uses applications. When wifi is available, the applications will download lessons and questions from teachers. After finishing exercises, students can send them through to the university.
Do we need a legal framework for e-learning?
A legal framework is necessary for schools to implement e-learning. It’s also a condition to recognise e-learning results.
The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) in 2017 issued Circular 10/2017/BGDĐT about regulations for e-learning at universities. The Hà Nội Open University now has 10 majors applying e-learning with nearly 20,000 students.
At present, the MoET is compiling a draft circular to allow universities to apply traditional teaching methods with e-learning and the results will be recognised. It means that the MoET is creating a legal framework for university education combined with technology.
Many people think it will be difficult to apply in high schools. What is your opinion?
E-learning provides students with knowledge but other skills are learnt out of school through activities at home and in the community. Family, school and society shape people’s culture, capacity and skills.
We can take advantage of the good points of e-learning to support traditional education and improve quality. We should not totally depend on e-learning, we should apply it at different levels based on the capacity of each school, majors and subjects. — VNS