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ICT : E-learning


What is ICT?


Strong learning environments will use ICT inevitably. Deliberately or undeliberately,the users will also use e-learning.
This term could be translated as remote learning, but this might make you think of firmly guided courses or classes,that also use traditional means like letter, fax, telephone, sound cassettes, CD-roms.

E- learning can be defined exacter as: each form of learning using a network for desseminating knowledge, for the interaction between learners and their aids in the learning process. This is also called a virtual learning environment.

This network can consist of internet, intranet or extranet (intranet with access to internet). The student participates individually or in group. Interaction takes place synchronically (the same moment, online) ,asynchronically (different moment) or as a combination of the two.

E-learning has several characteristics and terms:

  • Internet as learning distribution channel . this makes the learning contents accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • The pupil/ course member is central ( learner-centered). He or she defines the learning way, the learning pace, learning environment and learning method.
  • Backing by a network, where experiences can be shared by assistants and fellow pupils.
  • Learning by means of a mix of learning methods, (blended learning); virtual classroom, simulations, co-operation, communities and “live” learning.
  • Providing the whole learning route from testing the beginning situation to learning and examinating.

These characteristics lead to some advantages of a different kind.
It gives a huge flexibility in organising the learning process ,as well as rich synchronic communication possibilities. The comfort of e-mail, discussion forums a. o. is obviously an added value.
It is an advantage that e-learning can check and guide the central store of learning material and the learning process of the student. The learning material can be kept up-to-date much simpler than in Computer Based Training via CD-rom.
On didactic level it gives more or richer possibilities like collaborative learning (co-operation without being physically present ) and discovering by learning, with a rich information source like internet.

E-learning has its disadvantages as well.
First of all for the learners: it demands much more active effort and work discipline than “following a course”. E-learning demands high investment in hard and software.
The band width of the internet is still too limited to use rich content like streaming video.
E-learning asks for a different kind of coaching. The success of virtual learning environment depends on the coaching by people who have to work with it. Most lecturers are not trained for it and are not keen on doing it. An added trainer-training is necessary to succeed.

It is obvious that there are enormous possibilities for e-learning in adult education.
Trade and industry already make use of it for their industrial training and know-how management. But it is still a waste land, in formal education as well as in informal education and training.

So it is a matter of fact that this aspect of ICT will be on the agenda of the SDIT project, as the” Distance Education Center “ of the university of Riga is the co-ordinator of the project..The participants of the project will also use the e-learning software BlackBoard.

The New Media School can be regarded as a pioneer in this area . They also played a crucial role in the pedagogical- didactic concept of Bridged and Explorian. Both are web-based learning platforms which make e-learning possible for two different target groups, starting from identical e-learning principles.
More about this in the menu PROJECTS, ICT.

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