Considering the young make up of Irans population, change of the perception
of the people compared to the past two decades and some socio-cultural considerations,
the need for paying attention to education and developing the skilled and expert
manpower in certain academic fields at the universities is more obvious. It
is clear that the traditional universities and higher education institutes,
especially in fields of study such as architecture education due to lack of
enough experts and instructors can not supply the demand of the countrys
need and/or the desire of the many students who want to study in these fields.
As it is known, during the last three decades the traditional system has not
been able to meet >15% of the countrys need therefore, alongside the
traditional system of education, the necessity of using open learning system
and benefiting from the educational technology in order to increase the capacity
and better use of educational resources and expert instructors is totally felt.
Study of the history of education shows that lack of enough expert manpower
as a problem, did exist in the todays developed countries and in dealing
with this problem, the open learning system based on technology in comparison
with the traditional learning system, presents more practical, trustworthy and
economical solutions. This new method due to its specific characteristics, especially
its coverage capability can be an effective and complimentary factor in supplying
the demand of the society for expert manpower. The vast and continuous flow
of the information in todays world inevitably but gradually is turning
us into a global society, a world in which most of the areas in it is connected
to one another via electronic communication devices.
The trend of globalization can be defined as unrestricted movement of people
from on part of the world to another part of the globe, free transference of
natural resources, capital, information and international education (Srivastava
and Reddy, 1999). One of the consequences of the trend of globalization
is change of traditional models and introduction of new systems which may even
be based on the traditional ones.
In this day and age, people and the organizations which are involved in education must understand and accept the fact that no nation can isolate and lock itself behind closed borders and guarantee her survival, continuity and progress. Instead, they need to join the international community and become an active member of the global society. Due to the special attributes of the open-learning system and distance education and industrialization of learning in this system, the need which was mentioned above is more felt here than any other place especially, in the field of architecture education because of the role of the information and communication in it.
Distance education is a new system and an added resource alongside the traditional
education which possesses special characteristics such as separation of the
instructor and the student both from physical and time aspects, indirect relationship
between the teacher and the student and the students having more control over
the phenomenon of learning than it is possible in the traditional systems of
education (Sherry, 1996). Even though, in various countries
in the world depending on their geographical, cultural and social settings this
system of education has been used and implemented from the elementary to higher
education in different fields of study in the field of architecture education
it has often posed the educational planners and the programmers with serious
challenges. The nature of the academic courses, the way the various elements
of education interact with one another, the type of the media and the vessels
of delivery and the vast amount of technology which are used are a few of the
factors which are effective in the quality of the education provided in this
system of education. Capability of this system of education in providing a viable
and effective form of education in most of the theoretical fields is crystal
clear but its ability to do the same in the practical academic fields such as
architecture education which learning practical skills and solving mathematical
problems is a must, faces lack of clarity as far as the quality of the education
of the students is concerned. Assessment of the level of learning of the students,
study of the role of the self-education and independent study in education along
with comparing them with the traditional system is a few of the most important
issues which this study aims to find answers to them.
Distance education in architecture education due to its unique nature, possesses the capability of quantitative and qualitative progress in different places and times and in different levels of education. Therefore, higher education in architecture education, developing and expanding the education of the students and the educators on a large scale and turning to distance education can be considered by the planners in different universities.
Nowadays, even among the developing countries, very few countries can be found
which are not employing the distance education in order to meet some of their
educational needs, despite the fact that employing this type of educational
system is fairly new in fields such as architecture education and art. Of course,
the developed countries are not exception to this issue besides this system
of education is serving those who for many reasons do not wish to or can not
benefit from the traditional system of education (Daniel,
1993). Now a days, distance education by using various media vessels has
revolutionized the structural format of the traditional education and has changed
the relationship of the teacher and the student which posed an obstacle for
massification of education. It has shifted the numbers equation between the
students and the instructors toward the students.
Definition of distance education: The concepts of correspondence education,
open-education, semi conventional education, independent study and self-education,
open learning system, tele-course and finally distance education are similar
terminologies which are often interchangeably used and discussed in educational
and cultural circles of different societies and have a vast range of definitions
and explanations. The above phrases, all refer to the forms of education in
which there is no need for the instructor to be present in a classroom. Even
though, these terms are not the same but they are not totally unrelated to one
another. Among these terms, the term distance education is considered to express
the definition of education without presence of the teacher. Mckenzi, Post Gate
and Soupham commonly say that the term free is opposite of the term limited
and includes the omitting of the limitations, developing and enriching the domains
of activities and learning experiences as educational experiences and is considered
to be the symbol of the change in the relationship between the student and the
teacher (Farahani, 1380). Zigerell defines telecourse
as follow: a learning system for learners who use video programs, text books,
study guides, practice exercises and other educational tools which may include
phone communication, mail and possibly virtual face to face meetings of the
teacher and the student for learning and educating themselves. Fizli defines
distance education as follow: Distance education is learning in a location away
from the instructor (Kazemi, 1380) and in continuation
he has further defined distance education simply as the education which takes
place outside of the educational institution (Agazadeh, 1371).
Javier Graph writes as follow on this subject: distance education in contrast
with the traditional education is not placing one person in front of many, it
is using the media. As the result of this, the education triangle, instructor,
student and the blackboard) gets dismantled (Kazemi, 1380).
It is observed that in the definitions given above separation of the teacher
from the student and flexibility of the student in adjusting with the curriculum
and the location of the class is being pointed at Keegan
(1980) talks about distance education as being a method of education in
which the student is responsible for learning the course material and the student
and the teacher in their educational relationship have no need for a face to
Zamani and Mogadessi calls distance education a formal way of learning in which
most of the education takes place when the teacher and the student are distant
from one another. Holemberg defines distance education as a term which is used
to describe different methods of teaching and learning in which the education
does not directly takes place under the guidance of a teacher at a certain location
and time but it benefits from an organized plan and an organization which does
the planning (Holmberg, 1990).
In St.-Pierre (1998) opinion, distance education is
an indirect method of education which is based on geographical and emotional
separation of the student and the instructor from one another and the relationship
between the teacher and the pupil (s) is based on the laws of technology in
which learning is placed somewhere between total support by the instructor and
total lack of support by the instructor. Garrison states that basically any
description of distance education starts with understanding and familiarity
with the separation of the teacher and the student as a vital characteristic
of the distance education (Garrison, 1987). Zamani and
Mogadessi consider distance education as type of communication method that uses
media for the purpose of organized and systematic learning in which the instructor
and the student are away from one another.
In open learning system the term learning is mentioned as self-making and self-teaching
(Seif, 1371). This term or word foretells of the change
in the traditional relationship between the student and the instructor. With
a little bit of deep thinking, one may define the term open as follow: creating
flexible learning opportunities for the individuals who lack access to the universities
(traditional system), ample opportunities and have time and location limitations.
Looking at the meanings of the terms open and learning and the definitions
provided by Holmberg (1990), Keegan
(1980) for distance education whenever teaching and learning take place
in a certain location and time, it is called face-to-face education or learning
but whenever one or both of these conditions are not there we are dealing with
distance education. Even though traditional education system is considered to
be an ideal form for the architecture education, if we are unable to place the
teacher and the student in one location at the same time, we must look for another
In such a case, the best solution is employing distance education. In the distance education system, one or many aspects of the known traditional education is not deleted whereas in this system the teaching responsibilities, educational guidance, counseling, orientation and guidance of the student and assessment can be done totally and completely and even sometimes in comparison with the traditional system of education due to concentrated assessment, overseeing and maintaining the minimum quality can be much more useful and efficient.
History of distance education in the world: Distance education formally appeared in the former Soviet Union, Sweden and the Great Britain in mid 19th century. Even though, back then small and big institutions were designated for this type of education, it lacked the kind of concentration which is witnessing in this type of education these days.
About 100 years ago, the first institutions of the type which we now have started
their operations but the turning point in the history of the distance education
until 1969 in which the open university of England started using powerful media
such as radio and television and gained the capability of large scale distance
education (Farireh, 1358). Large scale expansion of distance
education using the technology in the field of communication started about 30
years ago. Since that date, the transportation networks, telephone lines, radio
and television stations, communication networks and in parallel with them the
skills of distance education has developed all over the world. The evolutionary
stages of distance education can be categorized as follow in the 1st stage of
this type of educations were offered in the form of correspondence education
which is still common.
The characteristics of the 2nd stage of development in distance education in 1960s and 70s was its dependence on radio and television which were supported by correspondence education and printed texts. The 3rd stage of the evolutionary trend in distance education is distinguished by teleconference which was made possible by the advanced achieved in video-computer technology. Presently, this technology economically is accessible by the majority of the people in the world. Currently we are between the second and the 4th stage of the development of distance education. Distance education, now is relying on the new advances in telecommunication and computers. Its distinguished characteristic is employing the least amount of distance educational material with the support of computerized multimedia teleconference, computer networks which make it possible to teach many at the same time in all corners of the world.
Specific characteristics of distance education: Based on what is already discussed in the traditional teacher-centered education, the educational activities are the responsibility of the teacher and the students play the role of the receivers of the knowledge whereas, in distance education, the responsibility of learning is that of the student and presence of a middleman in transferring the educational message from the instructor to the mass of students gives certain specific characteristics to this system of education.
Delling considers paying more attention to individual education, Nilipour
(1371) considers self-education, Hari and Magnusjohn consider independent
study to be important specific characteristics of this system of education.
Farahani (1380) and St.-Pierre (1998)
believe that the main characteristic of distance education system is guided
and purposeful educational communication which shows the existence of a two
way and continuous relationship between the instructor and the student mass.
Grider and Garman find the specific characteristic of the distance education
in its curriculum planning. They believe that many studies have showed its curriculum
planning to be its unique and trademark characteristic (St.-Pierre,
1998; Keegan, 1980). According to Holmberg,
(1990) describe the specific characteristics of the distance education system
which based on the mentioned opinions and beliefs, this description seems to
be more thorough. Keegan believes that distance education contains six characteristics
which are as follow:
||Separation of the teacher and the student (teacher and the
one who is being thought)
||Major role of the educational organization in the phenomenon
of teaching and learning instead of the individual
||Using new technologies as educational tools
||Providing two way communication line between the teacher and
the learner by using the existing technology
||Lack of existence of group learning classes and emphasis on
individual learning and education
||Individualized learning (major part of learning takes place
in an environment other than the formal learning environment at a location
and a time which is decided by the learner)
Hosseini talks about the advantages of distance education as follow: based
on the studies which have been conducted by Rumble (1988),
Zohoor and Alimohammadi (1993) and Hosseini
(1380), distance education can be an answer to many shortcomings of the
traditional education system and provides the opportunity of getting a higher
education for people in all of the countries of the world (Hosseini,
1380). Zargham (1371) mentions that one of the reasons
which the third world countries are moving more and more toward the distance
education system is that it is more economical. He mentions the other advantages
||Providing an opportunity to continue ones education
in any place in the country
||Providing an opportunity to continue their education for the
government employees, housewives and other people whom it is not possible
for them to continue their education within the traditional education system
||Eliminating the problem of distance, transportation and educational
||Higher flexibility of the distance education institutes compared
to the traditional educational institutes
||Maintaining the customary social, cultural and economical
system of the citizens
Zohoor and Alimohammadi (1993) counts the advantages
of establishing the distance education universities as follow:
||Elevating the cultural and scientific level of the country
||Admission of more students
||Decrease of the expenses per capita
||Reduction of moving and relocation among the students
||Time and location flexibility
||Less need for full time professors
||Possibility of having a business venture alongside the educational
According to Rezaie (1380) the advantages of distance
education are as follow:
||Wide range of coverage (Great coverage)
||Less need for full time instructors
||Possibility of education for the government employees while
they are still employed
||Less expense per capita for the student compared to the traditional
According to Zamani and Mogadessi, the advantages of distance education using computers are as follow:
||It provides the chance for team work for the students
||It makes interaction between the instructor and the student
||It reduces the wasted time which is spent by the student for
getting a response from the instructor
||It provides immediate access to the references and the data
||It speeds up and facilitates sending the required homework
to the instructors by the students
||The possibility of loading and saving the information from
the network on a diskette exists
||Testing in this system is done via a computer
||The time of the connection is flexible
And according to him the disadvantages of using computers in distance education includes the following:
||Lack of a face to face relationship between the student and
the instructor in a way that the student in some courses which are offered
by a computer does not see the instructor until the end of the course. As
the result of this, the emotional bond between the student and the instructor
is noticeably reduced
||Lack of the possibility of benefiting from the messages which
are conveyed by body language and plays an important role in education such
as facial expressions, laughter, change of the intonation of the voice,
Carrey writes on the advantages of communication via computer as follow:
||Possibility of synchronous connection which liberates the
users from the time and the place limitations
||It provides communication line between the instructors, students,
curriculum planners and other members of the society
||It reduces the separation feeling between the students and
provides the opportunity for shared learning and education
Considering the statements and the opinions which have been offered, it may be possible to list the characteristics such as separation of the instructor and the student providing a two way connection between the learner and the teacher by using technology in order to improve the quality of education, individualizing learning, massification of education, flexibility of education as far as time and the place are concerned and reduction of interaction time between the learner with the teacher and the other learner.
Learning level of the students of architecture education in distance education
System: Even though many of the students, instructors and others especially
in architecture education believe that the distance education compared with
the traditional education is second in importance (Moore,
1986, 1987), the results of some studies has shown
that distance education not only has the capability of massification of education
but also it provides the opportunity for the vast majority of people to receive
If the planning of this system is designed and implemented with adherence to
the principles of distance learning, it has an equal place, if not higher as
the traditional education system. Moreover, Garrison (1987)
believes that based on the results of some other studies, superiority of the
quality of education in distance education system in some theoretical academic
fields compared with other methods of education at university level can be pointed
out and even if such a superiority does not exist at least equality of this
system is defendable.
McFarland (1996) has compared the grades of the midterm
exams of physical education major students in the traditional system with those
of physical education major students in the distance education system and has
shown that the GPAs of the distance education system students have been higher
than the GPAs of the students in the traditional education system. In a similar
research, Farahani (1380) in a study has taken the final
midterm grade of the students of physical ducation major in a course in the
traditional education system and has compared them with the final midterm grades
of the physical education major students of the distance education system and
has reached similar results to McFarland (1996). Therefore,
paying attention to the experimental results in practical fields can provide
the motivation for trying to do the same in architecture education.
The results of researches conducted by Stanbrough and Stinson
(1998) on the capabilities of distance education shows that even in academic
fields of study which have practical courses and the courses which require gaining
special skills, distance education can be functional and be implemented. If
they are designed and managed properly, good and acceptable results can be achieved.
In another research which was conducted on the relationship between learning
and distance education and traditional education, it is concluded that in adult
education, if the sources and the references are put together properly, distance
education may be equal in quality with traditional education and even sometimes
since independent study and learn direct education forces the learner to think,
it may be superior to traditional education (Gorbani, 1375).
Based on the conducted researches, it can be reasoned that the level of learning of the mass of the students in the distance education system which is designed according to the principles of learning, educational design and planned based on placing the student at its center and has enough resources and references along with proper media use is not at lower rank in comparison with the traditional system of education. Therefore, with such a background, it can be concluded that looking at it negatively before testing it in null and void.
There are two different points of view regarding distance education: The first point of view uses distance education as a complementary tool in education but the second one uses it for distributed learning.
Since usage of educational aid tools is more related to the traditional system of education in this research the emphasis and concentration has been on the second point of view and function which meets the need of todays society using it in distributed learning and by using the interactive education method, it was tried to provide the appropriate setting for education.
First, we provide a definition for distributed learning. The department of
the scientific technology of the University of North Carolina has defined distributed
learning as follow: distributed learning environment is an environment which
is centered around the mass of students and in this environment by using different
technologies, the opportunity for interaction within a suitable frame of time
and place is provided. This model is created based on specific technologies
which mush possess the economical aspects of the university education, open
education system and distance education system (Farahani,
This aspect gives the instructor so much flexibility which he/she can take care of his/her students different needs and maintain high quality and low cost while providing them with an effective education. Listro, one of the intellectuals and theoreticians of the new systems of education at the University Of Day Cane Of Australia states that many of the higher education institutes are actively perusing rebuilding the infrastructures, redesigning policies and organizing their communication systems so that they can maintain their competitive advantages in the information highways environment. He also reasons that the new paradigm which is taking form in higher education has the following characteristics (Table 1).
Lee Grou especially emphasizes that the new technological environment Makes
access to education possible without paying any regard to geographical, ethnic
and cultural limitations and this issue will weaken the theories on traditional
classrooms very soon. Of course, Lee Grou is not alone on this opinion. Farahani
(1380) has also reached the same conclusion.
Research goal: This research is conducted for the purpose of comparing the quality of learning of architecture education students within the distance education system and the traditional education system and study of the role of self-education and independent study in learning different academic subjects in the architecture education curriculum. In this research the two systems have been compared with one another in the following two stages:
||Overall quality and level of learning by the students within
the two systems
||Quality and level of learning in the theoretical major courses
and practical courses which are of art and science nature
|| Characteristics of old and new paradigm
Considering the weakness and disabilities of the distance education system in teaching the practical courses which are mainly thought via printed media, the other goal of this research focuses on the ways that educational media can be employed in offering the information and increasing the quality of learning in architecture education.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The research method, the population and the statistical sample, the tools used to gather the data and the method of data analysis is explained in this study. In order to the quality and the level of learning of the students in both systems, a semi-experimental method has been used.
Two groups included two groups, the experiment group, the students within the distance education system and the control group, the students within the traditional education system. The independent variable in this experiment was the distance education method which the subjects in the experiment group have been educated in this system of education. Dependent variable is chosen to be the level and the quality of learning of the students in both groups (Fig. 1).
To compare the level of learning in the subjects which can be assessed between the students within the two systems of education, the method of using a control group after the assessment has been used. After selecting the statistical sample population, first the proper arrangements have been made for the chosen course to be taught exactly in the same way in both systems (the text books of architecture education which their contents are according to the policies and regulations assigned by the supreme council of educational planning). The contents of the courses, test questions, length of the academic semester and the length of the implementation have been exactly the same and the only difference was the system of education.
Semi experimental method: From the education point of view, the students in the distance education system have studied on their own without relying on the instructor and only when it was necessary have attended classes so that they can clear up their problems with the segments of the course which they were having a difficult time with them. On the other hand, the students in the traditional system of education have attended classes and based on the traditional method of education, face to face have learned the subjects in the university classes where an instructor was present.
Statistical population, sample and the sampling method: Statistical population included all of the architecture education students who are attending the University of Mohaggeg Ardebils associate and bachelor degree programs in the academic years of 85-86 and 86-87. The total number of the students was 202.
About 108 students attended the traditional education institution and 94 were benefiting from the distance education system. The selected sample included both systems of education in the form of 5 academic subjects during two semesters. Considering the size of the selected statistical population and the nature of the research, sampling was done in two stages, grouping and cluster forms.
Group sampling: In selection of the courses, grouping method was used. First, all the major courses based on their nature and content were placed in three groups, then from each group along with a practical course with general nature and content one course topic was selected which were as follow:
||Architecture theories (theoretical subjects which are of art
nature) in bachelor degree program level
||The role of computers in architecture education (practical
subjects with art nature) in bachelor degree program level
|| A semi experimental method
||Geometry 2 and the science of building material (theoretical
major courses with science nature) in associate degree program level
||Architectural design 2 in architecture education (practical
major course with science nature) in bachelor degree program level
Cluster sampling: In this stage which is for the purpose of selecting different university academic courses, random cluster sampling has been done.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The analysis provided in this research was done by using the SPSS program software and student t-test was conducted.
The research founding: In the report on the founding of the research first, the result of the assessment on the level of learning in both the traditional and the distance education system which was the main research goal was concentrated upon.
Then, the level of learning of the students in both systems in the theoretical major courses with art nature, the theoretical major courses science nature, the practical major courses with art and science nature and the practical courses with general nature was reported. In reporting the result of the research in each one of the groups, the level of the learning in different assessable courses was considered to be important.
Level of learning by the students in both education systems: The founding
of this research shows that the level of learning of the students of architecture
education in the traditional system compared to the distance education system
is lower, t = 2.72 with meaningfulness compared to the students within the distance
education system with GPA of 15.38 have done poorly of 0.165 (Table
2). As it is observed, the students within the traditional system of education
with GPA of 14.57 compared to the students within the distance system with GPA
of 15.38 have done poorly (Table 2).
The level of learning by the students in the theoretical major courses of art nature (study of the theories in architecture education): The statistical test shows that the architecture education students in the traditional education system compared to the ones in the distance education system had a lower level of learning in the theories of the architecture education course theoretical major course with art nature) and this difference from statistical point of view is meaningful (Table 3).
To test the level of learning of the architecture education students in the theoretical major courses of art nature, the theories of the architecture education course in two semesters was the sample in this research.
Level of learning of the students in the theoretical major courses with the science nature: The level of learning by the students of architecture education of traditional education system in the theoretical major courses with science nature compared to the level of learning by the students in the distance education system were lower. The statistical tests shows that the traditional education systems students in comparison with the distance education systems students have had lower level of learning in the theoretical major courses and this difference is meaningful from statistical point of view (Table 4).
In order to test the level of learning by the students of architecture education of both traditional and distance education systems in the theoretical major courses with science nature, two courses, identification of building materials and geometry 2 were the two samples in this research which the result of the tests in these two courses, separately are as follow:
|| Comparison of the level of learning of the architecture education
students within the traditional and the distance education systems
||Comparison of the level of learning of the students in both
the traditional and the distance education system in the theories of architecture
|| Comparison of the level of learning of the students in the
theoretical major courses with science nature
Science of identifying building materials: The level of learning by the students within booth systems of education in the science of identifying building materials course does not show a meaningful difference (Table 5).
Geometry 2 courses: The level of learning in geometry 2 by the students in the traditional education system was lower from statistical point of view than the ones in the distance education system (Table 6).
Level of learning by the students in practical major course with the nature
of art and science (architecture design 2): The statistical test shows that
the students of architecture education in the traditional system of education
have had a higher level of learning in architecture design 2 courses than the
ones in the distance education system and this difference is statistically meaningful
(Table 7). The results of this research has demonstrated that
overall performance of the students within the distance education system, despite
the fact that they have attended no classroom and have independently carried
out their studies in comparison with the students within the traditional system
of education has been better and their level of learning is higher. Based on
the overall level of learning in the distance education system, the students
within this system have performed at a higher level in the theoretical courses.
Also in some theoretical courses of science nature, there wasnt any statistically
meaningful difference between the members of two groups. Based on the finding
of this research which is similar to the finding of the researches conducted
by Garrison (1987), McFarland (1996)
and Stanbrough and Stinson (1998), it can be concluded
that the distance education system can be used as a new method in teaching the
architecture education students but benefiting from this system in offering
the theoretical courses with art and basic science nature and the practical
courses with basic science and art nature is different and the type, the method
of implementation of the media and reduction of the face to face contact between
the learner and the teacher is influenced by the nature and the difficulty level
of different courses. Being content with the text books which lack the proper
instructions for self-education in teaching the theoretical major courses with
basic science content can not guarantee the quality of education in these courses.
In order to maintain the quality of education, the books and the resources in
these subjects while containing the required educational topics, it is better
for them to use proper pictures and diagrams to elevate the quality of the texts
designed for self education. In this research, it has been demonstrated that
there is no meaningful difference in the level of learning within both systems
of education in some major courses of basic science nature in which the educational
sources have completed all of the design and planning processes, scientific
editing, literature editing, educational design and has not been seen. The finding
of this section of research is also similar to the finding of the researches
conducted by Stanbrough and Stinson (1998). They in their
research had shown that if the text book resources go through proper design
process and the proper educational media which is compatible with the content
of the course is used the level of learning by the students can at least be
kept at the level of the traditional education system.
Of course, by studying the factors which affect the results of the assessment of the practical major courses which are of art and basic science nature such as architectural design, it may be possible to propose an effective and practical method for offering such courses in a more practical and beneficial manner. The factors such as the methods of learning used by the students, the technology by which these courses are presented to the learners and the capability of the instructor in utilizing the technology in teaching the courses can be studied.
|| Comparison of the level of learning of the students in Science
of identifying building materials course
|| Comparison of the level of learning by the students in geometry
||Comparison of the level of learning in architecture design
2 courses by the students of architecture education in both of the traditional
and the distance education systems
Evolution of the distance education by using the state of the art communication technology is in dire need of fundamental changes in the role of the instructors in the distance education system. The researcher believes that the role of the instructor needs to change from the only source of knowledge and information to one of the knowledge sources which are accessible by the learners.
In many cases, using computers in distance education in order to establish a face to face connection between the learner and the teacher in some practical courses such as architectural design is recommended and the importance of benefiting from this educational aid in architecture education is more so felt. However, there are problems in using computers in distance education such as lack of financial means and other limitations, creating a face to face education opportunity via computers is not possible for every single one of the students in distance education system. Anyhow to use computers efficiently in distance education requires analyzing and studying some of the methods of teaching and learning. In order to compare and study the effectiveness of architecture education through the traditional and distance education system, the first step is finding the most compatible method of providing architecture education through distance education system which can be gauged against the traditional education system. It is abundantly clear that employing the traditional education method can not take care of the needs of the distance education; therefore, using some of the methods of learning and teaching which are related to architecture education through the distance education, especially those which from both aspects of body and content have come close to education and can be beneficial in making the specialized learning in architecture education better are as follow:
Learner-centered education: It is difficult to precisely determine whether
the learner centered instruction in distance education has taken place by the
technology or by the instructor! The conducted research supports both points
of view. In support of the first point of view, Moore has investigated the role
of the changes in changing the education (Moore, 1986.
1987). According to Chandler (1993),
many of the instructors in the distance education system claimed that they have
employed the learner-centered methods in the distance education rather than
the traditional methods and thus they have been more successful and effective
and (Boston, 1992). Gunawardena
(1995) observed that the designed educational models which are used for
developing education in the traditional classrooms are not appropriate for designing
distance education plans via computers. Educational designs in such an environment
must include sophisticated communication between the learning tasks, media intricacies
and the processes of knowing the learners. Having a two way interactive communication
systems provide an opportunity for the students to control he educational systems.
Gunawardena (1995) began designing and planning a student
centered academic course by concentrating on the studies and the researches
of the researchers in on the bachelor degree program. He found out that in order
for him to involve the students and maximize interactivity, he needs to change
his role from being a teacher in a classroom to a facilitator whose primary
role is guiding and supporting the phenomenon of education. Burge
and Howard (1990) believes that in the massification centered model of education,
the learner is not considered to just a robot, instead, he/she is looked upon
as a hard working human being who accepts the points of view has desires and
makes decision. In such a system of education (learner-centered), it is important
for the instructor to provide enough humane and other supports so that the learner
could have the ability of controlling the learning experiences.
Interactivity and conversation centered education: Controversial questions
such as the following questions come up in distance education: What type of
interaction and in what level is effective on learning? How much time is needed
for delayed and immediate interaction? What type of interaction does technology
provide? Does the interaction achieved by technology worth its economical cost?
Wagner (1994) observed that the theories on learning and education support interaction
as an overall framework of learning. Kazemi (1380) reason
that one of the special characteristics of an effective education is interaction.
Moore (1986, 1987) in his research
has pointed out three types of interactions: Interaction between the learner
and the content, interaction between the instructor and the student and interaction
between the student with other students. Brookfield (1993)
suggests a few points of view for facilitating the interaction between the mass
of the students and the content especially when the students are adults. He
believes that the learners can critically analyze the texts which they read
by asking four types of questions. Methodology questions, experimental questions,
communication questions and political questions. Brookfield
(1993) says that encouraging the learners to ask these four types of questions
during studying will enable them to think critically.
Hillman et al. (1994) reasons that beside the
interactions in communication systems which employ state of the art technology,
another type of interaction called interaction between the learner and the interface
is necessary. They are aware of the fact that one aspect of the distance education
system which has been quiet a bit overlooked is the effect and influence of
the technological devices on the interaction. The instructors and the learners
have to interact with the technology and have to manipulate the devices in a
way that those devices interact in the most effective way with the learners
for establishing communication. Anyhow, in communication which uses the state
of the art technology, the learner who does not have any skills in using these
technologies must spend a lot of energy and time for learning how to use and
interact with these devices, thus ending up with little to no time to concentrate
on the content. To dispose of this problem, Hillman and others recommend three
types of activities to the learners and the instructors: In class practice,
explanation sessions, and offering mandatory courses on working with and using
If the interactive educational technologies in architecture education are to provide an effective education, the instructors need to provide new models and programs for developing of technology-centered education. In order to be able to support learning at higher familiarity, analytic, combinational and assessment levels, the instructors are to be trained so that they can employ interactive solutions. These solutions need communication between the students, communication between the students and the instructors, classroom and group discussions, group projects and teaching by the people of group who are of the same age.
Social presence centered education: Dodd observed that success of distance education beside depending on skills such as classroom management, knowledge and ability to use the needed technology, depends on skills such as creating an intelligent and emotional social character from distance and also creating virtual populations from the learners.
Short et al. (1987), social presence is in interaction
with the degree of participation of people in other words with the degree which
an individual communicates with a computer as a real person.
Short et al. (1987) point to the level and/or degree of the closeness
of the media and the individual regarding the possibility of social presence
of the communication media and say that this degree of closeness and friendliness
depends on factors such as physical distance, eye contact, laughter and personal
conversations. Hackman (1993) show that the friendliness
and closeness of the instructor would lead to increased approval by the student
and learning in video or television-classroom.
Moore (1987) on the inner feelings of the individuals
with regard to communication via computers shows that non-verbal communication
in comparison with the face to face communication with regard to the sight of
social presence is lower. Anyhow, large scale researches on communication via
computers often shows more positive communication behaviors and development
of online populations and close friendships. The conducted research claims that
the computer users have developed ability of lost signs of non-verbal, body
language, expression via writing. The researches show that social presence is
an influential factor in development and effectiveness of both traditional and
distance education. With the help of the communication technologies are used
to non-verbal signs, body language such as giving feed back in the form of smile,
shaking the hands or the head and offering solutions and guidance regarding
the corrections on the architectural designs in their teachings. When they are
using long distance voice communication devices or computers to establish communication
with their students, the instructors are not able to use the body language as
These instructors must adjust themselves with these long distance communication tools and develop their revolutionary skills in order to be able to make the social presence of their students possible. Basically, it is the skills and techniques which necessarily influence the understanding of the student on interaction and social presence not the communication devices.
Shared learning centered education: Before the appearance of the communication technologies which would be able to make a two way interaction possible, shared learning and group work among the mass of the students in distance education was considered difficult and sometimes impossible.
The researches show that team work increases the students motivation
and approval. Gunawardena (1995) observed that the instructors,
who use computers as a communication device in educating their students must
learn skills in order to be able to teach because teaching through this media
requires a change in role from the giver of information to an active colleague
and conversation partner. In other words, in a computer dominated communication
environment, the instructor is a facilitator of group communication, organizer
of group learning projects and activities and a constant advisor.
Offering a multimedia model in architecture education: Based on the
challenges, this model with the goal of minimizing reduction in the quality
of education and the least amount of interaction between the educational factor
and more attention to the humane and emotional environment has been discussed
in an educational environment which is based on technology.
|| The amount of on site classes, benefiting from educational
media and the level of interaction
In this method in which a special value is placed on feed back, bettering the
topics as far as their content and organization is concerned and making them
compatible with the styles of learning of the students is responsibility of
the instructor. Moreover, this is a vital and important factor in education
which can by implementing the programs using examples and related pictures which
are appropriate for the time in teaching theoretical subjects and with the knowledge
on the abilitis of the students and attention to the educational feed back,
help make the learning environment more active (Fig. 2).
It can be concluded that the distance education system possesses the needed criteria and capability for offering the theoretical-major courses in the field of architecture education but it is not enough to just rely and solely depend on the educational media which only offers the content of the text-books to maintain the high quality of learning among the students and in teaching some courses, other forms of educational media must be used so that a more dependable and useful form of the relationship between the learner and the instructor can be established. The relationship between the students and the instructor via educational media can not be effective in the courses which the contents of the text-book is not enough by itself to clarify the intent of the researcher and it leads to ineffectiveness of such a relationship and makes the joint effort by all of the factors involved in distance education obsolete whereas in the distance education while the emphasis is on the learner and the educator being physically separated from one another, a specific and unique property of distance education, existence of a cooperation and coexistence between these two factors of education is a must but in a form that these two are distant from one another.
By reminding that education in different branches of art must be in a way that a more dependable form of interaction between the teacher and the student is created and emphasis on benefiting from complementary educational media alongside the corrections, books and classrooms, amount of on site classrooms which is a derivation of the nature of the academic topic and its difficulty level is highly recommended.