E Learning Portal Contextual -INTRODUCTION
A contextual report covers different aspects of literature review’ market research and comparative analysis in it and in this part we will be conducting an analysis of the existing work done on similar subject matter. We will also try to understand the requirements of the clients and study their feasibility in different patterns of development. In this section we will also try to incorporate the requirement and specifications needed in development of an e learning portal. The entire E Learning Portal Contextual Report Help is divided into few broader points under which various aspects of the reports will be analyzed and discussed to provide insights on the topic and findings which are relevant for the subject matter.
1.1 PROJECT KEY WORDS
E learning portals’ e learning systems’ learning management systems’ internet and learning
1.2 PROJECT GOAL
The goal of this entire project is to develop an effective and efficient e learning portal and a learning management system which will be providing an advanced interface for interactivity between students and a instructor. The aim of this contextual report is to research the feasibility’ investigate the features and different aspects of a e learning portal. It is also aiming to describe and analyze various learning theories and different types of computer based learning systems. The report will also include a primary research to identify different features and preferences of the target audience who would be using the e learning portal.
1.3 PROJECT CONTEXT
Usage of computers in education system is dated long back with first usage in the form of data storage and in house communication. Since then evolvement of communication technology and computer based application in last couple of decades the development of e learning system has also came a long way. In current context it has been observed that more and more institutions and students are favoring the internet based learning systems because of the various advantages they offer over conventional method. Over the years e learning systems have evolved from a simple data storage machine to a very interactive and real time instruction and simulation program. This project is developed with the goal and objective to determine the feasibility and different features of an e learning portal. E learning portal have gained various attributes and differentiation and each e learning portal can be customized to suit the requirements of a particular learning environment. In the market there is a lot of scope for the advanced form of e learning portal as large number of students are joining the internet based courses and many institutions every year are designing online digital courses for their students. In this report we will be analyzing higher education industry as a rapidly expanding market for e learning portal which has immense potential for growth and expansion of e learning portal as an industry (Smith B, Reed P and Jones C., 2008).
1.4 PROJECT OBJECTIVES
- To investigate different types of computer based learning methods and technologies
- To evaluate and analyze higher education industry as a potential market for e learning portals and systems
- To describe and analyze various learning theories and their applicability in a e learning portal
- To identify various attributes and features of an effective e learning portal.
1.5 SALIENT FEATURES OF AN E LEARNING PROCESS
- It has been a common belief that technology has enhanced the speed of information sharing and access to greater information but it has complicated the procedure for an average learner which can be accepted to a level but so far e learning process is in the process of optimizing itself to the needs of its consumers and it is refining by the day with new innovations and feedback from users and it is expected that in near future it will be pioneering the education and training industry with its benefits and ease of operation.
- E learning process if not entirely based on technical aspects and its benefits but it is founded on a well formed combination of technology with human skills which is providing a high quality content and excellent delivery methods. The quality of course and concepts of a subject are developed by highly qualified teachers which is more important attributes of a e learning system rather than technological advancement and support of advanced software and higher bandwidth.
- It has been identified an observed by many users that a group study session and learning experience is more enriching and effective than individual studies on a e learning system and Group learning is considered to be more effective than individual studies when a discussion is required for clarification of a concept for students (Redecker C., 2009).
- E learning system have a contrasting feature than the conventional learning process where one teacher is providing similar level of education to all students which is analogues to one size fits all strategy while e learning can be done in a customized manner and solutions are provided to students at different pace depending upon the learning speed of the student. Customized solutions and repetition of procedure as many times as student want at any time of the day.
- E learning systems are fundamentally developed on a clear and concise logic and there theory is inclusive in nature. It has the capacity to accommodate multiple learning processes and cater the needs multiple discipline and serve students and learner belonging to different age groups and learning ability. The features included in a e learning system makes it more interactive and attractive which maintains the attention span of the user for a longer time than a conventional lectures and seminars.
- E-Learning is very effective and efficient in installing new skills and knowledge among people who are already employed and looking to improve their skill levels. They are well versed with educational process and with the flexibility of timing they can gain knowledge while working simultaneously.
- E learning is also considered to be more effective in delivering content which is required for training people in technical knowledge and simulation process rather than upgrading soft skills and transverse knowledge however continuous tranning and development is taking place to improve effectiveness of e learning system in that area (Smith B, Reed P and Jones C., 2008).
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
E learning portals are fairly advanced version of imparting education and information to its users. This system of diffusion of information is based on modern communication technologies like internet and multimedia designing. Currently all major institutes of learning have developed or developing various learning portals for the benefits of their students and consumer bases. There are various theoretical models available for developmental procedure of the e learning portal. By these models we can evaluate different styles of learning which decides the process of development and implementation methods. Many important activities which is considered and used by the developmental professionals while undertaking the content development work are course structure’ curriculum’ target audience’ syllabus length and toughness’ needs of the client etc.
2.1 PEDAGOGICAL MODEL OF E LEARNING
Pedagogical models and framework is divided into various sub categories and learning activities are grouped under three categories.
- Associative learning
- Cognitive learning
- Situation based learning
Associative learning style:-
In associative learning style the approach towards the learner is more focused’ intelligent and dictated. The approach is used mostly in training and development purpose of an employee or a student. The design is more instructional in nature and provides a step by step firm guidance and tight rules through which a student will pass and learn along the way. It focuses highly on behavior modifications and using controlled stimulus responses and outputs which are measurable and identifiable in isolation. In this learning style the learning is done through association and reinforcement of the subject repeatedly on the student thus making the style of learning as associative learning style. Its application in e learning method is very clear and concise. We use this learning methodology for interactive learning and obtaining feedbacks. This method closely resembles to Merrill’s instructional design model which will be discussed in later parts of the report (Sprenger, M. 2003).
Cognitive learning style:-
A cognitive learning style is based on previous experience of the learner and a logical step by step procedure for problem solving. This approach involves problem solving technique’ constructivism and reflective learning in which a learner will reflect on previous experience and learning and associate it with current situation to solve a problem based learning. This learning process is more of a experimental learning process in which dialogues are constructed and learners build their own arguments and thought process based on their intellectual capability. The activities involved in this process are not associated with any pre decided guidelines or instructions but on the contrary it is self directing in nature. This type of learning style is mostly used in developmental learning where support systems are developed for the users to provide them assistance rather than a guidance system. A good example of this type of portals could be diagnosis assistance software or portal developed for doctors who can take support from the databases for comparison but in the end they will use their own thought process to make final diagnosis (Jackson, C. J. 2005).
Situation based learning process
This learning approach relies on case study based learning methods. This learning process creates large number of social interaction points among users and a environment which is conducive for socializing’ discussion and problem solving in a collective manner. This approach forms a collaborative learning and it is very helpful in a team oriented learning and project implementation. There is a diffusion of knowledge not just from the learning portal but a healthy transaction of knowledge transfer also takes place from user to user. This learning style is more open ended and remains a continuous developmental process.
2.3 David Kolb’s model of Learning
David A. Klob (1984) has described the learning process as an experience and he described experience as the primary source of learning and development. The model is named as experience learning theory or (ELT). As per this theory there are four different types of approaches towards gaining experience by any individual. They are known as concrete experience’ abstract conceptualization’ reflective observation and active experimentation(Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Ecclestone, K. 2004). Kolb’s theory states that in an ideal learning process all four approaches are engaged as per the requirements of the situation. Any individual when attempts to use all four approaches complete the effective learning process. The learning style developed by an individual is broadly classified into four categories namely:-
Each learning style has more emphasis on one of the two transforming experience approaches and one of the two experience grasping approaches.
2.4 Fleming’s vak/ Vark model
Fleming has elaborated and classified different types of learning styles. There are three major type of learning preferences as per Fleming’s VARK model
- Visual learners:- visual learners are those type of individuals who prefer to learn from visual aids like pictures’ graphics’ colors’ diagrams’ posters and other tools which directly impacts the visual sense of a person. This process of learning is more direct and relatively simple in process but it has its limitations and its retention time is not very high. This process of learning requires repeated confrontation of individual with visual aids to ensure a lasting learning effect.
- Auditory learners:- this type of learners prefer the auditory stimulus for a learning process. Auditory stimulus can be in form of lectures’ speeches’ music’ recorded information analysis’ multimedia applications with both auditory and visual aids etc. discussions’ one on one confrontations and similar methods which have a more auditory component is preferred by these learners.
- Kinesthetic or tactile learners:- this type of learners have a preference towards a relatively slow learning process which is based on movements’ touch’ practical experience or doing it by themselves to learn process. This learning process is slow in nature but their impacts are more lasting and ensure that learning is deeply embedded into the individual without any confusion. There preferred learning process includes projects’ hands on experience’ dummy versions’ workshops etc (Massa, L. J.; Mayer, R. E. 2006).
2.6 E-learning in context of education industry
Before explaining to readers about the basic concept of e learning and its functional modalities we need to provide clear and conceptual information about the working formula of e learning and what are its salient features. E learning is not opposed because it is very complex in nature or it requires a great technological knowledge from students to operate it but It is majorly opposed because people lacks a understanding of the context of e learning and discard it by perceiving it as just internet based content delivery medium. E learning is opposed by people who are not fully aware of the complete process and purpose of e learning. Many people consider e learning as a internet based static medium which provides data from its databases based on the search engine results or an exchange of dialogue similar to a chatting session in social networking sites which dilutes the importance and benefits of a e learning procedure. A lot of perception has been based on past experience of e learning which was earlier in its primary form and had some constraints of application in real life problem but in last few years e learning has evolved considerably and added a lot of value to its sessions. The need is to demonstrate and communicate this development to its critics and get their approval to remove a negative image associated with it. It can always be argued that all e learning portals are not of similar quality and some might provide a poor learning experience to the users but that does not undermine the entire system’s quality. A good e learning portal can act as a boon for the educational system and provide significant benefits over existing learning process (Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. 2009).
2.9 Motion Capture Technologies
Motion capture Technologies can be described as the set of different technological form which records the movement of an individual or any physical object and covert that movement and its intended path in a digital form which can be used for various purposes. This technology is used in multiple disciplines like sports industry’ entertainment industry’ war fare and armaments industry and medicine and it has been recently used in education industry where e learning process can be enhanced and upgraded by developing a interactive virtual learning process using motion capture technologies. It begins by recording various actions and expression made by a human face or body and then covert them in digital learning form which is captured in 2D OR 3D mode which is then used as a reference guide by computer to react or forecast the predicted path of movement. Sometimes movements of fingers and faces are also recorded by the computer to make it more sensitive towards minor movements this is called as performance capture technology. Inclusion of camera movement is also a part of motion capture technologies in which the camera will be making movements and capturing the same movement from different angles and tilts. A computer processes the data and displays the movements of the actor, providing the desired camera positions in terms of objects in the set. The cameras can be manually operated or automatic movement system can be employed for it. This technology will capture the movement of the human being from different points and integrate them into one entity so that any changes in the movement pattern can also be responded by the computer. This allows the computer-generated characters, images and sets to have the same perspective as the video images from the camera making it closer to real life movements and make the entire interactive system more realistic in its working. This technology has immense application in e learning process which is evolving on a continuous basis and serving a lot of learners belonging to different type of learning speed and courses. Usage of motion capture technology will provide a more interactive user interface to e learning systems and improve the results of learning process. The process will be more users friendly and flexible in its working and it will also provide information system to users who are not able to write their needs on a computer by capturing their movements and indications (Bates, A. 2005).