Development and innovation in distance education approaches in rural China

Hui Chen
Central Agricultural Broadcasting and Television School

Beijing, China


Modern distance education in rural China at the Central Agricultural Broadcasting and Television School (CABTS) has gone through 34 years of development. The instructional approaches of CABTS have expanded from using only radio to multiple distance education approaches, including radio, television and networks. CABTS has been making a major effort to innovate in its instructional approaches. While integrating multiple educational approaches and taking advantage of quality educational resources, it has been exploring and applying new information technologies and modern media to develop rural distance education in China which has contributed greatly to the economic development of agriculture and rural areas and provided great assistance to farmers in obtaining relevant knowledge and improved skills.

This paper outlines CABTS' development and innovative approaches, from radio, slides and audio-tapes to television, video, VCD and DVD, to today's multiple means, including the Internet, satellite, computer courseware and on-line learning platforms, as well as mobile learning and mobile classrooms with flexible modern media technologies and quality education and training resources. CABTS has built up a public service platform for distance education in rural China, opening up a new way for the education and training of farmers. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the features of various education approaches and models, this paper captures the experiences and inspirations of distance education in rural China. It also covers the options for instructional approaches in different models; and it considers the outlook for the development of distance education in rural China by reviewing the results achieved.