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Development of the modeling competence of students in the pedagogical majors in the conditions of a simulation training in computer-based distance learning

The problem and the aim of the study. The increased use of digital technologies in higher education has lately been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, thus creating a number of challenges related to the implementation of distance e-learning. The duration of the epidemic situation and the limitations related to the organization of in-person education reveal the simulation training as the main opportunity for the implementation of any practical training of the students in the methodological disciplines in their university preparation as future teachers. The aim of the study is to survey the possibilities of developing the modeling competence of students concerning the simulation of practical training in computer-based distance learning.

Research methods. Within the framework of the research, which is oriented at establishing the levels of structure defining competencies (the reflective multisensory competency; the creative competency; the symbolic competency of sign and symbol nature) were measured systematically through goal-oriented observation during practice seminars in the disciplines taught to students. Since both disciplines are practically oriented and suggest the instruction of teaching methods, they entail the design of didactic situations in pre-school and of lessons in primary school education, which facilitates the registering of the levels of structure defining competences, including the competence for cognitive modelling, preeminently formed in the conditions of simulative distance education in electronic environment. The subjects participating in the research are 158 Bachelor’s students trained in the professional field Education Science.

Results. A low level of the skills for the application of cognitive modelling in the activities students conduct in relation to the design of pedagogical situation and lessons as an element in their practical experience and preparation in the realization of such situations in rela school conditions. The pilot study diagnoses a low level of student achievements in over 65% of the subjects as regards the academic disciplines the study concerns in terms of basic modelling skills. By contrast, in the course of the simulative education a growth of 45% has been established in the concluding study. The intersections and correlations between the level of development of the specific competences and the simulative education have also been established. Statistically verifiable differences (p=<0.05) were established between the pilot and the concluding studies in view of the reflective and creative competency. The symbolizing competency, however, requires further efforts.

Conclusion. The results draw the attention to the necessity to look for opportunities to guarantee the creation of the models, in the context of simulative education, with three basic emphases: state (value, role and function in the specific context, phase of development of the pedagogical situation and/or lesson), structure (position of the model in relation to the other models/objects and of its own components – the components of the pedagogical situations and lesson projects) and evolution (opportunities for the design of pedagogical situations and/or lessons after reflection based on simulations).

Keywords: modeling competence, simulation training in an electronic environment from a distance, students – future teachers, practical education, research perspectives

For Reference: Tsankov, N. (2021). Development of the modeling competence of students in the pedagogical majors in the conditions of a simulation training in computer-based distance learning. Perspektivy nauki i obrazovania – Perspectives of Science and Education, 53 (5), 238-246. doi: 10.32744/pse.2021.5.16

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Information about the author:

Nikolai Tsankov (Bulgaria, Stara Zagora) - Associate Professor, PhD, Faculty of Education. Trakia University. E-mail: ntsankov@abv.bg. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3206-8144. Scopus Author ID: 26027356200. ReseacherID: E-3949-2014

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