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E learning

  1. 1. E-Learning Praveenkumar H S Introduction E-learning is the use of electronic media and information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. E-learning is broadly inclusive of all forms of educational technology in learning and teaching. E- learning is inclusive of, and is broadly synonymous with multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL),computer-based instruction (CBI), computer managed instruction,[1] computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer-aided instruction (CAI), internet-based training (IBT), web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environments (VLE) (which are also called learning platforms), m-learning, and digital educational collaboration. These alternative names emphasize a particular aspect, component or delivery method. E-learning includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as well as local intranet/extranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks or the Internet in networked learning, underly many e-learning processes. E-learning can occur in or out of the classroom. It can be self-paced, asynchronous learning or may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. E-learning is suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but it can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used. Definitions “The delivery of a learning, training or education program by electronic means. E-learning involves the use of a computer or electronic device (e.g. a mobile phone) in some way to provide training, educational or learning material”. (Derek Stockley 2003) “E-Learning is the use of technology to enable people to learn anytime and anywhere. e-Learning can include training, the delivery of just-in-time information and guidance from experts” Advantages of Elearning  Class work can be scheduled around work and family  Reduces travel time and travel costs for off-campus students  Students may have the option to select learning materials that meets their level of knowledge and interest  Students can study anywhere they have access to a computer and Internet connection  Self-paced learning modules allow students to work at their own pace  Flexibility to join discussions in the bulletin board threaded discussion areas at any hour, or visit with classmates and instructors remotely in chat rooms  Instructors and students both report eLearning fosters more interaction among students and instructors than in large lecture courses  eLearning can accommodate different learning styles and facilitate learning through a variety of activities  Develops knowledge of the Internet and computers skills that will help learners throughout their lives and careers
  2. 2.  Successfully completing online or computer-based courses builds self-knowledge and self-confidence and encourages students to take responsibility for their learning  Learners can test out of or skim over materials already mastered and concentrate efforts in mastering areas containing new information and/or skills. Other advantages Flexibility, Accessibility, Convenience Learners can proceed through a training program "at their own pace and at their own place." They can also access the e-Learning course at any time, and only as much as they need. This is also known as "Just in time and just enough." Cross-platform Support E-Learning courses are accessible by Web browsers on any platform: Windows, Mac, UNIX, OS/2, Amiga, etc. You can deliver your training program to any machine over the Internet or intranet without having to author a program specifically for each platform. Browsers and Internet Connections are Widely Available Most computer users have access to a browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, and are connected to a company's intranet and/or have access to the Internet. Inexpensive Worldwide Distribution No separate distribution mechanism is needed. E-Learning courses are accessible from any computer anywhere in the world, which keeps delivery costs low. Ease of Updates After the e-Learning course is released, any changes can be made on the server hosting the program and everyone worldwide can instantly access the update. Courses can be designed to access designated current information, such as the latest new product specifications, from any other server worldwide for an on-the-fly update whenever the e-Learning course is run. Savings in Travel Cost and Time There are no travel costs for bringing remote employees to a centralized workshop because the Web is available from all desktops. According to some analysts, the actual time required for training by computer averages about 50% to that of instructor-led training, further saving money. Disadvantages of ELearning  Learners with low motivation or bad study habits may fall behind  Without the routine structures of a traditional class, students may get lost or confused about course activities and deadlines  Students may feel isolated from the instructor and classmates  Instructor may not always be available when students are studying or need help  Slow Internet connections or older computers may make accessing course materials frustrating  Managing computer files and online learning software can sometimes seem complex for students with beginner-level computer skills  Hands-on or lab work is difficult to simulate in a virtual classroom
  3. 3. Other disadvantages Bandwidth limitations Limited bandwidth means slower performance for sound, video, and intensive graphics, causing long waits for download that can affect the ease of the learning process. The problem is greater over the public Internet, where more traffic jams occur, and less on a company's intranet which usually has greater bandwidth. Future technologies will no doubt help to solve this problem. Are computers replacing human contact? There's a general concern that as we move towards more computer usage, a glowing terminal replaces a friendly face. Decreasing instructor-led training makes some trainees uneasy. If this is a concern, consider a gradual introduction of the technology. Today's e-Learning programs are too static As with any emerging technology, the level of interactivity in e-Learning is too-often limited. This is gradually improving, and as it does the impact of the training on performance improves also. Takes more time and more money to develop than expected Like any first-time challenge, learning about and implementing new technology takes more resources (and more aspirin) than expected. You can make it easier by starting with a simple program and building on success. Also remember that the greater portion of costs associated with e-Learning are startup costs. Programs can be delivered and reused with fewer costs than with traditional methods. Characteristics of a Good e-Learning Course Good e-Learning courses come in different types and packages, each of which perfectly suits the learner. All of them, however, share notable similarities—universal traits that explain why they are effective and what makes them better than the average. Below is a quick list of traits you definitely should consider for your next project. 1) Engaging But Not Distracting Getting learners to focus on your material is difficult, no thanks to the amount of information on the web you can get lost into. Efficient course developers make focusing with the material easier by making it fun and engaging. Instead of fussing over interactive and flashy elements, they prioritize active learning by placing students in charge of their lessons. 2) Useful and Simple Simplicity and usefulness are basic elements of the “it just works” principle. When you a product that doesn’t need a manual for the user, you’ve made gold. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping things simple and useful. Instead of trying to accomplish a lot of complicated work and do things poorly in the end, concentrate your efforts to one or two essential stuff. 3) Relevant and Meaningful
  4. 4. Learners may appreciate lofty theories but they need to understand first how your course can benefit them. You have to design courses that affect how learners choose or decide on their personal or professional lives. Show them the relevance of the course via showing real life implications. 4) Polished, from Start to Finish With good courses, every section is consistently polished. Quality is never compromised. The entire course is a work of a craftsman who delivers a consistent learning experience through ruthless editing, revising and polishing. 5) Easy to Access E-learning tools should be easy to access and readily available to students working at home and at school. This means that students should be able to visit the website for an e-learning tool anywhere they want to as they cannot do with software or other proprietary tools that are installed on specific computers. For example, the course management system Moodle allows students and teachers to access it from anywhere there is an Internet connection. This encourages students to incorporate the tool throughout their daily and weekly lives as opposed to limiting their use of the tool to the hours they are at school. 6) Easy to Use E-learning tools should be easy to use and fairly intuitive. This means that students should be able to figure out the basic steps for working with the tool without involved tutorials or instructions. For example, Google’s education-based tools such as its cloud storage system Google Drive and its document editing tool Google Docs pare down the features of the tools so that students and teachers can focus only on those things they need to do. E-learning tools that are easy to use minimize barriers for students who want to use them. 7) Works with Other Tools E-learning tools should be highly compatible with all kinds of other tools, computers, and operating systems. This means that any e-learning tool must work with PCs and Macs, as well as Windows and Mac operating systems and Linux platforms. Additionally, if the e-learning tool produces a file, such as a document file or a picture, that file type should be able to be opened up and used by other tools and programs. For example, the GNU Image Manipulation Program is free image editing software similar in many ways to Adobe’s proprietary software Photoshop. As Photoshop does, GIMP is able to edit and produce image file types that are compatible with all types of computers and operating systems. E-learning tools that work well with other tools allow for greater diversification of a student’s tool kit. 8) Updates Regularly E-learning tools should be updated regularly so as to keep up with other updating tools and softwares and also to ensure that bugs and glitches are addressed and fixed. When choosing e-learning tools for students, be sure there is a dedicated team of software engineers committed to updating the code of the tool, or that there is a dedicated community of contributors who work together to update the code of the tool. For example, while GIMP is a proprietary (albeit free) e-learning tool, Moodle is open-source. This means that GIMP’s code is updated by a team of GIMP-employed software engineers, while Moodle’s code is updated by its users. Both GIMP and Moodle are updated regularly and offer news releases about their updates. Regular updates ensure that the e-learning tool will continue to run smoothly as students use it over time. barriers of e learning There are a number of barriers facing providers that need to be resolved in order to make the increased use of e-learning effective and relevant to the individual needs of the learner.  Physical resources, including accommodation, content, computer and other ICT-related resources, connectivity and access for those people with individual needs.  Information advice and guidance (IAG), including initial advice to ensure that learners are on the correct learning programme at the right level, appropriate accreditation, advice on progress into new learning programmes, monitoring, assessment (including the introduction of a national credit framework) and on- programme support.
  5. 5.  The management of adult learning, including the management of the curriculum, staff and use of management information in order to improve the quality, content and teaching.  Funding methodology and audit processes - it has been recognised that traditional funding models based on registers, physical location, time duration and other more ‘traditional’ methods of payment do not assist the development of more flexible approaches to teaching. If learners are to experience truly flexible and open ‘any time, anywhere’ e-learning, the funding and audit models need to be redesigned and applied in a more focused and flexible manner.  Lack of resources. Lack of formal based learning courses or resources. Most training programmes and Continuing Professional Development opportunities are face to face. This may reflect culture, lack of awareness of potential of e-learning and lack of technically proficient specialists to develop e-learning resources, plus of course the cost of producing high quality learning materials.  Poor infrastructure. Many careers companies have a poor network infrastructure and are using out of date computers with even more out of date web browsers etc. Furthermore many of companies have set up heavy firewalls preventing access to social networking sites.  Lack of competence or confidence in use of computers by some careers advisers. May be some reluctance by staff to become involved in elearning.  Lack of awareness by senior managers and staff development officers of potential of elearning. Lack of local champions for change  Despite all these problems and barriers, most careers advisers use computers as part of their everyday job. There are requirements to use networked systems for record keeping. In addition many use the computers for informal learning and especially for browsing for resources, also using the computer in direct work with clients. However such activity is not viewed by managers as ‘learning’ neither is it accredited.  Lack of time. It is difficult to persuade managers to provide time for informal (or formal) online learning, especially given present financial climate. Many do appear to use computer for work purposes at home and in their own time.  Cost. Many online resources are expensive and at present careers services are under heavy financial pressure. Is also worth noting that practices of companies in paying for online access by say mobile phone varies greatly. Staff may be unwilling to use mobile devices if are expected to pay themselves.  Confidentiality. Much of the work is confidential. This may mitigate against the use of open social software networks.  Organisational structures. Careers companies have to bid for contracts and may be unwilling to share learning opportunities or resources with other companies who may be perceived as competitors.  Lack of functionality to share informal learning. Are only limited networks and community applications for sharing learning. there are some signs this may be changing but most learning is hared and disseminated face to face or by email.  Much of the work of careers advisers take place outside the office. Access to resources including internet may be limited. Evaluation of Education As inevitably as the apes lit the first spark that introduced fire to human life, so did technology lit the education sector, initiating a learning revolution. The evolution of EdTech has been continual, so much so that every time you look among the many options available, it gives a Pandora’s Box like experience, promising a new treasure every time you open it. Here is the Infographic showing it in detail.
  6. 6. Over the years, technology has made the four walls of a classroom lose the rigidity and limitations of time and space. It has given students the wings to explore by engulfing the entire world within the physical space of the learning room. Here is a timeline that traces the evolution of education technology through the ages. Foundation Stage At a time when the Industrial Revolution was almost two centuries away and the only form of technology were feather pens and printing systems, formalized education began with the inception of the Boston Latin School, the first private school in the US in 1635. Next John Dury in 1651 propounded the concept of the modern library that opened public access to books and introduced the profession of the educated librarian. One of the most commonplace objects around the world today i.e. the pencil was still unknown to most of humanity until 1795 when Nicolas Jacques Conte pressed a mixture of graphite and clay between two half cylinders of wood. Although not considered a milestone development in its time, a world without this little technology would seem so different today! Tech-abled Writing The next milestone in the evolution of education technology was the invention of the typewriter in 1868 by Christopher Sholes using the now popular QWERTY keyboard that gave a tech form to writing. The Computer Wave The 20th century saw major developments. The first computer that was used for instruction came in 1950 at MIT where a flight simulator trained pilots. This was followed by the IBM 650 that was the first commercially available computer with a memory 2kb, costing $500,000. The predecessor to our modern day hand held calculators was invented in 1967 by Texas Instruments. Though expensive at its time of invention, math students today know who to thank for tech-olving their calculations. With the coming of Apple II by Apple computers in 1967, a common fruit became synonymous with personal computers. 1977 was also the year that saw the incorporation of personal computers into schools, such that by 1981 18% of US public schools had one or more computers for instruction. Evolution of education technology continued and brought gaming under its ambit. The Oregon Trail became the first educational game to be widely adopted by schools in 1985. The history of EdTech further evolved such that by 1991, one in every 18 students had access to computers. In 1994 in his quest to encourage education technology, President Clinton increased funding by 3000%, thus challenging the nation to connect every school to the web, despite internet access being limited to only 3% US schools. Their efforts bore fruit and by 1996, one in every 12 students had computer access. New Forms of Learning Distance learning entered the picture in 1997 and brought education to the doorstep for willing students. At this time around 78% four year public higher educational institution were providing this facility. The beginning of the millennium brought an unprecedented access to EdTech. While in 2000, every five students could access one computer; in 2004 54% of K-12 schools had laptops available for students. The next year, 94% schools had classrooms with internet access.
  7. 7. Online education eased time and space constraints like never before. In 2007 nearly one in every five college students was taking an online class With the introduction of Poll Everywhere in 2008, EdTech could be used to enhance classroom education. The launch of this resource allowed teachers to live poll students in the classroom by submissions via text, email or twitter. Online Education became further developed. In 2011, University of Southern California’s online Master of Arts in teaching program was the first to include real time elements such as live sessions, break out rooms and collaborative learning. By 2011, use of technology in education became a commonplace occurrence. For instance, as part of a pilot program, NYC public schools ordered over 2000 ipads for its teachers and students in this year. Just as the only constant thing about life is change, EdTech too continues to evolve bringing more and more treasures and innovations for generations to come. The following infographic sums the journey of education from classrooms and notebooks to internet connection and ipads. Distance education technologies: The fourth generation For many years distance education practitioners have enthusiastically embraced a wide range of educational technologies. In contrast, on-campus educators have tended to be satisfied with traditional approaches ignoring the new technologies of teaching and concentrating their energies on research and other scholarly activities. A review of developments in the application of a range of technologies in distance education provides an appropriate foundation for delineating the challenge to leaders and managers of conventional on-campus institutions interested in improving the quality of teaching and learning. The opportunity for institutional leaders is to adopt a proactive stance and to generate an organisational development strategy which will lead to the new technologies becoming a structurally integrated element of the teaching/learning environment. In the past twenty years, there has been a significant expansion in the availability of a wide range of technologies with the potential to improve the quality of teaching and learning in higher education. Apart from the more traditional technologies such as print, broadcast television and radio, the following new technologies provide opportunities for enhancing the quality of teaching: audiotapes, videotapes, computer-based learning packages, interactive video (disk and tape), CDTV, audio-teleconferencing, audiographic communication systems (eg Smart 2000) and video conferencing. Probably the only defensible generalisation that one could make about the quality of teaching and learning in higher education is that being dependent on a multitude of variables including the complex interaction of the prior training, skills, motivations and idiosyncrasies of individual teachers and individual students, it is extremely variable.
  8. 8. Components of E-learning The Five eLearning Components There are five eLearning Components that are essential for all successful online courses. Understanding these components will help you design and develop a course that meets computer-based training objectives. The diagram above illustrates how these components are connected. Each elearning component plays an important role in designing an online course. Among all of the components, none plays a larger role than the Audience. Audience From concept to implementation, the audience is a critical factor in the process of developing online courses. Everything designed and developed should be done with the audience in mind. One of the first steps in the ADDIE process is to conduct an audience analysis. This analysis will help you to determine the basic structure of the other four elearning components. As you begin to develop an online course you should always consider the following about your audience:  Expectations: You need to know the expected outcomes of the training or course that you develop. What will be required of the learner after completing the course or training? What skill level is require to be certified or qualified upon completing the course or training? Knowing these expectations will help you in determining the structure, content, and format of the course or training you develop.  Learning abilities (prerequisites): Before you can design or develop a online course, you need to know about the audience's learning abilities and if there are prerequisite topics required for the course or training. For example, if you are creating a course on how to build a car, the learner should have some
  9. 9. mechanical aptitude or knowledge of how a car functions first before learning how to build a car. Thus, a prerequisite for this course might require the learner to know the fundamentals of engines before completing a course on how to build a car.  Available hardware/software: An important part of knowing your audience is understanding the capabilities of the learner to access and view your course. For example, if you intend to include audio in your course, it is important to know if your audience has the appropriate hardware and software to hear the audio.  Learning Environment: Another critical part of the analysis phase is to identify the environment of your audience. Where will the audience complete the training or course? Will it be in a classroom setting or at their workstation or desk? Answers to these questions help you to design activities that best meet the environment requirements. For example, the learner may be in a location that inhibits his or her learning experience due to noise or other distractions. The leaner may also be restricted to certain times of the day or limited to an amount of time to use a computer for training. Understanding these obstacles or challenges will better help you in designing a course.  Job Responsibilities: As an instructional designer, and especially as an elearning developer, you must know the job responsibilities of your audience. Remember, required skills of the learner minus current skills of the learner equals course objectives. Knowing what the learner is responsible for on the job will assist you in meeting the expectations and objectives of your customers. Also, this knowledge will help you to create effective online exercises and games to help the learner grasp the subject presented.  Preferences: This is one of the most overlooked areas when learning about your audience. Your audience will always have a preference in how they learn. Some are more prone to learn from video and audio exercises, while others need more simulated, hands-on exercises to learn. Knowing the learning styles will help you to design a course that is interactive and achieve results. Course Structure Course structure refers to how a course is designed for elearning. The structure of a course plays a critical role in how your audience learns the material. During the Design phase of ADDIE you brainstormed how the course should be organized and structured. For elearning the same principles apply. Storyboarding is a great way to build your course structure. Consider the following items when structuring your course:  Group content into logical modules: Identify the flow of the course and then determine how to modulate the information. Structuring the information into small "chunks" will make it easier for your audience to follow and learn the materials. Most people can retain a lot of information. However, the information must be organized and grouped into small segments to ensure a greater retention percentage of the information.  Avoid creating modules that exceed 8-10 pages: Most people need to feel like they are accomplishing something and need those mental check points that indicate that they are progressing. Keeping your modules to 8-10 pages will help the learner feel a sense of progress. Also, modules that tend to be long cause the learner to loose interest and thus, the learning process becomes a drudgery.  Incorporate interactive concepts: Your course structure should also include interactive concepts strategically placed throughout the course. Too much interactivity can cause the learner to either forget why they are completing the course or simply loose interest. A good rule of thumb is to include an exercise or activity every third page with one major activity per module. This will establish a good balance between exchaning information and sustaining the interest of the learner.  Use pictures/graphics to help explain ideas, concepts, or statements: It is always a good practice to include images whenever possible. Many times, instructional designers will insert an image just for the sake of inserting a picture. Each image should have a purpose and should represent the subject presented
  10. 10. on the page. By using images to emphasize certain points of the page, you will draw the learner into the subject and he or she will be able to better relate to the concepts presented. Page Design Like the importance of charm and charisma of the classroom instructor, the page design of an online course is critical to the learning process. How a page is designed can have a huge impact on the learning experience of your audience. Consider some of the following tips when formatting your course:  Navigation must be intuitive. Make navigation simple and easy to follow. The easier it is to navigate, the more engaging the course will be for the learner.  Appearance must not hinder the learning process. Remember, the purpose of the course is to instruct the learner. The layout of the course should not be laborious for the learner to understand what he or she must do on the page. If a page is confusing or frustrating for the learner, they will lose interest and you will not achieve the learning objectives.  Balance between text and graphics is critical. Avoid over powering the text with graphics or images. Graphics are a powerful resource for instructional designers. Using graphics wisely to stress a concept is a great way to help the learner comprehend a complex topic. However, if the graphic becomes too dominate and over shadows the intent of the topic or concept on the page, the learner can become distracted and lose interest in the course. Also, too much text with little to no images can also have an affect on learner. Similar to images, too much text on a page can appear to laborious for the learner and can psychologically impact the learner in not reading the information. Thus, balance of images and text must be considered when designing a page.  White space is good. Some people like to use every bit of real estate on a screen. This makes the page look cluttered and unorganized. Having a lot of white space is actually a good practice to incorporate into your training. Using white space effectively can promote a positive learning environment for the learner as he or she will not see the page as labor intensive to complete.  Consistency is golden (includes fonts, layouts, and pop-ups). Being consistent throughout your course will improve the learning experience of your audience. Keeping objects and fonts consistent throughout your course helps the learner to become less frustrated in navigating through the training.  Ease of scanning information is imperative. Most people like to scan through a page. Making the page user-friendly by organizing information using bullets or numbers can greatly improve the learning experience. Organizing concepts and topics using bullets or numbers ensure a greater retention percentage for the learner. It also helps the learner to quickly find key points or facts to assist in comprehending critical topics.  Chunking information is crucial. As mentioned before, chunking information into small bits of information will help your audience retain the information presented in the training. As mentioned, most people can retain vast amounts of information if the information is presented in a well organized fashion. Segmenting topics by steps, phases, or concepts will help the learner to remember and understand information within the course. It will also help you in designing an effective training course. Content Engagement
  11. 11. Because e-learning is a self-study medium, interacting with the learner becomes more important than most types of training forums. Content engagement refers to how the learner interacts with content of the course. Because studies have shown that the learning experience is greatly enhanced when exercises or activities are incorporated into the learning process, content engagement is critical. Engaging exercises or events within elearning can compensate for the lack of an instructor who can add that human touch through personality and rhetorical interactions. Similar to classroom training there must be a balance in applying engaging content. Too much engagement and you risk over shadowing the learning objectives. Too little engagement and you risk losing the learner's interest in the topic. Consider the following when attempting to engage the learner in an elearning environment.  Use hyperlinks for additional concepts, explanations, or definitions. The advantage of online learning is that it provides the learner with additional resources and information with just a click of the mouse. Linking to additional references can greatly improve the learning experience and offer added value to the content of the topic.  Incorporate interactive graphics such as animations or simulations. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then interactive graphics should be worth 2,000 words. Creating interactive images help the learner to experience a hands-on learning process that accelerates the learning. For example, information graphics provide a visual comprehension of the concept presented. If the learner had to click on portions of the information graphic, the learning experience would be more impactful to the learner. Simulations and other animations also provide that same objective.  Provide additional options/choices for the learner. In today's world, people love the ability to choose various options. This is important when it comes to learning because everyone learns differently, including various learning style preferences. For example, most people learn visually. However, there are some people that learn better via audio. By incorporating both the visual and the audio aspects into your training, you allow the learner to choose an option that best meets his or her learning needs.  Incorporate quizzes, tests, skill assessments. Another way to engage the learner is to test them on the things that they learned within the course. This allows both the learner to verify that they understood the content while at the same time the instructional designer can verify that the materials achieved the training objectives. This also helps to establish check points for the learner to know if they can move on within the course or return to previous topics to review the information again.  Create fun activities such as games or other educational methods of interactive learning.When learning is fun, people can maintain their interest longer in the topic. As you incorporate activities into your training, remember to make it fun. Use games or other methods that help increase the learning experience. However, use caution in creating the games so as not to allow the games to over shadow the intent of the topic. Remember, the intent of these activities is to provide context around the explanation of the topic.  Keep activities focused on the course objective. Always ensure that no matter what you do to engage the learner, the concepts must compliment the training objectives or topics. The temptation for many is to become so engrossed in interactive concepts that the reason for the training is often forgotten.  Avoid letting the technology overshadow the course objectives. Similar to the previous bullet, never allow technology to become the main focus of the training. Technology is a tool and should be used as such in order to help people learn the training objectives. When technology become the center of attention within an online course, the learner will often fall short in achieving the course objectives. Usability Many creative ideas are discarded because they do not work. Likewise, a well organized elearning course can be ill-received if it does not function properly. Usability refers to the testing of elearning content and applications.
  12. 12. Once you have built your online course, you should always test it in the same environment that the learner will complete the course. Consider the following when you conduct your usability analysis.  Verify that all links work properly  Ensure that activities function as designed  Inspect content to ensure that grammar and spelling are correct  Ensure that graphics are visible  Verify that the course works appropriately in all applicable server environments  Verify that screen resolution works for the intended audience (e.g., 800X600, 1024X768)  Verify that course objectives and expectations are met Conclusion Knowing and understanding these 5 major elearning components will help you build instructionally sound and successful online programs. CBT and WBT Electronic learning or e-learning is an umbrella term for learning enhanced by the use of computers. To make this happen efficiently, there are many technologies in use, such as CBT and WBT. Computer Based Training (CBT) is a new-age way of learning. It is a form of education in which a student learns by using special training programs while on a computer. This system worked well in the pre-Internet days, but with the explosive use of the Internet, the scope of CBTs is forced to expand. It has several advantages over traditional classroom learning methods and over self-taught books. Advantages of CBT:  The learner can think, respond and give feedback on the subject.  It offers a stimulating environment where the learner can learn at his own pace.  A learner can take the course at his convenience without any expense of time or travel.  By being accessible to the widest audience at multi-locations, it is cost-effective for the learner.  It can be custom-designed for specific industries, and can also be conveniently used by the physically challenged.  CBTs also save organizations instructor costs, costs of arranging training and travel and learners travel costs and time.  Busy IT professionals can get their certifications without the hassle of travelling to a classroom.  Through CBTs, employees can keep abreast with ever changing technology.  CBT technology also breaks down complex software into bite sized modules for easy and quick understanding. Web Based Training (WBT): This is a subset of CBTs in which the material is made accessible on the Internet by applying Web technologies. Typically, it has text and graphics, animation, audio and video, and needs additional bandwidth and software to work optimally. WBT is also referred to as "online courses" and "Web- based instruction". It presents the latest content of any topic that can be modified and is set in a framework of self-directed and self-paced instruction. It can also be evaluated and adapted, without a computer platform.
  13. 13. Advantages of WBT:  Training to users is very easily delivered  WBTs can be either in the form of individual or group training  Multi-platform capabilities are possible, such as Windows, Mac, UNIX, PDA, phone, among others  Content can be easily updated  Finished product has a quicker turnaround  Requires minimal technical support  Billing options comprise user ID, number of accesses, date/time of access  Access can be controlled  Can be linked with other training systems  The Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) can multitask Virtual Classroom What is a Virtual Classroom? A Virtual Classroom is an online classroom that allows participants to communicate, view presentations, interact with learning resources and work in groups. Virtual in the case of Virtual Classroom means that the teacher is not physically present in the classroom. The teacher is present on a screen. The advanced technology that we use comprises hardware and software that securely give the teacher control of the classroom. The teacher can see and hear all the pupils and can decide what the pupils can see and hear at all times. Virtual Classroom A virtual classroom duplicates the capabilities found in a real classroom. A virtual classroom provides:  A place to meet: Students and teachers use their computers to go to a virtual meeting place instead of a classroom.  Take attendance: A list of students is recorded.  Lecture: Teachers can choose from a variety of synchronous technologies including: o Slide presentation o Audio and video conferencing o Application sharing o Shared whiteboard  Interaction with students: Students can indicate when they want to speak by virtually raising their hand. Teachers can let students speak through audio and video conferencing. Teachers and students can use instant messaging and chat.  Quizzes: Teachers can present questions to students.  Breakout Sessions: Students can work together in groups. Most companies that sell virtual classroom software provide all of these capabilities in a single package. Audio and Video Conferencing
  14. 14. Audio conferencing can be implemented in two ways:  Computers connected to the Internet. Common names for this kind of implementation are IP Audio Conferencing or Voice-over-IP.  Phone conferences. People dial the same number to participate in an audio conference. Video conferencing can also be implemented in two ways:  Computers connected to the Internet. The computers need digital cameras.  Special video conferencing devices that connect over the Internet or over phone lines. Chat Chat allows several people to communicate with each other. Each participant uses a computer to type their comments. The other participants can see the name of the person and their comments. Shared Whiteboard A shared whiteboard lets a group of people communicate by typing comments, drawing, highlighting and pointing. A shared whiteboard is a common feature within virtual classroom software packages. Application Sharing You can demonstrate how to use software applications to remote learners with application sharing. A teacher can also let the learner take control of the application to practice performing tasks. Instant Messaging Instant messaging is similar to chat. One person communicates to another through typing. Instant messaging also provides some additional features. With instant messaging, you can keep a list of list of people that you might like to chat with. The list will indicate if they are online, offline, available for chat or busy. These features make instant messaging an excellent tool for learning from peers. The virtual classroom also provides the opportunity for students to receive direct instruction from a qualified teacher in an interactive environment. Students have direct and immediate access to their instructor for instant feedback and direction. The virtual classroom also provides a structured schedule of classes, which can be helpful for students who may find the freedom of asynchronous learning to be overwhelming. In addition, the virtual classroom provides a social learning environment that replicates the traditional "brick and mortar" classroom. Most virtual classroom applications provide a recording feature. Each class is recorded and stored on a server, which allows for instant playback of any class over the course of the school year. This can be extremely useful for students to review material and concepts for an upcoming exam. This also provides students with the opportunity to watch any class that they may have missed, so that they do not fall behind. It also gives parents the ability to monitor any classroom to ensure that they are satisfied with the education their child is receiving. Role of E-teacher.
  15. 15. Role of E-student Student preparation is not exclusively the responsibility of the instructor. One of the defining traits of online learning is the increased independence of learners. Online students can contribute to successful learning/preparation through the following:  Awareness - evaluate expectations, assess time needed to complete work, understand motivations/value of the learning, assess personal skills -technical and study skills  Orientation - online, a student goes through several stages before engaging the content - the computer, internet, the virtual classroom, software, instructor and students, and finally the content. Different students will enter a course at different levels of preparedness...but in online courses, and instructor should be able to accommodate a student at any level  Disciplined - follow course schedule and complete assignments  Organized - schedule study time and online time to ensure all course obligations are met  Self-directed - able to motivate her/himself...ask for help when needed, etc.  Internal or externally motivated (ie, some requirement or just because it's something that really interests them). Unit2-Technologies in e-learning  Satellite Broadcasting :-The transmission of television or radio programmes from an artificial satellite at a power suitable for direct reception in the home or any othes place.  Interactive Television :-Two way cable TV system that enables the viewer to issue commands and give feedback information through an electronic device called a setup box. The viewer can select which program or movie to watch, at what time, and can place orders in response to commercials. New setup boxes also allow access to email and e-commerce applications via internet.  Teleconferencing :- Audio or audio-visual meeting between geographically separated parties linked by telecommunications networks such as telephones or internet. See also conference call and videoconferencing.  Instant Messaging :- Web browser feature (or a facility provided by some websites) that allows two or more parties to exchange 'live' typed messages over the internet. Instant messaging (IM) is a type of online chat which offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted bi-directionally between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits
  16. 16. messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.  Discussion forum :- A discussion forum is a piece of software that can be added to websites to allow visitors to register, create personal profiles and hold discussions with other visitors. These discussions take the format of a single (or multiple) pages, where the initial poster makes a statement, and other users reply to the statement.  Bulletin board :- A bulletin board is a surface intended for the posting of public messages, for example, to advertise items wanted or for sale, announce events, or provide information. Bulletin boards are often made of a material such as cork to facilitate addition and removal of messages, or they can be placed on computer networks so people can leave and erase messages for other people to read and see. A board on the wall of a classroom, office, etc., where things (such as written notices or pictures) are put so that they can be seen by many people  Voice Mail :- a system in which callers can leave recorded messages for you over the telephone; also : a message left using this system. Voicemail (also known as voice mail, voice-mail, voice message or voice bank) is a computer based system that allows users and subscribers to exchange personal voice messages; to select and deliver voice information; and to process transactions relating to individuals, organizations, products and services, using an ordinary telephone. The term is also used more broadly to denote any system of conveying a stored telecommunications voice messages, including using an answering machine. Most cell phone services offer voice-mail as a basic feature, many corporate PBXs include versatile internal voice-messaging services and *98 Vertical service code subscription is available to most individual and small business land line subscribers. File sharing :- File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multimedia (audio, images and video), documents or electronic books. It may be implemented through a variety of ways. Common methods of storage, transmission and dispersion include manual sharing utilizing removable media, centralized servers on computer networks, World Wide Web- based hyperlinked documents, and the use of distributed peer-to-peer networking. File sharing is the practice of sharing or offering access to digital information or resources, including documents, multimedia (audio/video), graphics, computer programs, images and e-books. It is the private or public distribution of data or resources in a network with different levels of sharing privileges.  Streaming, commonly seen in the forms of audio and video streaming, is when a multimedia file can be played back without being completely downloaded first. Most files, like shareware and software updates that you download off the Internet, are not streaming data. However, certain audio and video files like Real Audio and QuickTime documents can be streaming files, meaning you can watch a video or listen to a sound file while it's being downloaded to your computer. With a fast Internet connection, you can actually stream live audio or video to your computer. On the Internet, there are two ways to listen to or watch audio and video files. The first way is to download the file to your computer and watch the file after it resides there. The other way to do it is to start a progressive download of the file, where the file isn't downloaded to your computer in a lasting way. This is called streaming. For instance, if you listen to a radio station online, you will stream the music, since you're listening live and couldn't download all the songs that they play. Instead, your computer connects to the radio station and receives an ongoing audio feed, or stream, with the radio station's programming.
  17. 17. Unit III : Management Content E-content :- E-learning content includes the course outline, modules of traditional education and multimedia content. In the field of E-learning such content may include; text, audio, video, animation and simulation. E-content is digital information delivered over network-based electronic devices, i.e., symbols that can be utilized and interpreted by human actors during communication processes, which allow them to share visions and influence each other’s knowledge, attitudes or behavior Towards a broader definition “the design of the subject matter in question and the digital delivery mode used. E-LEARNING THROUGH E-CONTENT :- One of the most innovative and promising outcomes of distance learning and telecommunication relationship is e-learning. It is a process whereby teachers and students are linked up in an electronic-media/computer network (Majumdar, S. and Park, M. 2002). E-learning facilitates the learner in terms of any time learning, anywhere learning, asynchronous interaction and group collaboration. E-learning provides the possibility of teaching based on learning objects (Wiley, 2001) Learning objects are the smallest independent educational components which can be reused in e-content of different subjects and authors; thus it is more economical and time-saving in e-content development. Elearning Content Development E-learning aims at:  Quality and authenticity  High interactivity and feedback  Creativity and uniqueness  Feasibility  Precision  Long term learning effects The process of e-learning content development is undertaken by highly skilled individuals and at each step the content gets modified and customized. The content is developed by:  Subject matter experts: These are the highly qualified people who know their subjects to the core. They also are trained individuals in how to represent their subject to the diverse audiences. They do a meticulous research on the objectives, audiences and course expectations, and then go about building their content.  Instructional designers: These are the experts who have knowledge of both the subject/content as well as various software. In order to make the content interesting, appealing and easy to comprehend, they are trained to make use of the appropriate and suitable software. They think creatively and provide guidelines for the designers.  Development team: Our technological experts like graphic designers digitize the content using various technologies and all the possible media to make the end product ready. The content undergoes modifications and is customized to the needs of the learners at this stage.  Testing and implementation: We recommend testing of this content for feedback before implementation or publishing. Testing ensures feedback which helps in eliminating the errors and allows changes to be made before the final product goes on the web.
  18. 18. Knowledge Management in E-Learning What is knowledge management? Knowledge management as I use it here is not a software product or a software category. Knowledge management doesn't even start with technology. It starts with business objectives and processes and a recognition of the need to share information. Knowledge management is nothing more than managing information flow, getting the right information to the people who need it so that they can act on it quickly. Knowledge management is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organisational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. Many large companies, public institutions and non-profit organisations have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, often as a part of their business strategy, information technology, or human resource management departments. Several consulting companies provide strategy and advice regarding KM to these organisations. The Value of Knowledge Management Some benefits of KM correlate directly to bottom-line savings, while others are more difficult to quantify. In today's information-driven economy, companies uncover the most opportunities — and ultimately derive the most value — from intellectual rather than physical assets. To get the most value from a company's intellectual assets, KM practitioners maintain that knowledge must be shared and serve as the foundation for collaboration. Yet better collaboration is not an end in itself; without an overarching business context, KM is meaningless at best and harmful at worst. Consequently, an effective KM program should help a company do one or more of the following:  Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas  Improve decision making  Improve customer service by streamlining response time  Boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster  Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it  Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary processes These are the most prevalent examples. A creative approach to KM can result in improved efficiency, higher productivity and increased revenues in practically any business function. The Implications of Knowledge Management For...  Database Users: From business class users to the general public, database users will enjoy a new level of interaction with the KM system including just-in-time knowledge that delivers precise relevant information on demand and in context. More complex, smart systems will translate to optimal usability and less time spent searching for relevant information. For example, data analysts will enjoy simplified access and more powerful tools for data exploitation. The use of knowledge bases can reduce customer service costs by providing customers with easy access to 24/7 self service via smart systems that reduce the need to contact customer service or technical support staff. Database users may even create customized views of knowledge bases that support their needs.  Database Developers: The design and development of knowledge based systems will be considerably more complex than current database development methods. Developers must consider the overall technical architecture of the corporation to ensure seamless interoperability. The use of standardized metadata and methods will also facilitate both intra-corporate and inter-corporate interoperability. Making effective physical storage and platform choices will be equally more complex. Both knowledge
  19. 19. base developers and administrators must understand the role of the knowledge base in the overall KM system.  Database Administrators: Database Administrators will evolve into Knowledge Managers. The knowledge base will store and maintain corporate memory and Knowledge Managers will become the gatekeepers of corporate knowledge. The lines between technical roles such as Web Developer, Data Analyst or Systems Administrator will blur as these systems merge into and overlap with KM systems. DBAs will need to have some knowledge about each of these disciplines.  General Public: Even if they are not interacting directly with a knowledge base, the general public will benefit from the secondary effects of improved customer service due to faster access to more accurate information by service providers. Tools for Development E-learning 1) Easy generator Easygenerator is an online free authoring tool. Easy generator is a Windows application that stores all content in the cloud, securely on their web servers. Part of the free edition includes hosting, updates, upgrades, and maintenance. There are no technical worries and no costs. With your free authoring eLearning software you can have as many as 10 eLearning courses in your online workspace, and up to 250 MB of data storage per user. You can import PowerPoint presentations (text and images) and build real eLearning courses from them. 2) LCDS by Microsoft The Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS) is a free tool that enables the Microsoft Learning community to create high-quality, interactive, online courses and Microsoft Silver light Learning Snacks. 3) SmartBuilder by Suddenly Smart SmartBuilder is the award-winning course authoring tool that enables you to create rich Flash e-learning with an easy-to-use interface. 4) The Multimedia Learning Object Authoring Tool by Tim Wang, John Bratlien, Liang Shao The Multimedia Learning Object Authoring Tool enables content experts to easily combine video, audio, images and texts into one synchronized learning object. 5) authorPOINT by authorGEN Technologies authorPOINT is an authoring tool that allows users to capture presentations and add pre-recorded audio/video, all inside of Microsoft PowerPoint. authorGEN also offers authorPOINT Lite, which converts PowerPoint presentations to Flash. 6) Dipity by Dipity From what we can glean from their website, Dipity is an online timeline creator. Users, known as Dipsters, can create their own content on subjects that are meaningful to them and share them with other users. Dipsters can also integrate social media into their timeline, utilizing real-time updates. 7) Document Suite 2008 by JetDraft Software Document Suite 2008 is an authoring tool that helps transform documents into online help modules. 8) Izzui by QuickLessons LLC Izzui is a hybrid social learning application that can be linked with QuickLessons. Izzui uses Facebook as an LMS to track and deliver courses. Izzui also has an e-Commerce capability allowing users to charge and pay for courses that they have created. 9) Jackdaw by e-Learning WMB Jackdaw produces SCORM 1.2 compliant content that is easily integrated into any LMS. Users can create interactive content either from scratch or with the the help of over 100 templates. Jackdaw also lets users create content that they can then sell on the Open Elms webstore. 10) LessonWriter by Lesson Writer From what we can gather from their website, LessonWriter is a tool for teachers that allows them to create lessons from any passage. These courses allow teachers to be creative with their lesson plans and also saves them a great deal of time.
  20. 20. 11) MOS Solo by MindOnSite MOS Solo offers a way for users to create content on the go without having to rely on a constant Internet connection. Even though they are using an offline content creation tool, they do not lose any of the functionality or power to create their multimedia content. 12) myUdutu Course Authoring Tool by Udutu Online Learning Solutions A free online authoring tool with a suite of WSIWYG tools, allowing users to create courses in an approachable environment. Claims to export SCORM 1.2/2004 conform-ant courses to be used in a 3rd party LMS or integrate into social media sites, such as Facebook. 13) QuickLessons Authoring Tool by QuickLessons LLC QuickLessons was built from the ground up to be a completely SaaS based content authoring tool, requiring the user to only have access to a web-browser. QuickLessons comes equipped with quizzes, games, characters, out-of-the-box animations and other customizable content to allow users to create truly unique and interactive flash-based content to meet their needs. Users can either use QuickLessons for free, publishing their content only to Facebook, or they can buy an individual, corporate or academic account. 14) Scratch by MIT Media Lab From what we can gather from their website, Scratch is a creative tool that helps users create content that is beyond the barriers of traditional page-turners. Scratch users can create interactive stories, animation, music, and art, then share their creations on the web. 15) xtimeline by Famento Inc xtimeline is a tool that allows users to create timeline based content for free. Users can also share their timelines with other users, creating a community. Assessment in e-learning When you give a task — a question, an assignment, etc — to a student and he responds to it, the quality of response is determined or at least influenced by a number of factors. These include: 1. the complexity of the question compared to the competence expected of the learner, 2. the quality of teaching imparted relating to the topics relevant to answering that question, 3. the level of the student’s understanding of the topics, 4. the clarity of the question - ambiguity, ease of understanding, availability of relevant parameters, etc Most of the time, we combine all of these into the third factor! Potentially, an assessment in a class can be used to produce inputs from all these perspectives. Note that one answer from one student may not yield any useful information. Butcollecting information over various assessments over many students can certainly provide useful inputs for all of these - something that computers can enable quiteeasily.In conventional scenarios, very rarely does such analysis happen. One major cause is the inability to obtain fine grained data in machine processable form. One often restricts evaluation of assessment to determining the total marks obtained. Assessments reduce to a device for determining if a barrier has been cleared or the relative rank of a set of candidates. Doing assessments online has five stages: 1. creating and managing a question bank online 2. creating a question paper from such question bank(s) 3. allowing students to answer this paper online 4. evaluating the answers with computer help - fully automatic, semi-automatic, etc 5. post assessment analysis Assessment Types We can classify assessments based on various factors such as the nature of response,time allotted, access to other resources, the objective of the test, etc. Thus we candistinguish between open book and closed book examinations from the perspective 7of access to other resources. The nature of response would lead to classes
  21. 21. such as viva-voce, written test, performing a task, etc. We will restrict to classification more relevant from the perspective of e-learning. written test. Against a given question paper normally containing multiple questions, the student provides answers question by question. We will come back to different types of questions shortly. The answers may be given by ticking options in an OMR sheet (where the possible options are provided in the paper as in case of a multiple choice question), by writing them on paper, or by keying in the answers on a computer. • Practical test, where a student is given a task to perform and the results are tobe submitted for evaluation. Often the evaluator would check the experimental setup as well. Depending on the nature of the task, the work may be done in a lab (physics, chemistry, etc), outdoors (e.g. study effect of pollution), using a computer (write a program or analyses data), etc. Mostly these exams are not amenable to be brought under e-learning, though there are active research work in creating virtual laboratories in many areas. Section 10 lists a few relevant sites that you can check out. We will not be discussing this type of test further in this article. Challenges for e-learning 1. E-Learning needs to be rigorously aligned with business needs. The value of e-learning can only be realised if we carefully ensure that what is being delivered genuinely helps our managers execute business strategy. 2. Boards and senior management need to exercise leadership to effect this alignment. Business leaders are often not involved with the e-learning initiatives they effectively sponsor. We need their support on three levels: Firstly, to encourage training and business people to integrate e-learning into development programmes. Secondly, to encourage line managers to value work-based learning as a fundamental component of working life. Lastly, to validate that e-learning does advance business objectives. 3. Learners need appropriate motivation. As anyone who works in e-learning can testify, e-learner motivation is critical to success. Therefore, the learning effort must demonstrate a tangible association between better execution of business strategy and further career enhancement. This is the ultimate challenge! The result of the learning experience needs to be valuable and meaningful. Even before we tackle the issues of pedagogy and instructional design, the issue of what's-in-it-for-me must be addressed. People learn if they understand the benefits to their job, and are supported and encouraged to learn. ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING E-LEARNING In spite of the benefits outlined above, there are many challenges that need to be overcome in order to enhance the effectiveness of e-learning. These are outlined below: 1. Awareness Generally there is still a lack of awareness amongst the population, especially parents, of the effectiveness of e-learning. Many parents feel the traditional learning mode is better. 2. Low Adoption Rate Most institutions are keen to embrace e-learning. Nevertheless, issues like lack of e-content, inadequate infrastructure coupled with the problem of digital divide, has resulted in a relatively low adoption rate. 3. Bandwidth Issue And Connectivity Engaging content requires a rich combination of multimedia components. However, due to bandwidth and connectivity limitations, downloading of engaging content to the learners will be slow. This creates frustration and boredom among learners and affects the ease of learning. Computer Literacy And Digital Divide 4. Lack of Quality E-Content Currently, there is a dearth of high quality e-learning content in Malaysia. This is due to the lack of expertise as well as huge financial resources required to develop the content. As a result, most of the e-learning content has low interactivity and moderate impact on learners.
  22. 22. 5. Difficulty in Engaging Learners Online Engaging learners actively is one of the key factors in determining the success of an e-learning program. Online learning requires a very high degree of self-motivation which is found to be lacking among our learners. Learners find it difficult to migrate from the traditional learning mode to the new e-learning mode. 5. Language Barrier The extensive use of English in e-learning contents is also one of the factors that has hindered the success of e-learning, Blended learning Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace.[1] [2] While still attending a “brick-and-mortar” school structure, face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities.[3] Proponents of blending learning cite the opportunity for data collection and customization of instruction and assessment as two major benefits of this approach.[4] Schools with blended learning models may also choose to reallocate resources to boost student achievement outcomes. Blended learning is not the same as technology-rich instruction. It goes beyond one-to-one computers and high-tech gadgets. Blended learning involves leveraging the Internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience, meaning increased student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of his or her learning. The definition of blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns: (1) at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; (2) at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; (3) and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience. Blended learning is a term increasingly used to describe the way e-learning is being combined with traditional classroom methods and independent study to create a new, hybrid teaching methodology. It represents a much greater change in basic technique than simply adding computers to classrooms; it represents, in many cases, a fundamental change in the way teachers and students approach the learning experience. It has already produced an offshoot – the flipped classroom – that has quickly become a distinct approach of its own. Corporate learning Cooperative learning is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. There is much more to Cooperative Learning than merely arranging students into groups, and it has been described as "structuring positive interdependence."[1][2] Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively can capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc What is Cooperative Learning? Several definitions of cooperative learning have been formulated. The one most widely used in higher education is probably that of David and Roger Johnson of the University of Minnesota. According to the Johnson & Johnson model, cooperative learning is instruction that involves students working in teams to accomplish a common goal, under conditions that include the following elements (7): 1. Positive interdependence. Team members are obliged to rely on one another to achieve the goal. If any team members fail to do their part, everyone suffers consequences. 2. Individual accountability. All students in a group are held accountable for doing their share of the work and for mastery of all of the material to be learned. 3. Face-to-face promotive interaction. Although some of the group work may be parcelled out and done individually, some must be done interactively, with group members providing one another with feedback, challenging reasoning and conclusions, and perhaps most importantly, teaching and encouraging one another.
  23. 23. 4. Appropriate use of collaborative skills. Students are encouraged and helped to develop and practice trust-building, leadership, decision-making, communication, and conflict management skills. 5. Group processing. Team members set group goals, periodically assess what they are doing well as a team, and identify changes they will make to function more effectively in the future. Cooperative learning is not simply a synonym for students working in groups. A learning exercise only qualifies as cooperative learning to the extent that the five listed elements are present. Why Use Cooperative Learning.? Extensive research has compared cooperative learning with traditional classroom instruction using the same teachers, curriculum, and assessments. On the average:  Students who engage in cooperative learning learn significantly more, remember it longer, and develop better critical-thinking skills than their counterparts in traditional lecture classes.  Students enjoy cooperative learning more than traditional lecture classes, so they are more likely to attend classes and finish the course.  Students are going to go on to jobs that require teamwork. Cooperative learning helps students develop the skills necessary to work on projects too difficult and complex for any one person to do in a reasonable amount of time.  Cooperative learning processes prepare students to assess outcomes linked to accreditation. How to Use Cooperative Learning Cooperative learning exercises can be as simple as a five minute in class exercise or as complex as a project which crosses class periods. These can be described more generally in terms of low, medium, and high faculty/student time investment. Cooperative learning can be used across a wide range of classroom settings ranging from small to large lecture, as well as in online classes. No matter what the setting is, properly designing and implementing cooperative learning involves five key steps. Following these steps is critical to ensuring that the five key elements that differentiate cooperative learning from simply putting students into groups are met. Cooperative Learning Techniques Cooperative learning techniques can be loosely categorized by the skill that each enhances (Barkley, Cross and Major, 2005), although it is important to recognize that many cooperative learning exercises can be developed to fit within multiple categories. Categories include: discussion, reciprocal teaching, graphic organizers, writing and problem solving. Each category includes a number of potential structures to guide the development of a cooperative learning exercise. For example, the category of problem-solving helps to develop strategic and analytical skills and includes exercises such as the send-a-problem, three-stay one-stray, structured problem solving, and analytical teams. Virtual university A virtual university provides higher education programs through electronic media, typically the Internet. Some are bricks-and-mortar institutions that provide online learning as part of their extended university courses while others solely offer online courses. They are regarded as a form of distance education. The goal of virtual universities is to provide access to the part of the population who would not be able to attend a physical campus, for reasons such as distance — where students live too far from a physical campus to attend regular classes; and the need for flexibility — some students need the flexibility to study at home whenever it is convenient for them to do so.
  24. 24. The term virtual university, or e-university, is used in various ways, a few of which are described below. Some usages reflect significant changes in views about who should be providing university-level education, who should be paying for it, what it should comprise and treat, who should receive it, what entry qualifications they should have and where, when and how their university-level education should be available. Other usages reflect further changes in the external environment, notably the lowered cost and increased viability of at-a-distance alternatives to campus-based education (particularly alternatives based upon information and communications technologies, ICTs). Those changes have led to the emergence of competitors with little history of involvement in university-level education. For them, education is a market, and is subject to the same rules of business as any other market. As in commerce in general, a well-funded 'green-field' organization can enter an established market (university-level education) and quickly take a market share from the existing players, since it does not have to bear the cost of maintaining legacy systems or old products (courses). The cost of establishing a virtual university is now so low that many such organizations are being set up. Virtual Library An electronic library (also referred to as digital library or digital repository) is a focused collection of digital objects that can include text, visual material, audio material, video material, stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print, micro form, or other media), along with means for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and media contained in the library collection. Digital libraries can vary immensely in size and scope, and can be maintained by individuals, organizations, or affiliated with established physical library buildings or institutions, or with academic institutions. The electronic content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. An electronic library is a type of information retrieval system. The term digital libraries was first popularized by the NSF/DARPA/NASA Digital Libraries Initiative in 1994. A Virtual Library also known as a Digital Library or an Electronic Library may be defined as the online facility provided by a conventional library to read books and access other facilities or it may mean a website which offers links to various sites with a large store of information in a catalogued or archived form. The term is more often used to refer in a collective manner to the entire number of online books and other literary material related to any subject available on the Internet. Advantages As you can probably already tell, there are many advantages to going virtual. Some of the advantages include the following:  It saves and/or reduces the physical space taken up by library materials.  It often adds enhanced searching capabilities in a digital format.  The library materials are available at the user's desktop, regardless of where the user is physically located.  It allows for the inclusion of materials only available on the Internet or in digital format.  It provides the user with the capability to download and manipulate text.  It often allows for multiple, concurrent users.  It eliminates the problem of a book being missing or off the shelf.  It is less labor intensive. I must digress here and say that the last advantage is sometimes not true. Although a virtual library does not require as much time from the library filers and shelvers, it takes a lot more time from a librarian, and/or possibly someone in the IT department, to learn how to install, maintain and use the product. Disadvantages As much as I hated to do it, I did come up with more disadvantages than advantages to the virtual library. But, I think with advances in technology, publishers are working at trying to erase the disadvantages and, as time goes on, this list will shrink. But, for now, the disadvantages include the following:  Every product has its own distinct user interface.  Users need to remember different passwords for different products.  The scope of coverage and available archives is often limited.  There are often difficulties with downloading or printing.
  25. 25.  Often there is no cost savings, especially when both the virtual and print products are maintained.  Everything is NOT available in digital format.  There are restrictions, which vary from vendor to vendor, on how the product can be used.  The virtual library relies on power and computer networks in order to be available for use.  Users can't spread everything out in front of them and use it all at once.  Users are most comfortable using books. *****************************************************************************************