E-learning Technology – Introduction
This E-learning Technology Assignment provide methods of digital educations conducted via electronic media. Over the years the E-learning has been categorized into few broad spectrums based on their usage pattern and content delivery style. Bates and Poole (2003) and the OECD (2005) states that various forms of e learning can be explained as a continuous process of evolution from no usage of computers at all in learning process to fully online courses with no human intervention in the process. In this continuum there is a lot mile stones were achieved like data storage in forms of floppy and disks’ usage of computer generated presentation techniques like power point presentation or projection techniques’ various class room aids for inter connectivity like intranet or portable modems’ usage of laptops in the conventional classroom to join the group discussions and interact with other group members’ latest is development of entire learning management systems or LMS which provides the whole learning experience to the students at the tips of their fingers. Distance learning courses were also easily transformed into digital learning courses which are more convenient for both student and institutions. For a greater understanding of various levels of e learning they are classified into
1. Computer based learning ( CBL)
Computer based learning can be described as usage of computers as a tool in developing a conducive environment for learning. This method includes taking use of various software and gadgetry to give a presentation’ highlight a particular theme’ provide audio and visual aids to the student in a classroom. In computer based learning computers are essentially used to provide a structured environment which is addressing the requirements of a teaching session. Usage of computers for teaching and data storage has been done since years all though the size and application has seen a dramatic development over the years. A few years back computers were cumbersome instruments which were placed in the classroom as a permanent feature and occasionally they had separate room for themselves. There speed was also slow their features were limited however today conventional computers are replaced by laptops’ hand held devices and cellular phones which are capable of providing a large number of applications which are useful in classroom teaching and their speed is also meeting the requirements and beyond that. Computer based learning can be done at classrooms’ homes’ offices’ convention centers etc. the portability of computers has provided a new meaning to learning process using computers and it is expected that in near future the miniaturization of gadgets will continue to take place and give us much faster and small devices at our disposal (Redecker C., 2009).
2. Computer based training (CBT)
Computer-Based Trainings (CBTs) are Do it yourself learning procedure using computers and related devices as a medium. They are self directing and move with the speed of the learner. In CBT process the content is available in different level patterns and learner will move to upper level as he clears himself with the lower level of learning. This methodology os teaching is very practical for linear learning or static learning procedures where a learner has to gain knowledge as a step by step method. It is very much analogous to a video game levels or solving a math algorithm in a linear fashion where one deduction will lead to another deduction. Web based training or WBT is a part of CBT procedure and they are often used as interchangeable words however the basic difference between both modalities of content delivery is WBT is provided through a active internet connection where content is continuously streaming on a computer while in CBT the content is delivered by portable storage medium like pen drives’ hard disks or CD’S. CBT’S are being rapidly replaced by WBT due to rapidly expanding internet reach and it also provides greater control over the information delivery speed. Various methods are used to test the learning gained by the user like objective questions at the end of each level or solving a problem related to the content provided. Based on the quality of solution provided by the user it can be measured how effective the entire learning cycle was. In WBT the assessment can also be done by giving an online test which can provide the results immediately after the test and based on results next levels can be opened for the user or he can be asked to repeat the entire learning procedure again. The assessment results can also be used as a record after each learning session and a consolidated result can be provided after the end of entire training procedure. There are learning systems which do not provide results to the learner but to the instructor or the organization which is employing the e learning system for its employees. On successful completion of a learning course these systems provides certification or recognition of successful completion of program by the student or learner.
The core difference between a traditional training procedure and a computer based training is CBTs that cues and challenges provided by CBT which ensures that learner develop a though process and try to solve the challenge by analytical thinking is not based on hardcopy materials like text books or manuals but it is virtual in nature and provides the similar procedure on a virtual interface which can be very interactive if developed in a efficient manner. CBT’S have advantage over traditional methods like they are more cost effective’ requires less physical Educational infrastructure’ available 24 hours a day and student can access to them at the convenience of their home or offices. The flexibility of timings encourages a lot of already employed learner to acquire new skills or enhance their knowledge. CBT’S also provide a better animated and effective audio-video aids which generates a much more clear imagination of concept and its practical application in the mind of student. CBT’S can also be used as a supplementary procedure with traditional training course which can refresh or boost the learning procedure. In this process the student can access and relive the training procedure as a practice session after the traditional session is delivered for the same. CBT’S also provide the advantages like catering to the learners belonging to different locations or it can cater to a large number of audiences at the same time and provide a platform where they can interact’ discuss and enrich each other’s knowledge level. After the expenses of infrastructure development and installation cost of CBT its maintenance and running cost is far lesser than a conventional training procedure (Wolfe, C., & Wolfe, C. R. 2001).
3. Computer supported collaborative learning ( CSCL)
Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is an extension of computer based learning and computer based training procedure collectively. It is one of the recent advancements in the field of development of e learning systems. This learning system is incorporating latest information technology strategy and communication modes. One of the latest forms of e learning system is known as e learning 2.0. The up gradation in collaborative learning systems supported by computers (CSCL) is based on the traditional learning concept of group tasks or group assignments. The methodology of learning here is to provide a group task to a group of learners where they are required to divide the task among themselves and collective attain the objective. Here each student act as a instructor of his part of task to other students and collectively they all are each other’s teacher and student and e learning system is just a moderator or a controller of the procedure which oversees and monitors the entire learning experience by a loose framework. Locus of Control is also an important aspect of e learning system which needs to be considered while developing a successful CSCL. The continuing attention to aspects of motivation and success in regard to E-learning should be kept in context and concert with other educational efforts while developing e learning system for group activities and tasks (Diecker L. et.al, 2009).
4.Technology enhanced learning ( TEL)
Technology enhanced learning (TEL) is not exactly a different concept of computer programming learning but the scope of impact in this mode of learning and knowledge distribution is for wider population. This methodology is continuously aiming for a cost effective and efficient mode of delivering the content. These technologies have impact and cover which is above a single individual or organization. It is developed in such a fashion that with minor modification it can be used for various organizations or communities. The field of TEL is applicable for any technology which is advancing towards a wider scope of application which can be used for mass learning activity.
Learning technologies can be sub categorized into instruction technologies’ educational technologies’ training technologies etc. Educational Technology is generally used to refer to usage of technology in learning process in a much broader sense than the computer-based training or Computer Aided Instruction. It is also broader than the terms Online Learning or Online Education which generally refer to purely web-based learning. Communication technologies are generally categorized as asynchronous or synchronous. Gain information at their convenience and speed. Content is available in form of blogs’ discussion forums’ off line messages’ articles’ discussion boards etc. the basic difference between an asynchronous and synchronous activity is in asynchronous activity the participant does not need to be present at the same time for information exchange. A e mail is also a good example of asynchronous learning activity where a learner can observe the content’ develop his though process and answer at his leisure. The advantages associated with a synchronous activity are its flexibility of time’ convenience of use for different user and less stress level in over all learning process.
A Synchronous activity incorporates a rapid transaction of information and content from different users sitting in different geographical location on a real time basis using internet as an exchange medium. With high speed connections a video conferencing and face to face discussions are a reality now. A face to face discussion is an example of synchronous communications. Usage of a dedicated chat room for a group of people who are interested in a particular topic of learning is analogues to a synchronous activity. In a virtual classroom a synchronous activity will lead to collaborative work atmosphere and completion of various group tasks which is the ultimate objective of an e learning system (Lowenthal, P. R., Wilson, B., & Parrish, P. 2009).