Academic journal article The Journal of Educational Research

Effectiveness of Tutors' Role in Distance Education

Academic journal article The Journal of Educational Research

Effectiveness of Tutors' Role in Distance Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

The study aimed to evaluate role of tutors in distance learning. Results of study are based on data collected through a questionnaire from 6797 distance learners who completed semester under guidance of 1690 tutors during semester spring 2012 in Punjab. It concluded that tutors are well managing their most of duties in distance education but marking process of assignment has some problems. Tutors need to write comments on assignments that can help distance learners to elaborate weak portions of their assignments. Furthermore, it was concluded that tutors performance has positive correlation with the enrollment rate of distance learners. It recommend training workshop for tutors especially in areas showing poor enrollment rate in distance education courses. They must be given training regarding distance education rules and especially development of skill to mark assignments in such manners that help learners to improve their learning.

Keywords: Distance Education, Tutors, Teaching Learning Process, Formal Education, Guiding Techniques

Introduction

Distance education is a new spectrum of education and many countries of the world have valued it not only in developed but also in developing and under developing countries. Teaching learning process in distance education basis on learner centered techniques of education. Manjulika and Reddy (1999, p. 63) indicated, "Distance education circles around the learner centered system with teaching activity focused on facilitating learning. Learner no doubt, attached with an institution, study under instructions and guidelines of the institute and has to follow the rules given but most of the time study alone. Major learning of distance learner took place independently by learner's own pace and efforts.

Review of distance education system all around the world indicates that tutor is important part of system. Tutor is a person appointed to guide a group of students for a course for whole period of study during a semester. Tutor in distance education is generally expected like a teacher in formal system of education. Nevertheless, it is true that role of tutor in distance education remains different as compared to the role of teacher in conventional teaching environment. An ideal teacher working in conventional system of education is not compulsorily being a good tutor in distance education system. However, training of a trained and experienced teacher working in conventional school, college or university can help him to ensure the achievement of learning needs of distance learners.

The reasons for having idea to give training to a formal teacher about the system of distance learning and then take his help to achieve targeted goals of teaching in distance education can be understood by considering the following reasons.

* Distance learner are not supposed to attend the institute daily but their presence is compulsory during specific activities like as scheduled tutorials, workshops and examination for limited time period.

* Meetings of tutor and learner are not just as routine matter. Each meeting of tutor and learner is not only scheduled but also have specific objective for each event.

* Distance education focus learner centered techniques. Students' guiding techniques in learner centered process demand different role of teacher/ tutor. Only vigilant monitoring and technical support of tutor can satisfy needs of learners involved in the process of learner centered.

Unluckily, distance education system work in cooperation of formal institutions. Tutors for distance learners are mostly hired from the persons working in formal system of education. Training of tutors is mostly ignored assuming that they are trained teachers but in reality, they are mostly not skillful to work in distance learning. They are not aware of the basic philosophy and rules of distance education that have been established keeping in view the process of system and characteristics of distance learners. …

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