e-learning: A report


e-learning: Some definitions & descriptions
1. e-learning is learning using electronic means: the acquisition of knowledge and skill using electronic technologies such as computer- and Internet-based courseware and local and wide area networks.
2. It comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The Information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process.
3. It offers out-of-classroom and in-classroom educational experiences via technology.
4. It is naturally suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used.
5. e-Learning pioneer Bernard Luskin argues that the "e" should be interpreted to mean exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, emotional, extended, excellent, and educational in addition to "electronic."
6. Some of the applications, processes, and media involved in e-learning are Computer-based learning, Web-based training, virtual classroom, Social networks, Blogs, and other digital collaboration.
7. e-Learning can also refer to educational web sites.

Some distinctions:
1. e-learning involves multimedia: content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, etc.
2. Information comes in various forms: text, image, animation, streaming video and audio, etc.
3. The pacing is flexible: learning can be self-paced (not always instructor-led)

e-Learning could take place in:
1. Traditional classroom (as others allow students to attend classes)
2. Students’ place (home, coffee shop, etc.)
3. Other locations (e.g. chosen centers, virtual classrooms, etc.)

Some Historical accounts & development:
Early 1960s: Stanford University psychology professors Patrick Suppes and Richard C. Atkinson experimented with using computers to teach math and reading to young children in elementary schools in East Palo Alto, California.
1970s & 80s: Early online courses, such as those developed by Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz are offered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
1993: William D. Graziadei described an online computer-delivered lecture, tutorial and assessment project using electronic Mail, two VAX Notes conferences and Gopher/Lynx.
1997: Graziadei, W.D., et al., through a published article, described a process at the State University of New York (SUNY) of developing an overall strategy for technology-based course development and management in teaching-learning.
By 2006: 3.5 million students were participating in on-line learning at institutions of higher education in the United States.
2009: 44% of post-secondary students in the USA were taking some or all of their courses online
2010: Online doctoral programs have even developed at leading research universities.

Some Approaches to e-learning services
There is a trend to move towards blended learning services, where computer-based activities are integrated with practical or classroom-based situations.

1. Computer-based learning (CBL)
It refers to the use of computers as a key component of the educational environment. CBL refers to a structured environment in which computers are used for teaching purposes (e.g. using laptop or PC & projector in lecturing)

2. Computer-based training(CBT) & Web-based training (WBT)
CBTs are self-paced learning activities accessible via a computer or handheld device. CBT is often used interchangeably with Web-based training (WBT). Where CBTs are typically delivered via CD-ROM, WBTs are delivered via the Internet.
          e.g. Simulation (as in aviation & nautical training). Users are often able to print completion records in the form of certificates.

3. Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL)
(CSCL)—collaborative or group learning whereby instructional methods, utilizingmodern information and communication technology, are designed to encourage or require students to work together on learning tasks.
          e.g. Smart Board which provides a 72-inch, rear projection, touchscreen, intelligent whiteboard surface for work”. Some features: 1) It allows users to work with large amounts of information; 2) It offers an information space that invites active collaboration; 3) Teachers & students are able to draw on the board using different colors (for emphasis); 4) The marks made on the smart board are able to be erased.

Classification of communication technologies used in e-learning
1. Asynchronous
Technologies which allow participants to engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants involvement at the same time. These give students the ability to work at their own pace.
          e.g. e-mails, blogs, wikis, and discussion boards on social networks

2. Synchronous
Technologies which cater to activities which involve the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants during the same period of time.
          e.g. video-conferencing, online chat session, and a virtual classroom or meeting
Some drawbacks in using e-learning:
1. e-learning providers should be ready with the difficulties and expense of implementing and maintaining the necessary computer systems.
2. Teachers and students need to have a certain degree of technical know-how, that inability to trouble-shoot technical problems could hinder the learning process.
3. Poorly designed e-learning systems can dehumanize the educational experience and thereby diminish student interest and motivation.
4. Compared to classroom setting, transfer of knowledge through e-learning has less flexibility and richness, as it is limited.
5. Some skills are hard to be taught and acquired through e-learning (e.g. social skills, skills concerning role-playing and application to on-the-job settings)
10 Advantages of e-learning
1. e-learning enables people to learn anytime and anywhere. It allows learners to receive instruction despite geographic and time disparities.
2. It could cater to people with physical disabilities, women who were not allowed to enroll in educational institutions open only to men, people who had jobs during normal school hours, and those who lived in remote regions where schools did not exist.
3. It could provide educational opportunities to people in a country despite shortage of classrooms, qualified teachers, and instructional materials.
4. It is a cost-efficient way to deliver technical training (The US military in particular relies heavily on distance education technology in ‘upgrading’ its soldiers)
5. From the learners’ point of view, this provides the ability to pause and rewind and the advantage of moving at their own pace. If they need to listen to a lecture a second time, or think about a question for awhile, they may do so without fearing that they will hold back the rest of the class.
6. It allows students to enjoy private learning environment and increases their independence and personal responsibility for education.
7. e-learning, especially through the use of internet, enables students to access huge stores of information, which greatly enhances their research capabilities.
8. When using modern technologies (e.g. smart boards), information is presented to students in a new, fun, and engaging way. It presents good alternative to printed learning materials like rich media, including videos or animations, which enhance learning.
9. e-learning makes possible the offering of online courses through which people can earn their diplomas more quickly, or repeat failed courses without the embarrassment of being in a class with younger students.
10. Students also have access to variety of enrichment courses in online learning, and can participate in internships, sports, or work and still graduate with their class.
Microsoft Encarta 2006
Encarta Dictionary
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How to cite this article:
Jensen DG. Mañebog. "e-learning: A report" @ www.OurHappySchool.com

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