VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS AND LEARNING CHANGE IN MODERN HIGHER EDUCATION DURING THE COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: ATTITUDES OF UNIVERSITY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The rapid spread of new COVID-19 coronaviruses throughout China and the world in 2019–2020 has had a great impact on world economic and social development. The pandemic has radically changed people's lives and activities. It is a temporary emergency, but experts in various fields of science are already predicting significant changes in various areas of people's lives. Today's situation in the universities of the world is virtual learning during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Mass distance teaching and learning practices were not before the pandemic. Therefore, it can be argued that the scientific sources that analyze distance teaching and learning were intended to discuss the experiences and attitudes of technology enthusiasts and visionaries (according to qualitative diffusion model of E. Rogers and G. A. Moore). In this case, it was possible to analyze the experiences of technology enthusiasts, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards (according to qualitative diffusion model of E. Rogers and G. A. Moore) in distance teaching and learning. Half a year ago, most teachers knew how to teach and understood how their students think and learn. Now teachers have to change the nature of their work and learn new skills themselves. And most importantly, you have to answer the questions yourself when faced with the challenge of teaching without eye contact and body language.
The aim of this article is to discuss forced innovation in virtual learning models and to reveal the attitudes of students and teachers towards distance learning and teaching.
The research question addressed in the study: In what way do students reflect on using virtual learning environment (VLE) for their studies? What is the student's approach to distance learning in an emergency situation during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic? What is the attitude of university teachers, who have worked in a virtual learning environment in extreme conditions, to distance learning?
The article presents the analysis of the two studies. In September 2019, the first year students were asked to share their views on learning in a VLE. Now (April - June 2020), they have no choice but to learn in a VLE, i. e. everyone has to try virtual learning. Therefore, the attitude of students is relevant today, as it can help highlight activities that are acceptable to students in a VLE. This can serve in the future for the development of the qualitatively new learning environments for students.
The study involved 34 lecturers who shared their work experience in the fall semester of 2019 and the spring semester of 2020 (i.e., when they had to work in the conditions of forced innovation). Teachers' approaches to distance learning will help to identify aspects of distance teaching / learning that are important, acceptable or unacceptable to them.
Keywords: Virtual learning environment, virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning environment of university.