E-learning has become a necessary form of education in the adult gymnasium
Four years ago the only three adult gymnasiums that offered the option of e-learning were: Rapla, Tallinn City and Tallinn Adult Gymnasium. Currently a small number of schools provide learning only in the class according to the Training rubric of the Maaleht as of May 25. It is interesting to point out that people come to the gymnasiums with an e-learning option from another end of Estonia when such a possibility is not available nearer to home. People, who work abroad, are especially thankful.
However, without setting a foot in the schoolhouse one cannot manage even in an e-learning class. Depending on the school, approximately three thirds of learning is provided in the Moodle environment via the Internet and a quarter of lessons are the so-called contact lessons (lessons, consultations, tests). In practice it means one school day a week. For example, many schools still consider important that mathematics, the Estonian language and foreign languages are taught in a traditional lesson.
“It would be difficult to teach mathematics and languages 100% via e-learning and there are more lessons in these subjects at school,” explained the education counsellor of Rakvere Adult Gymnasium (TäG) Juta Valvik to Maaleht. This school year, it is possible to take part in e-learning in Form 10 and 11 in Rakvere, next year also Form 12 will be added. Students of the e-class come to school only once a week on Friday and according to Valvik many of them find it difficult to have a free day for that. Due to that next year we plan to have school days once a month on Friday and Saturday.
Can’t make it to school from abroad
“Many people come from Finland and Sweden on Thursday and can be at school on Friday and Saturday,” describes Valvik the peculiarities of contemporary students. It is not only difficult for those who work abroad to reach, the possibilities of e-learning are used by professional military staff, who can take part in lessons only when the service appointments enable that. The learning counsellor says that although there are no lessons conducted on Saturdays, students can come to school for tests and assignments on Saturdays anyway.
Saturday has been chosen as a school day also by the e-students in Rapla Adult Gymnasium, where the school leavers of the first e-class have already graduated. E-learning is possible in all three gymnasium classes.
According to Kristi Luige, the manager of extra-curricular activities and teacher, e-learning is very necessary because people cannot come to school during the week days. The option to come to school on Saturday in Rapla Adult Gymnasium is such a good opportunity for adult learners that students have taken the chance to attend e-learning classes from the other end of Estonia. For example, there were two women, who came to Rapla from Tartu, in the class which graduated last year according to Luige.
Homework via Skype
When the above-mentioned school invites students to school once a week on Saturday, then Viljandi Adult Gymnasium has organised web-based learning for their students in the major part. For example, language teachers (and if necessary then also others) will listen to your homework via Skype. Even a research paper has been defended via Skype. Teachers have also carried out Moodle online-lessons agreed to prior, which can also be re-watched later again.
Test taken in the class together can be done for example in Google Drive. “It is like in a lesson, but everyone is at home,” explained Sille Tõnisson – the office manager of Viljandi Adult Gymnasium and adds, “But for exams they still have to come to school.” Students, who can arrange their schedule correspondingly, are always welcome to the lessons. E-learning is an option, not an obligation.
Viljandi Adult Gymnasium offers e-learning in all gymnasium classes and even in Form 8 and 9. Tõnisson points out that it has brought back many people, who come from Viljandi area, but currently working abroad (Finland, Norway, Sweden). “We have students even from Spain,” states Tõnisson. “When they come to Estonia for Christmas, they also come to school.”
The representatives of all the three schools state that e-learning is not that simple because individual learning requires a lot of effort and self-discipline. Some interrupt their studies, some move from e-learning to regular classes, where tasks and homework are also completed via e-channels.
“The one who wants, can manage,” admits Tõnisson talking about progress in studies. “The ones, who cannot manage, can be in one class for two years.” E-learning is strenuous also for teachers because they have to create materials suitable for e-learning.
**There are 16 adult gymnasiums in Estonia. Most of them provide e-learning.
**In the next school year(2017/2018) e-learning class Form 10 will be opened in Pärnu Adult Gymnasium. 30 students will be accepted.
**In addition to e-learning, adult gymnasiums also offer external studies and learning only one subject.
**Since 2016, ETKA Andras as the partner of Ministry of Education and Science performs a project of the European Social Fund called "Development of Adult Education and Broadening of Learning Possibilities" (also TERA or Teisel Ringil Targaks in FB). See: www.andras.ee