Teaching Online Contents
The digital Learning And
Information and communications technology
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The advent and the rapid development of ICT has brought revolutionary hanges in every aspect of human life. The ability to adopt the technological changes varies substantially across countries and within communities. This leads to digital divide amongst countries, within a country and the society. Therefore, the opportunities to learn how to use ICT must be made as equitable as possible i n respect of sex, creed, region and locality. Due to ICT revolution, the generation and consumption of information has become so fast that even the degree holders (stamped educated) are feeling and considering pall themselves as illiterate, as they fail to cope up with the information explosion. Thus, to meet the challenges, to keep with new knowledge on an ongoing basis that needs efficient media for acquiring and Disseminating the information/knowledge.
ICT Components: The basic components of ICT are grouped as under-
- Computer hardware technology
- Systems software concepts
- Database management system
- Computer communication and network concepts
There have been landmarks in the history of ICT right from 21- line exchange in USA to Photo Phone followed by Fax service, Tele-printer, Microwave transmission, Radar technology, Concept of orbiting satellite, Paging, Telephone communication through oceanic cable, Electronic exchange, Launching of first communication satellite “TELESTAR”, Touch tone telephone, Intelsat, e-mail, cellular phone, world wide web and Satellite based mobile services, etc (Yousuf and Kamal, 2002).
All these innovations in ICT have contributed significantly in the emergence of globally connected world. Internet has evolved a paradigm shift in the ways of transfer and management of information with wider scope. It has tremendous potential of web based education which can be utilized for quality improvement in the different aspects of education-
- Professional development
- Resource sharing
- Access of information from any time/any where
- Total quality management (TQM)
- Human resource development (HRD)
The universities of USA play a pioneering role in the development and application of new technologies in education which have eventually led to digital delivery of learning solutions.
Concept of Digital Learning
ICT-assisted training and education caused the development of a new concept-digital Learning, also known as e-Learning. Here, the concept of digital learning refers to the use of web- based technologies and their applications. The learner access the learning material from the Web through Internet via a computer. The communication among educators/learners takes place using e-mail, chat, discussion forums and transfer of database files. E-learning can be used as a method of delivering the knowledge/training as a supplementary approach with conventional classroom teaching or fully as web based distance education.
The technologists and strategic planners of knowledge management are viewing global networking and web-based education as means for dealing the today’s challenges. This has become evident that a number of higher education institutions and industry based training organizations are offering a wide variety of web based on-line learning solutions. The recent studies indicate demand for web based courses at tertiary level (Bums et. al 200 l , Agarkhani, 2003 b). The review of e-Learning and knowledge management studies also acknowledged a positive shift (Kiser, 2001, Montadon, 2002, Rosset, 2002 and Agarkhani, 2003 a). While Rosenberg (200 l ) consider technology based learning disappointing at its best. Whereas, Kiser (200 l ). and Kruse (2000 a) argue that the benefit of e-Learning outweigh its drawbacks. Thus, there is a threat, we can neither ignore the impact of ICT particularly of web and Internet as a phenomenon to improve and manage different aspects of education nor socio-economic, cultural and geographical issues, digital divide and technological complexities for successful implementation of web based education. To change the mindset/ attitudes of learners as well as of the society and to enhance their acceptability towards e-Learning, we may emphasize on some more obvious potential benefits of e-Learning.
- Reduced overall costs and learning time
- Communicate effectively the expert knowledge with knowledge management.
- On demand availability
- Availability of newly updated material, etc.
Characteristics of Digital Learning
According to Rosen berg (200 I ) the main characteristics of digital learning solutions include-
- Relying on computer networking technologies- to make instant updating, storage, retrieval, distribution and sharing of instruction or information;
- Delivering the information to learner via computer that is connected to standard Internet technologies;
- Focusing on the broadest view of learning that improves performance and competitiveness within the job market which is far beyond in the traditional paradigms of training.
Thus, e-Learning enables a learner to access, discover and construct knowledge through a self directed learning process. The first annual reader survey of “Online Learning Magazine” published a review study to assess the acceptance of e-Learning in U.S., reported that the percentage of organization using e-learning to train employees rose from 16% in 2000 to 24% in 2001, while in case of traditional instructor led courses, it declined from 65% for 2000 to 57% for 200 I . The findings were quite interesting.
Online learning makes use of only computer mediated communication (CMC) including e- mail, computer conferencing, online database and file transfers. Computer aided learning using a CD- Rom as well as learning through radio and television broadcast or telephone supported distance learning by implication is not on line learning. Thus, CMC based online learning constitute a new educational paradigm which constitutes the qualities of face to face learning while liberating it from time based and place based constraints (Kaye, 1989).
Methods of Online Digital Learning
According to Ingles’ ( 1999) and Jegede (2001 ), Online learning may involve two distinct forms-
- Resource based learning that is electronically delivered;
- Virtual classroom learning using computer based a-synchronous and synchronous conferencing.
1- Resource Based Learning: In this method the electronically delivered lectures on a web site, i n the form of text, audio or video, expose the learners with the information. As the e- lecture alone cannot constitute the learning, therefore, to promote thinking and reflection, some activities are considered to add to bridge the gap between what learners knows and what is expected from them to learn through e-lecture. The essentials of instructional material are- simple language, systematic content organization, staying with consistent format, using examples and analogies and a sequence of questions. It is easy to collate and put information on the web but it has very little to do with creating/delivering instruction. On designing web based instruction it is vital to keep the instructional aspect first.
There are two major schools that can be used in web based instructions (Shah, 2003).
The Objectivists: Instructional System Design (ISD) Model The Constructivists: Hyper Media Design (HMD) Model
2- Virtual Classroom Learning (using computer based synchronous and asyncltronous conferencing): The Internet has emerged as one of the most important tools which is very fast and most economic device to deliver bulk of information throughout the world. The Internet is the easiest and most popular technology to access the web (WWW).
The web has emerged as latest mode of instruction which is based on self paced learning and guided simulation that provides a hands-on-experience too. In view of instructional perspective, the above online learning environment (OLE) model com pries two main delivery systems: Asynchronous and Synchronous.