Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Experience of Ukraine's Higher Education System

Authors

  • Svetlana Grynyuk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • O. Kovtun National Aviation University, Kyiv, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5216-6350
  • L. Sultanova Ivan Ziaziun Institute of Pedagogical and Adult Education of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3324-6926
  • M. Zheludenko National Aviation University, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • A. Zasluzhena https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5628-790X
  • I. Zaytseva Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics, Ukraine

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.34190/ejel.20.3.2198

Keywords:

Ukraine's higher education system, survey, transition, experience, distance learning, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new paradigm of ‘life in social distancing’, which in its turn has had a massive impact on education. Continuing education delivery through alternative channels of instruction became a top priority for education institutions aiming to minimize impacts of the pandemic on education. Most universities shifted from conventional, on campus, face-to-face instruction to online distance teaching and learning, which meant that teaching approaches, tools of assessments, and ways of teacher-student communication had to be modified to meet challenges of the altered mode of instruction. Since the pandemic wake, various global educational organizations have carried out studies to identify threats and potential opportunities for higher education within and beyond the pandemic. Some attempts to analyze the experience of the Ukrainian higher education system transition to mass distance instruction have also been made. However, these researches were limited by a territorial or time span, sectoral analysis, or focus on specific issues. Lack of comprehensive cross-sectoral nationwide research regarding perceptions of main actors of Ukraine’s higher education system (teachers and students) on outcomes of this abrupt transition inspired the current research. In this regard, we saw the objective of the study in exploring the experience of mass distance learning application in Ukraine’s higher education system due to COVID-19 and identifying considerations for e-learning in the national system of higher education within and beyond the pandemic. The research was done via survey. The order of the researchers' actions was as follows: questionnaire compilation, data collection, data analysis, and knowledge generation. In this study, a closed-format questionnaire containing questions with pre-offered answers (multiple choices) was the main research instrument. The questionnaire was distributed to Ukrainian university teachers and students by snowball sampling. Data analysis phase involved analyzing the quantitative datasets. The interpretation of the analyzed information led to the generation of knowledge. 882 responses from 65 Ukrainian higher education institutions were received. The survey data showed that mass transition to distance learning became a challenge for majority Ukrainian universities: only 45.5% of the respondents reported experiences with teaching/learning online before the pandemic; 59.4% of them indicated limited (permanent or occasional) access to technological resources (stable and sustainable Internet, properly equipped workplace, software/hardware means). Nonetheless, the survey results confirmed that both teachers and students were satisfied with the rapid transition to distance learning due to COVID-19, although students proved more flexible in adapting to the new mode of instruction. Majority of the respondents indicated such online educational platforms as Zoom (88.3%) and Google Classroom (85.3%) as the most widespread in the Ukrainian virtual educational environment; and such educational technologies as collaborative (56.6%) and individualized learning (55.9%) as the most efficient in distance learning. The research advances the e-learning knowledge area providing data regarding the experiences of Ukraine's national higher education system on mass and abrupt transition to distance learning and envisaging potential for this mode of instruction beyond the pandemic.

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Published

28 Mar 2022

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