THE COVID-19 PERIOD: A CRISIS FOR ON-SITE LEARNING OR AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OPTIMAL DISTANCE LEARNING? EXAMINATION OF STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES
This study, which explores student attitudes to online learning, is based on a psychoanalytic theory (Existence-relatedness-growth, ERG) on relatedness and growth, developed by American psychologist Clayton Alderfer. The purpose of the study was to examine whether online learning is merely a short-term temporary solution necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis, or will it enable a transformation of teaching and learning patterns in educational systems in the post-COVID era? What is students’ personal preference regarding online learning after having inadvertently experienced it? What dimension of online teaching was meaningful for them: social presence, instructional-cognitive presence, emotional-personal presence? The research population consisted of 306 students, with a mean age of 15.5. Only 85% of the students who participated in the study had technological resources for online learning at home. About 41% of the students preferred lessons that combine online teaching with frontal teaching in the classroom. In addition, the dimensions of online teaching reported by students as meaningful were, in descending order, social presence, emotionalpersonal presence, and instructional-cognitive presence. The research findings might have an effect on policy makers in education with regard to maintaining an "innovative pedagogy" aimed at shaping students’ image in order to prepare them for the new post-COVID era. In this period of global crisis, online learning afforded students innovative learning, where students enhanced their awareness of the significance of social presence, which was more meaningful than the dimension of instructional-cognitive presence. The significance of interpersonal interaction in teaching and learning received support, more so than ever before.