Educational Challenges for e-Learning in Higher Education in Bulgaria
Today, universities in Bulgaria are facing challenges which create difficulties in their operation and put their identity as institutions on trial: a shortage of funds for the provision of modern education and the demographic crisis in Bulgaria which reduces the number of potential students, an increasing number of students who combine studying with half or full time work.
Application of e-Learning (EL) in Bulgaria was imposed by the advancement of Modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and by various problems in the educational system. EL leads to problems with student’s satisfaction with their effective learning experience.
90 bachelor students from 3 disciplines (Automatic and Information technology, Industrial Management, and Biotechnologies) in The University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy (UCTM) in Sofia, Bulgaria were interviewed.
Some of the students had attended lectures in person regularly but others, including some who live far from the university, as well as some who work, relied mostly on electronic training courses provided by the lecturers.
Based on the interviews and through analysis of the observations from UCTM students, effective and satisfying e-learning experiences are determined, problems faced by the students in the surveyed disciplines, in UCTM specifically and in higher education in Bulgaria generally, are outlined. On the basis of the results - a model for improving the effectiveness and satisfaction from e-Learning was developed. The objective is to create an optimal learning environment and to enhance its attractiveness and efficiency so as to enable students to share experience and knowledge in the way they find most effective.
This paper will present a preliminary model applicable to designing and improving e-courses and training programs for Bulgarian learners and will hopefully help future researchers who wish to study effective and satisfying for the students e-learning experience.
Keywords: Education, Learning, Experience
PhD, Bulgarian Academy of Science