Posts Tagged ‘e-learning’
A question. In simple terms, just what is “e-Learning”? I find myself many times musing over this question. I know what my definition of it is, but suspect that others think differently. My personal definition of e-learning encompases a wide area. “The use of technology to enhance teaching and learning”. This could be using hardware such as mobile phones, tablets, visualisers, voting kits etc… or it could be using software such as Virtual Learning Environments, blogs, e-portfolios or even a mix of the two i.e. using tablets as a gateway to access learning resources and media.
So how does one know when they’ve fulfilled everyone’s differing expectations of what e-learning is? In a strange way I could answer this question using requirements elicitation techniques, but that really does seem overkill for such a simple question.
I suspect a lot of colleagues view “e-learning” as the act of learning online; based on their knowledge and experience from initiatives such as Learndirect or organisations such as The Open University. These exemplify “e-learning” as resources stored in a central repository that can be accessed through a front-door such as a Virtual Learning Environment. But experience has shown to me that “e-learning” in such a form does not signficantly enhance the learning experience without considerable effort and promotion (and/or motivation on behalf of the pupil); and even then in my view it can look a bit half-hearted through trying to reap the promised benefits of e-learning whilst not necessarily trying to respond to the individual needs of the pupils.
As I’ve blogged previously, I can now see a future where schools are not about the bricks and mortar but are about the individuals and the education that arises from their interactions. I personally think the same can be said of “e-learning”. We shouldn’t be trying to replicate the traditional school environment online and calling it “e-learning”. If face-to-face education in school is changing, then so should this traditional definition of “e-learning”. We should all be listening to ours and other colleagues’ pupils; trying to understand how they learn and responding through providing environments, resources and opportunities for interaction that encourages and motivates them to succeed whilst enriching their learning experience. Dare I say it, but learning should be exciting and rewarding for everyone, regardless of age.
But reaching this mecca isn’t an easy task. There’s a considerable amount of planning that has to be done and foundations which have to be built. There are hearts and minds to win and rules to be changed. But by being the tortoise and not the hare and doing all this groundwork, I am confident that anyone can build a strong, exciting and successful learning environment, regardless of whether it is online or face-to-face.
Maybe I thinking too much about the term “e-learning”? I started off by asking for a simple definition of e-learning. Does this even exist?