YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 14, the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Center for Research in Applied Linguistics held a colloquium on Online Education. The event brought together national thought leaders in online education to share their experiences and discuss the impact of online teaching and learning initiatives.
Suren Aloyan, Founder and CEO at Dasaran Educational Program, spoke about the unique and innovative ways Dasaran has been using technology to advance school children’s success and help solve achievement problems at student, school and state level. Today Dasaran changes the way learning takes place by bringing game-based learning and making its fun and interactive learning experiences accessible for each and every schoolchild across the country.
Hasmik Khalapyan, Academic Director of AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College (AVC), reflected on their experience in opening the doors of quality education and making it accessible by implementing innovative teaching and learning practices. AVC’s online courses and interactive multimedia e-book series, geared towards each individual’s unique learning needs and preferences, address the needs of next generation learning.
Anna Sahakyan, Virtual Language Instructor at Peace Corps Armenia reflected on their experience of bringing language learning into cyberspace by designing an online Armenian language-learning course for Peace Corps Armenia volunteers. This pre-departure course is comprised of video lessons, exercise handouts, and Skype sessions with an online language instructor and provides a personalized language learning experience.
Arusyak Harutyunyan, Head of Foreign Affairs Department at the International Scientific Educational Center of the National Academy of Sciences, talked about how providing access to digital course materials can help meet the growing needs of adult learners in Armenia. Arusyak introduced their distance-learning platform and courses, reflecting on how effective use of technology can make learning affordable and accessible to everyone, providing increased opportunities to acquire skills required for future success in the labor market.
Syuzanna Khachatryan, Coordinator of English Programs of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), talked about an English language-training program for young adults sponsored by the US Embassy and co-funded and operated by COAF. Syuzanna highlighted that designing and implementing an online language course requires constant reflections and revisions. Such reflections allow for optimizing the virtual environment in which learning takes place and providing the necessary support to the learner.
The experts on the panel emphasized technical challenges of delivering learning experiences online in Armenia and a need for a more engaging presentation of materials over distance. It was repeatedly highlighted that innovative online learning solutions can transform learning experiences and bring in the necessary changes to meet the pedagogical challenges of the 21st century.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.