CSI Communication (May 2005) - White paper Integration of e-Learning with Traditional Education Shashank Hiwarkar ETH Research LabAbstractThis paper presents an approach for integrating e-learning with the traditionaleducation system. A conceptual map is then created for this integration leadingto a functional model for open and flexible learning. In the proposed integration,convergence of CD-based, class-based and web-based education isrecommended and an architecture to achieve this convergence is presented. Inorder to transform the existing schools, colleges and universities into digitalcampuses, an inclusive system architecture is designed for digital campus. Acase study is given on actual implementation in a conventional school.Integration of e-learning with traditional education is not only possible but alsohighly effective with the proposed model.What is e-Learning?Advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) havesignificantly transformed the way we live and work today. This transformation is soubiquitous and pervasive that we often talk about the emergence of―knowledge economy‖, knowledge-based society‖ and ―knowledge era‖.ICT had fundamentally three effects on human society one, the barrier ofgeography has been dissolved; ―Distance is dead‖ is the new metaphor.Second, the concept of time itself has undergone change. One can interactnow synchronously as well as un-synchronously. The events can also be simulatedand activities can take place in cyber space on pre-defined time scales. Lastly,ICT allows us to virtualise almost any human activity, including the individualhimself along with the environment in which he is immersed in. No wonder,advances in ICT have impacted the human civilization more than anything elsein history ever before.Along with other fields of human activities, ICT is also having significanttransformational effects on education. e-learning strategies allow individuallearners to choose contents, time and pace of learning and in this way a newrevolution has begun in education and training. Given these transformationalroles of ICT it is important to understand how different e-learning is fromtraditional education system. In other words, we must first define what e-learningis after all .
Quite simply, e-learning should be defined as learning opportunities deliveredand facilitated by electronic means. In the e-learning mode, educationalcontents are delivered by electronic technology. However, it is not correct toassume that e-learning differs from traditional system only in the way hascontents are delivered. e-learning imparts all the three main components oflearning, namely contents, learning methodologies, and teaching or tutoringmethodologies on one hand and e-learning can supplement and complementthe traditional education system on the other hand. It can completely be analternative system to the traditional education system.This paper basically focuses on integration of traditional education system with e-learning. In e-learning, three different forms of computer based systems haveevolved, 1) CD based education (CBE), 2) Class room based learning (CEBE),and 3) web based learning (WBE). These three approaches have their ownadvantages and limitations.Our experiments at ETH Research Lab show that the success of e-learningstrategies depends on how best we can combine all the three learning modes ormethods. We argue that this is a best method for integrating e-learning with thetraditional teaching process. In traditional education, learning approach isthrough a teacher or a mediator. With the introduction of e-learning technology,the role of the teacher gets changed to facilitator, with high quality learningresources made available through electronic media.The e-learning technology can create an open and flexible learningenvironment with the convergence of CD based, class based and web basededucation. e-learning can be easily integrated in the traditional education bybringing learners, teachers, educational resources, libraries, schools,administration and management system on one platform.Conceptual ModelTraditionally our education system has two distinct processes, namely thelearning process and the learning administration or support process. Learningsystem caters to the development of skills and competencies in the learnersthrough personal learning, group learning in class, learning from teachers andexperts, and learning from the experiences of self and others. While the learningsupport system aims at supporting the learning processes of the learners. Thiscaters mainly evaluation and assessment process, library managementprocesses, seminars and workshops and the like. Traditional education systemlargely focuses on the delivery of the courses and awarding certificates anddegrees to the learner.The e-learning system architecture must address both to the learning process aswell as learning support process. In e-learning support processes are equallyimportant as the content and services has to be provided by educationalservice providers (ESPs) as such experts normally does not exist on the campuses.
ETH Research Lab has advanced open and flexible e-learning systemarchitecture as shown in figure 1, providing convergence of formal, non-formaland informal education and bringing educational service providers, activityproviders, learning resources on one single platform for achieving masspersonalized education. The conceptual model has all required subsystemsnamely Learning System, Learning Support System, Delivery System,Maintenance – Development – Production (MDP) System, and TotalAdministration and QA System. Figure 1. E-Learning Architecture for Open and Flexible Learning SystemLearning system of traditional education system will be enhanced with theavailability and accessibility of virtual learning resources. Students can interact insynchronous and asynchronous mode.Learning Support System addresses the technology for facilitation of the learningsystem. It will also include the learning from the remote tutors through the virtualclass mode, lecture on demand and formative feedback for the assessment andevaluation.Delivery System delivers the content in electronic form to the learners anddistributed classrooms.
Services Management (Maintenance, Development and Production) will help incollaborating with the service providers. This enhances the knowledge repositoryas compared to the traditional education system.Total Management and QA system monitors and manages the quality educationdelivery to the learner.Functional ModelThe conceptual architecture best describes the convergence of the WBE, CBEand CEBE. With the field trials and experiments, we have observed that there is aneed for the operational support services and mini ERP services for managing theeducational institutes. Schools, colleges and universities have a whole range ofactivities other than managing academics only. With technology we can makethe whole administration and management of education more effective. Thisway the school, college, university can be transformed into Digital School, DigitalCollege, and Digital University. Our architecture aims at creating a full-fledgeddigital campus driven by ICT.The conceptual architecture of e-learning described in the previous section canbe enhanced with these services for managing the institute. Figure 2 illustratesimplementation architecture integrating all the subsystems of building a digitalcampus.
Student School College Partner Administrator Security Layer Multilingual Layer CRM ERM Digital Library LCMS LMS Remote Modular Course Content Authentication Service Authoring Platform School College ERP ERP Course Service Management Management Content Tracking O S SCM Management S Network Management. M User S Work Flow Mgt Assessment Repository Resource Management. & S Evaluation Content Project Management Repository Storage Area Learning Administrative Learning System Data Billing Document Flow Message Oriented Middle-ware Service Oriented Architecture Persistence Layer DB DB DB Figure 2. Open Flexible Education Environment - Implementation Architecture.LMS and LCMS:Functional model for learning system and learning support systems areimplemented as Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning ContentManagement System (LCMS) as shown in Figure 3.
Offerings Goals Content LearningAuthorization RLO Planner Registry Info Tools User Info Registry Info Delivery Engine RLO Activity Info Content Learner Assembly RLO Profile Content Course Tools Registry Info Repository Catalog Collaboration Manager Activity Engine Activity Info Assessment / Registry Info Content Assessment Testing Engine Manager LO Object Result Info LCMS LMS Learning Administration System Figure 3. LMS and LCMS – An Architectural Representation Content Authoring Tool is useful for creation of the content, putting legacy content online. With this, teachers can create their own content and publish it. Content creation with the SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) standards makes it interchangeable across the LMS. Content Assembly Tools plays an important role in packaging the content prepared with authoring tool and publishing it. Our architecture complies with IMS Content Packaging standards for content assembly tool thus giving interoperability. Learning Objects published with content assembly tools are categorized with the Learning Object Metadata and stored in Catalog Manager. Course Repository stores the course structures which integrates the learning objects and sequence them.
Learning Planner assists learner with the appropriate alternative planscorresponding to the learning objective of the learner. Finally it sends the UserInformation to the User Repository.Personalized delivery of the course to the learner is managed with deliveryengine in LAN version and WAN version.For the individual learning and group learning various collaborative services likespecial interest groups, discussion forum, virtual classroom and variousenrichment contents can be delivered through collaboration engine.Formative evaluation will help learner to plan the learning process in thecorrective way. The assessment of every learning objective and activity ismanaged in the personal folder of every learner.In addition to the Learning and Learning Support system, we observed the needfor automation of the various operations in the schools and colleges (traditionaleducation system). Those operations are managed with the help of SMS (SelfManaged Systems). It is a sort of mini ERP system which covers the PurchaseManagement, Asset Management, Accounts and Finance Management etc. Inthis process often work flow of the educational institutes need to bereengineered. Document flow management can help in delivering paperlessoperations which is the goal of all computerization.When we collaborate with the Educational Service Providers, we need toprovide the facility for monitoring and control of the services provided by them.Operational Support Services (OSS) helps in service collaboration, launching,billing, support and maintenance services.AT ETH Research Lab, we have approached this architecture with the OpenSource technologies, independent of platform and databases. Support formultilingual technologies is also provided. XML based integration layer helps indata exchange and collaboration across the systems.Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)With the mission of bringing Education To Home, we expect technology shouldmake the schools, colleges, teachers, libraries, learning resources to beaccessible and approachable to the aspiring learners.We are implementing the ETH mission in phased manner. We have deployed theComputer Literacy program in collaboration with Pune University. Now we areextending it through schools and colleges. With Digital Campus, we will digitizeschools and colleges within the campus. Here e-Learning will be complementaryand supplementary to the traditional education process.All the digital campuses should collaborate on one platform in order to build thecontent and knowledge repository which can be delivered to the students
electronically. This collaboration approach will be driven through the ServiceOriented Architecture (SOA). Schematic representation of the SOAimplementation is expressed in Figure 4 Digital School 1 Digital Campus Binds Service Learner Portal Digital School 2 WSDL Digital School UDDI “n” Figure 4. Schematic Representation of use of SOAService Oriented Architecture can be applicable to the networked digitalcampus as expressed in the above architecture diagram. We have used J2EEframework to implement SOA. SOA is a collection of services on a network thatcommunicate with one another. The services are loosely coupled, have well-defined, platform-independent interfaces, and are reusable. SOA is a higherlevel of application development (also referred to as coarse granularity) thatfocuses on business processes and uses standard interfaces. Web services useWSDL, UDDI and SOAP. Services are published in UDDI registry along with serviceproviders’ information. Service Providers describe their services in a WSDLdocument. The URL for WSDL is given in UDDI.With the application of this, the Learning System of one campus can beaccessed based on the agreed terms and conditions for service sharing by othercampus through UDDI search. UDDI locates the WSDL file which locates theservice on the network. This will deliver the desired learning resources to thelearners on single sign-on. The sharing of the services, content, learning objects,courses from different schools, colleges, and teachers is possible through thisarchitecture.The common platform is portal which can be used for convergence ofeducational services from the Educational Service Providers. These services canbe easily accessible to various digital campuses as the learning and teachingresources.
Case StudyAs explained in functional model, in schools and colleges we observe the needfor computerization of administration and management to make it paperless.Lectures can be enhanced with the electronic media and can be projected tothe students in classrooms. Interactive CDs help learners visualize and understandthe matter; teachers can make use of computers for making the lectures morelively and effective through multimedia. In addition, documentationmanagement system can help issue and management of bonafied certificates,leaving certificates and other statutory certificates for students and staff. Workflow management system allows management of processes like lecturescheduling; leave management, library management helps in issue andprocurement of books. Schematic representation of the implementation view ofthe Digital Campus for school is explained in Figure 5. Figure 2. Typical Implementation in CampusWe have implemented Digital Campus for School at Bhartiya Jain SanghatnaHigh School, Wagholi. We have implemented the concept of the Digital Schoolwhere we have digitized the operations of the schools, CD based content of theschool syllabus for teachers and students and web based support andenrichment material. It has got wide acceptance from the teachers and learnersas it reflected the processes and methodologies they have been following in theschool.This system now helping in admission process, scheduling of lectures, managingconventional and digital library resources, lecture on demand, students notes,
group learning through Special Interest Groups, pre and post examinationprocesses, accounts and finance management, budgetary control, assetmanagement of the school along with the day today administration ofattendance to payroll and also documentation management of statutorycertificates for students.This approach was then replicated in other schools and over a period of time ithas evolved into a comprehensive system. Implementation strategies forreplication of the concept were taken with the help of the teachers themselves.Teacher training, orientation, support, customization and management areintegral to implementation which is executed along with local agencies.In many colleges and universities there is a growing need for the distancelearning. We have addressed this with the Learning Management System whichcan cater to both formal and in-formal modes of education. For such collegesand universities the approach can be supplementary, complementary or evenalternative to their conventional distance learning programs.We have now embarked up a generalized e-learning product for schools,colleges and universities. Currently the challenge lies in getting the schools intothe e-learning framework, orientation of teachers and making teachers use thesystem on their own. Other challenges are installation and maintenance ofinfrastructure as well as organizing budgets for the digital campus initiative ineach institution.With Digital Campus program, schools, colleges, teachers, students, learningresources will be able to collaborate on one platform. The convergence modelwill have to be supported with the quality educational services and activities.Some schools, colleges can themselves be the service providers for others. Bestof teachers can be accessible across the campus and through the virtualclassroom mode, they would be available to the aspiring learners acrossinstitutions.ConclusionAfter going through the real life experience of implementation of e-learningthrough several schools and colleges with the Open and Flexible LearningEnvironment architecture, we feel that the success lies in the co-existence andintegration of traditional and e-learning strategies.Current barriers for success of these convergence models are mind set, budgetsfor infrastructure, preparedness of teachers and local support. However, withmarked reduction in the cost of PCs, laptops, networking and servers,introduction of IT subject in school syllabus, spread of affordable internet and
growing awareness of the benefits of IT in education, the perceived barriers aregetting dissolved.However, there is a great challenge of quality content creation. This must becompliant with the emerging international standards such as SCORM / IMS to bereusable and modifiable. This vital issue is not discussed here and it would bepresented in an ensuing paper. Our objective in this paper was to present animplementable architecture for integration of e-learning with traditionaleducation in school, colleges and universities. We have also presented the resultsof our implementations as a case study proving the validity of our architectureand strategies.References: 1. White paper on ―AN IMPLEMENTABLE ARCHITECTURE OF AN E-LEARNING SYSTEM‖ by Xiaofei Liu, Abdulmotaleb El Saddik and Nicolas D. Georganas 2. ―e-Learning Interoperability Standards‖, Sun white paper, January 2002 — www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/edu/whitepapers/index.html 3. ―e-Learning theories and pedagogical Strategies‖ – http://www.homestead.com 4. ―Evaluating the effectiveness of E-Learning Strategies for Small Medium Enterprises‖ - Eduardo Figueira 5. ―Triple Play Solutions for the Student Residence‖ – Allied TelesynMr. Shashank HiwarkarMr. Shashank Hiwarkar is a Program Co-ordinator of ETH Research Lab. He is involved inarchitecting the ETH Education Environment and implementing the concept of DigitalCampus in Schools, colleges and universities. He is an engineering graduate of NagpurUniversity