Challenges of Distance Learning at Universities during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Georgia

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Adaptation to distance learning, which is one of the most effective ways of fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, presented numerous challenges to society and the economy. The study aims to assess the consequences of distance learning as a result of the pandemic from the perspective of students and teachers. Quantitative research was conducted. The students (n = 417) and teachers (n = 47) of all disciplines from Tbilisi universities (Republic of Georgia) participated in the research. Non-probability convenience sampling technique was used for the study. Respondents evaluated the process of distance learning positively since they had the opportunity to attend lectures from any location, thus, saving costs, learning new skills, gaining valuable experience, and having more free time left than before. Using a Likert scale, the distance learning process was positively assessed by students (3.2 points out of 5) and teachers (3 points out of 5). The majority of students (n = 288, 69%) preferred the synthesis of distance and auditory learning methods as they consider the student’s own choices in a superior way. Respondents pointed out some deficiencies, such as limited communication, technical access difficulties, low quality and malfunction of internet access, an inconvenient environment, students’ involvement process and complicated social relationships. The crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic has identified the need to advance the methods of high-quality acquisition of knowledge. It is preferable to equip university auditoriums with the necessary technical capabilities and to develop curricula that allow students to decide whether to attend lectures in the classroom or to participate online.

Distance Education,Online Learning,Educational Technology,Higher Education
Journal of Learning for Development; Vol 10, No 1